Researchers' Society

The Researchers' Society (RS) is run by early-career researchers of the MRC­ Centre for Environment & Health and aims to promote the welfare and career development of researchers across the Centre.

All PhD students, research and technical staff whose Principal Investigator/Project is part of the Centre are members of the Society.

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For more information, please read here: Researchers Society Constitution

Researchers' Society Committee

The organisation of the Researchers' Society is conducted by the Researchers' Society Committee. Membership of the Committee is open to all members who attend Committee meetings and show an active interest in the running of the society.

The Researchers Society has a representative on the Centre’s Executive Committee, as a full member, thereby ensuring that the needs of the Centre's researchers can be presented to the key decision makers.

RS Committee Membership

Co-chairs: Allison Gaines (PhD) and Joseph Levermore (Post-Doc)

Committee members:

  • Public Engagement:  Alex Spiers (PhD)
  • Social Sec: Hanbin Zhang (Post-Doc)
  • Treasurer: Mike Hedges (PhD)
  • Sustainability: Aina Roca Barcelo (PhD)
  • Training: Melanie Egli (PhD)
  • Webmaster: Emily Muller (PhD)
  • General committee membership: Carl Desouza (Post-Doc); Annalisa Sheehan (PhD); Stefan Gillott (PhD); Diana Varaden (Research Associate), Brendan Bos (PhD), Ola El Saleh (PhD), Leonardo Zea Reyes (PhD), Juan Rivillas-Garcia (PhD)

Senior advisor members:

  • Fred Piel – Senior Lecturer in Spatial Epidemiology, Imperial College (MRC Training Programme Coordinator)
  • Eduardo Seleiro – Scientific Manager MRC Centre, Imperial College

Past Chairs

Co-chairs June 2019 - February 2021 Aina Roca Barcelo; Annalisa Sheehan

Co-Chairs January 2017- June 2019 Anna Freni Sterrantino; Stephanie Wright

Co-Chairs January 2015- December 2016 Nuria Camina Garcia; Pippa Douglas

Co-Chairs March 2012-December 2014 Becky Ghosh; Rachel Smith

Founding Chair 2011 Cristina Canova

Researchers' Society Recent Events

Picture a Scientist: Movie Screening and Panel Discussion
Tuesday 2nd Feb 2021 4-5 pm

Picture a Scientist film chronicles the groundswell of researchers who are writing a new chapter for women scientists. Biologist Nancy Hopkins, chemist Raychelle Burks, and geologist Jane Willenbring lead viewers on a journey deep into their own experiences in the sciences, ranging from brutal harassment to years of subtle slights. Along the way, from cramped laboratories to spectacular field stations, we encounter scientific luminaries - including social scientists, neuroscientists, and psychologists - who provide new perspectives on how to make science itself more diverse, equitable, and open to all.

You can watch the recording of the discussion here

Take-home messages from our panel

Prof Peter Main: 1) No tolerance policy; 2) data driven monitoring to detect issues, and 3) invest in education

Dr Adetoun Mustapha: 1) Having representation in high up levels and decision-making positions, and 2) more conversations about it – raise the voice

Dr Kanta Cechi: 1) Increase awareness, particularly on unconscious bias – more movies and panel discussions like this one!

Dr Carinna Hockham: 1) Don’t forget the individual work on our own biases; 2) speak up and detect when suffering it, and 3) develop better working environments for all genders; e.g. family planning and working ours



Book Club
Thursday 4th February 2021: 4-5 pm

We are pleased to announce the start of the Researchers' Society Book Club!

How will it work: 

  • We will meet once every other month
  • Meetings will be virtual until further notice
  • After each session we will let the attendees suggest books and then the group will vote for the following months book
  • Whoever's book is chosen will chair the discussion

The first meeting will take place on Thursday 4th February at 4pm. Keep an eye out for the meeting invite via email!

Our first book will be: The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. 

Hope you enjoy reading the book!

RS Committee


Christmas Gala 2020: Getting the science right to improve health inequalities for women and girls globally
Thursday 10th Dec 2020 5-6:30 pm

For too long, women were not included in health research and even when they were, results from studies were not analysed separately for women and men. As a consequence, this has led to poor science and in many instances, to poorer health outcomes for women. Additionally, many of the advances we have made in improving health outcomes for women have not been shared by all women, especially those in resource-poor settings. We can and must do better.

Professor Robyn Norton

Epidemiologist by training, is the co-founder and Principal Director of The George Institute for Global Health and Chair of Global Health at Imperial College London.






To view the recording of the event, please click here


A Particulate-ly Interesting History
Thursday 18th March 2021 4-6 pm

'A Particulate-ly Interesting History' will provide an insight into the history of air pollution in the United Kingdom, its impact on our health and discuss effective solutions for abatement. The evening will be an open panel discussion between Professor Anna Hansell, Dr. Ian Mudway, Dr. Gary Fuller, and Ms. Beth Gardiner.

Have any pressing questions on the history of air pollution or its current status? Please send your queries to and we will hope to get them answered during the event. We aim to make this event as interactive and engaging as possible so be ready to share your thoughts and get involved!


The Story of Plastic
Tuesday 28th July 2020 5-6 pm

To spread awareness of the environmental and human rights threat of plastic, we are participating in the grassroots screening tour of The Story of Plastic, a documentary by The Story of Stuff Project. Followed by a Panel Discussion with Delphine Lévi Alvarès (Rethinking Plastic Alliance), Prof. Paul Lickiss (ICL) and Dr Stephanie Wright (ICL).

To find out more about the Plastic Free July, and tips and tricks for reducing your plastic consumption visit:


Wellbeing II: Art Therapy Workshop
Thursday 23rd July 2020 12-2 pm

Using items found around the home such as pens, pencils and foodstuffs such as turmeric, tea and coffee, the directed wellbeing workshop will explore topics such as self-care, working in isolation, and stress, time and workload management, using art exercises such as mapping your support network.

The two-hour workshop will be given by Lee Simmons from Social Art and Therapy, an artist, climbing instructor and psychotherapist. Lee has tailored the workshop to focus on the wellbeing of PhD students and early career researchers during COVID-19 lockdown as we find ourselves working more in isolation and having difficulty balancing work, relaxation, time, stress and focus.


Wellbeing I: Get your body moving
Tuesday 21st July 2020 - 12-1 pm

Join us and Vincent Merouze for a lunchtime dance fitness session aimed to get you up, moving and releasing important mood-boosting endorphins! The session will be for all levels and abilities, focussing on making you feel good.

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