Julia Steel


My background is in Ecological and Environmental Sciences (BSc Hons) and Marine Systems and Policies (MSc) both from The University of Edinburgh. My previous work has focused on investigating gender inequalities in the Scottish aquaculture sector, which sparked my general interest in addressing inclusion issues in the pursuit of ocean sustainability. This led to my current PhD project ‘Youth Voices for Nature’, which aims to increase youth engagement in marine planning in Scotland. Outside of academia, I am passionate about art, community and any sea-related activity. 

Inclusion of the ‘youth voice for nature’ in regional marine planning

PI and Institution:
Karen Alexander, Heriot-Watt University

PhD aim:
Young people will inherit the consequences of ocean decisions today yet are rarely recognised as stakeholders in marine planning. The engagement of young people in decision-making is a significant challenge due to multiple barriers such as power imbalances and lack of funding. My overall PhD aim is to explore mechanisms that could be used to support youth engagement in marine planning in Scotland.

PhD objectives:

  • Explore digital tools and arts-based methodologies that could empower young people to participate in marine planning.  
  • Investigate what versions of marine planning processes would be appropriate for young people and how these could be adapted to engage youth effectively.
  • Develop an evaluation tool to monitor the effectiveness of current and future youth engagement efforts in marine planning.  

Contact details:
Email: [email protected]
LinkedIn: Julia Steel 
Instagram: @juliasteelmarine  
Research website: Youth Voices for Nature