Belinda Dow


This project marks the final stage of a 4-year Integrated Masters course in Biological Sciences which I started in 2018.

I have always been drawn to nature having grown up surrounded by animals in the countryside but didn’t decide on biology until just before university applications were due, with my A level subjects split between sciences/maths and humanities/English. Throughout my time as an undergraduate, I have come to appreciate that my passion for the natural world is strongly linked with an interest in helping people connect to it. I believe environmental issues cannot be separated from social ones and that environmental action should always integrate people into its design. I also have an interest in science communication and increasing the accessibility of research. The ability to communicate complicated concepts is fundamental to interdisciplinary cooperation and is an area I hope to go into more in the future. Having the opportunity to get out into the real world with my Masters and work alongside developers and consultants to plan socially beneficial Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) is incredibly exciting, especially as it combines both public engagement/communication and biology.


With this Masters being my first real taste, I’m fairly new to the world of research. Over the past two years, my undergraduate work has included BNG-wellbeing related topics and it is exciting to be putting the theory into practice.


My current research is looking at how Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) activities can be used to benefit human wellbeing. The term wellbeing refers to a positive physical, social, and mental state and can be thought of as consisting of three elements: material (e.g. housing), relational (e.g. family relationships) and subjective (self-reported). Integrating wellbeing into BNG planning is an important step as it increases people’s acceptance and support of BNG activities and thus increases BNG’s sustainability.


woman in front of tree