Chetna Vaghela, Anglian Water Research Coordinator, Centre for Environmental Policy

Chetna Vaghela

“Teaching is a gift – you share a space with students who are as enthusiastic about the environment as you.” 

I’ve always had an enormous passion for the sciences and the natural world, from entomology and ornithology, to our blue spaces including freshwater aquatic ecosystems and marine life. Studying biochemistry and forensic science enabled me to apply laboratory skills for scientific and environmental applications, such as river water quality monitoring. I’ve had an environmentally and science focused career in and out of academia, including with river and botanic garden charities and scientific research at Imperial. 

Wanting to continue my passion related to water and to apply a variety of skills, the role of research coordinator of the Strategic Research Partnership between Imperial and Anglian Water based at the Centre for Environmental Policy (CEP) was very appealing.   

The role is incredibly dynamic. I facilitate collaborations between different teams across the College and Anglian Water, coordinate multiple consultancy, PhD and MSc projects, as well as several teaching and academic activities related to the company and the wider water sector, which requires current knowledge on university research and the sector’s challenges.   

One of the most unexpected and rewarding parts of the role has been supporting and delivering postgraduate teaching for students who study with us from all over the world to specialise in integrated water management, and those who undertake an industrial placement through the partnership.  

I feel the immediate impact of my teaching when students provide positive feedback following teaching sessions. I drive my teaching to ensure it is engaging, fun, and a welcome and inclusive space for all, which I feel very passionate about. Teaching is also a gift. You share a space with students who are as enthusiastic about the environment and water as you.  

Water is such an underrated resource. Despite it being vital for our survival, water fails to be at the heart of climate change and biodiversity discussions. Through teaching, I gain an insight into a student’s local interaction with water. It’s like travelling, gaining an international insight into local cultures, but without the air miles!  

Being based in a friendly department focused on the environment and sustainability is amazing. The CEP has completely broadened my horizons in conceptual thinking and policy making, and the translation of science through cross sectoral collaborations. I am also able to volunteer on subcommittees such as Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, further contributing to the department and a positive culture.  

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