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About Karen


I am Assistant Professor in Marine Governance and Blue Economy at the International Centre for Island Studies (ICIT) at Heriot-Watt University in Scotland, UK. I am Programme Director for the MSc Marine Renewable Energy and Course Leader for the postgraduate 'Introduction to Marine Planning' course.


I have successfully led a number of nationally-funded research projects in the UK and Australia which have helped industry and government to understand how to consider societal concerns in marine and coastal resource governance. My research to date has largely coalesced around the topic of 'marine and coastal conflict'. Read more about that here.

I spend as much time as possible outdoors - in the mountains or on the sea. I love to walk, dive, kayak, and sail. I recently bought a 20ft twin keel sailboat for my birthday and I'm currently doing that up. I am very creative and enjoy photography, painting and printmaking.

I am also a proud member of the Homeward Bound 2018 team. Photo on the left is of me in Antarctica!

Karen A. Alexander

professional appointments & education

2022 - present. Assistant Professor Marine Governance and Blue Economy, Heriot-Watt University, UK.

2020-2022. Senior Lecturer/Research Fellow, IMAS, University of Tasmania, Australia. 

2016-2020. Lecturer/Research Fellow, IMAS, University of Tasmania, Australia. 

2013–2016. Researcher and Teacher in Marine Social Science, Scottish Association for Marine Science, UK. 

2012-2013. Post-Doc Research Associate, Scottish Assocation for Marine Science, UK.


2009 - 2012. PhD Marine Science, Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS)/ University of Aberdeen, UK. 
Thesis title: ‘Offshore power production and marine stakeholders: from understanding to mitigating conflict.’


2008 - 2009. MSc Environmental Governance, University of Manchester, UK. Thesis title: ‘Polar bear conservation and post colonialism: identity and indigeneity in the Canadian Arctic’

1998 - 2002. BA (Joint Hons) Politics and Sociology, University of Strathclyde, UK. 

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