Life as a scientist

Meet some of the scientists who have worked on OPAL, discover more about the varied work they have been involved in, and find out how you can become a scientist.


How to become a scientist

Considering a career in science? Wondering how our scientists got started?

Watch this video for top tips on how to follow in their footsteps.

Get more insights into life as a scientist


What do scientists do?

One thing is clear – there's no such thing as a typical day for OPAL scientists! 

From the lab to the field, working with volunteers and the community, there's rarely a dull moment.

Watch more videos about life as a scientist



Meet the scientists

David SlawsonDr David Slawson, OPAL Director
When he's not surfing in Wales or refereeing a rugby match, action man David is spreading the word about plant health and keeping the OPAL staff in line...

Dr Poppy Lakeman FraserDr Poppy Lakeman Fraser, OPAL Senior Coordinator
Inspired by bad mushroom jokes, old film reels and the Lepidoptera of New Zealand, Poppy explains why she became a scientist.

Dr David JonesDavid Jones, earthworm expert
Got a question about the hidden world beneath your lawn? David, one of the creators of the Soil and Earthworm Survey, is the man to ask!

Erika HoganErika Hogan, a love for lichens
She's been fascinated by lichens since primary school; now lichenologist Erika Hogan tells us how she turned her passion into a career.


Useful links

The central place to search and apply to university and higher education courses.

Countryside Jobs Service
A popular site listing jobs, training and news in the environmental sector.

Field Studies Council courses and activities
The FSC offer a wide range of natural history and arts courses suitable for all levels and ages.

Wildlife Trusts
Local wildlife trusts offer plenty of opportunities to volunteer, train and gain experience.

The Conservation Volunteers
Nationwide projects to get involved in and build up your environmental experience.

OPAL scientist blog

News, updates and opinions from our community scientists across the UK.

Go behind the scenes at OPAL and learn more about our work.

OPAL community scientists"Scotland is blessed with a variety of natural assets and resources.

"Many companies and organisations are involved with rural industries but are struggling to find knowledgeable, skilled and experienced staff..."

Matt Keyse, OPAL community scientist, south west Scotland