NCI Secretariat

The NCI Secretariat consists of representatives from our four partner organisations, coordinated by a project officer. We are adviced by the NCI steering group.

NCI chair

Dr. Laura Bellingan FRSB, Royal Society of Biology

laurabellingan_b&wLaura oversees policy and public affairs activities at the Royal Society of Biology which engages with government, funding agencies, academia, industry, education and the public sphere. She is interested in how science is used for public good and works to promote the use of evidence generated by biologists in policy development and in the skills pipeline. Her postdoctoral research was on human inflammatory cell biology and she has a masters degree in Science, Culture and Environment.

Laura is one of our founding partners, involved in launching the NCI in 2009.

Dr. Paula Harrison, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology

Paula is Principal Natural Capital Scientist at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology based at their Lancaster site. She specialises in working across sectors and disciplines to integrate different types of knowledge to find innovative solutions for operationalising the natural capital and ecosystem service concepts, and adapting to climate change. She has a background in modelling climate change impacts and adaptation options for agriculture, biodiversity and ecosystem services; assessing interdependencies between different ecosystem services; participatory scenario development; and exploring how biodiversity underpins ecosystem service provision.

Paula coordinates the EU-funded IMPRESSIONS project. She is also a Coordinating Lead Author for the Intergovernmental science-policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) Europe and Central Asia Assessment. Paula led the review of climate change impacts research on ecosystem services in Europe in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 5th Assessment Report, and was a Coordinating Lead Author for the UK National Ecosystem Assessment Follow-On.

Prof. Alison Hester, The James Hutton Institute

alison-hester_b&wAlison is the Research Theme Leader for Safeguarding Natural Capital, one of the Institute’s seven Research Themes. Alison’s research interests and experience lie in applied biodiversity research, with a particular focus on plant:herbivore interactions and vegetation dynamics (particularly in forest/upland systems), conservation and range management. She has extensive practical experience in the logistics of international research, for example, negotiating, establishing and servicing experimental sites in remote areas, community based management of natural resources, stakeholder consultations, multi-national workshops and policy communications.

In recent years Alison has taken a lead role in bringing together and managing diverse teams of scientists in the highly interdisciplinary area of biodiversity-related research, for example leading the Scottish Government-funded five-year Workpackage on “Management of Biodiversity Change” 2006-2011 and the “Ecosystem Services” research programme, 2011-2016. She is an active council member of the European biodiversity network: ALTER-Net, and is involved in a range of other global initiatives.

Alison chaired the NCI from 2015 to 2019.

NCI project officer

Minna Hartikainen, Royal Society of Biology

Minna is Natural Capital Initiative Project Officer at the Royal Society of Biology. She has previously worked in forest research and international nature conservation projects for the Finnish Forest Research Institute, Finnish Environment Institute and the RSPB. Minna holds an M.Sc. in Geography but has also dabbled with Russian language and literature, which has taken her around northern European and Russian forests and wetlands before landing in this green and pleasant land.