Knowledge for a sustainable world

Currently undertaking a hands-on internship at the University of Greenwich with the Natural Resources Institute (NRI), Katie is getting involved in exciting research projects.

Working with Dr Sarah Arnold, Katie is monitoring bumblebee behaviour and activity as part of a project to improve the targeted pollination of crops by bumblebees to increase yield and food security.

Katie is enjoying the freedom and opportunity to work on multiple projects including: 


  • Innovation for improved strawberry pollination by commercial bumblebees using caffeine
  • WetlandLIFE, an interdisciplinary project looking at community relationships to wetlands and the role of mosquitoes in this
  • Supporting Louise Malmgren’s (current NRI research student) PhD project on Spatial movement patterns and feeding of the Anopheles mosquitoes
  • A collaborative project between NRI and Pollinator & Orchard Management Ltd on pollination of crops using hoverflies

Katie James and Anthony Abbott on a fieldtrip “It’s a lot to get used to,” she says, “I’m not simply observing, but I’m being asked to give my opinion and the staff value my input.”

Katie is thrilled to be working under the supervision of Sarah Arnold who is providing daily support and encouragement to ensure Katie is getting the most out of her internship. “Sarah is amazing, as are the 11am coffee times where everyone gathers and talks about their work in an informal setting – I’m curious by nature and coffee time gives me the licence to be nosey!”

Working alongside staff and research students, Katie is building up her knowledge on what a career in research entails and at the same time improving core skills in planning, time-management and adaptability. In Katie’s words, “The satisfaction and fulfilment of working in research has by far exceeded my expectations. I am living the dream!”

Wetlandlife fieldwork with Frances and Anthony Inspired by one of her lecturers, Dr Frances Hawkes, there is no stopping Katie, who plans to continue studying at NRI and work towards a PhD in Food Security and Pollination Services.

“Frances is my role model,” adds Katie, “She did the same degree as me and now has developed a pioneering mosquito trap that tackles the most dangerous animal in the world. She travels across the globe doing amazing research with mosquito researchers whilst finding time to teach and motivate students like me.”

Thanks to NRI at the University of Greenwich, Katie’s got a clear career path and is now aspiring to do a PhD.

“Aged 26 I’m aspiring to a PhD.”

Find out more about studying with NRI

Look out for more snippets on Katie’s internship as we follow her journey.

For more information, contact: Inderjit Dhooper, NRI Communications