UCL Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy


Sarah Bebb

Sarah studied Global Environment, Politics and Society MSc at the University of Edinburgh before starting her PhD at STEaPP in 2023.

Photo of PhD student, Sarah Bebb, climbing hill
How did you come to realise you wanted to study for a PhD?

I had been working in the field of cross-border water management and diplomacy for eight years with the German agency for international cooperation, GIZ. The work was fascinating, but also at times frustrating when it came to challenges in collaboratively generating scientific knowledge among the countries, and translating these into concrete policy and/or negotiation outcomes. I am grateful to have the opportunity to reflect more methodologically on these challenges and how they might be overcome.

Why did you choose to undertake a PhD at UCL STEaPP?

The interdisciplinary nature of the department is inspiring in many ways - the professors, mentors and peers have a vast amount of professional experiences across the public and private sector, bridging the gap between academia and practitioners, and making the department's research highly relevant to the "real world" - as opposed to existing in an academic bubble or echo chamber. This was the most important criteria for me.

What is the focus of your PhD?

Science Diplomacy in the Nile Basin.

What has been the highlight of your PhD so far?

Meeting fascinating people, working on fascinating topics from all across the globe. I feel privileged to have access to this community.

How would you describe the community at STEaPP?

Diverse, passionate, practice-oriented, and above all, friendly and welcoming.

What advice would you give to future PhD students?

Make the most of soaking up the knowledge that exists across the university - the vast number of events, talks, book launches, webinars etc. can seem overwhelming but I have so far found every event I have attended incredibly interesting.