Meet the Aura CDT students tackling climate change through video gaming

22 April 2021


Two Aura Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) students are supporting a major digital conference which looks to use gaming to increase awareness of climate change.

Victoria Bessonova and Hannah Marsden – both students at Aura’s Centre for Doctoral Training – have been selected to act as mentors at Climate Jam, which starts on Earth Day on April 22 and runs until May 2.

Games at the Climate Jam will cover a wide range of concepts, including Capturing the Wind, Clean Energy Jobs and Climate Justice.

The Aura CDT in Offshore Wind Energy & the Environment is enabling the growth of a sustainable Offshore Wind sector, via cross-disciplinary research that directly addresses industry needs. Aura CDT students are from diverse backgrounds and undertake a broad range of research projects, so the research interests of the two Climate Jam mentors are very different.

Cohort 1 student, Hannah Marsden, is a Chemical Engineer, researching the possibility of recycling waste clothes to produce carbon nanomaterials which will be used as additives in wind turbine blade manufacture.
She said: “In my two years with the Aura CDT, I feel like I have learned so much about the offshore wind industry, which I look forward to passing on to the teams involved in the Climate Jam.

“I’m really interested in how scientific concepts are communicated and I think gaming is a great way to make ideas more engaging and easier to understand. During our PG Dip year at the Aura CDT, we worked on our communication skills and I’m looking forward to developing these further.

“The Aura CDT, and Energy & Environment Institute as a whole, have shown me lots of innovative ways that research can be shared with wider audiences and I look forward to building on these experiences during the Climate Jam.”
The Climate Jam will bring together creators and energy experts to develop new gaming concepts on the theme of ‘Clean Energy Solutions’ over a ten-day period starting on Earth Day – April 22.

Hannah and Victoria will act as mentors at the Jam, sharing their knowledge and expertise in clean growth and energy, and inspiring future generations of climate scientists.

Victoria Bessonova, is an Electrical Engineer by training with an interest in machine learning. She is currently undertaking an industry-sponsored project with partners at ORE Catapult researching climate change impact on the offshore energy industry.

Victoria’s experiences of working within the Moscow energy industry inspired her to apply to become a mentor for the Climate Jam.

She said: “Throughout my career, I often encounter a lack of understanding of what the energy sector is.

“When I say that I am an energy engineer, the majority of people appear startled. Despite every single person using electricity and energy every day, few of them actually know how it gets there.

“I have regularly experienced difficulties in explaining the energy and different technologies, especially in my home country, where there’s no drive for the energy transition and often no understanding why the climate change is a pressing issue.

“So, I think gamification of these complex problems is a great idea to convey the importance of ideas no matter the age or the country of origin of the person since everyone like playing.”

The Aura CDT in Offshore Wind Energy & the Environment is enabling the growth of a sustainable Offshore Wind sector, via cross-disciplinary research that directly addresses industry needs.

It currently has 24 funded PhD students across two-year groups and will take on a further 50 students over the next three years.

Students take an initial training year, hosted by the Energy and Environment Institute at the University of Hull, before embarking on three years of PhD research at either Hull, or one of the partners institutions – the universities of Durham, Newcastle or Sheffield.

Applications are open until 16 May for individuals from all STEM backgrounds, who wish to take up places in September 2021.

For more information, visit:

  • Aura CDT conference unites around the acceleration of offshore wind targets

    1 February 2024 Read more Read More
  • Aura CDT hosts net-zero skills expert

    24 January 2024 Read more Read More
  • Aura CDT students inspire the next generation of offshore wind scientists

    9 November 2023 Read more Read More
  • Aura CDT student wins best presentation at international conference

    30 October 2023 Read more Read More
  • Aura CDT partners lead new research centre to drive economic growth and sustainability

    6 October 2023 Read more Read More

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