Imperial College London

Dr Alexandra Collins

Faculty of Natural SciencesCentre for Environmental Policy

Lecturer in Environmental Sustainability



+44 (0)20 7594 5538alexandra.collins




109Weeks BuildingSouth Kensington Campus





Alex is a Lecturer in Environmental Sustainability at the Centre for Environmental Policy. Her research activities are grounded in the motivation to inform and improve environmental decision making and environmental sustainability.  This encompasses the need for greater considerations of the environment in decision making through improving understanding of ecosystem services and the societal benefits of environmental improvements, the use of evidence in environmental decision making and the promotion of integrated solutions to environmental problems. 

Alex has worked extensively with policy and practice decision makers.  Her research on developing methodological approaches to reviewing environmental evidence for decision making has been published in international, peer-reviewed journals and adopted as guidance and used extensively by the UK Government, the US Environment Protection Agency and the European Union’s Scientific Advisory Mechanism.  

Currently Alex is a co-investigator on the NERC funded Community Water Management for a Liveable London (CAMELLIA) project, leading work on how ecosystem services and natural capital, the benefits that humans obtain from nature, can be incorporated into urban and water management.  This is taking a systems approach to understanding the interactions between natural and built space, with the goal to inform key stakeholders of the consequences of development and the benefits of incorporating greening measures to mitigate this.  Alex also works on the Nature Smart Cities EU Interreg project which is developing tools to assist towns and cities fund and implement green infrastructure for improved climate resilience. 

Alex recently begun working on the EU funded horizon 2020 project HEAlthier Cities from Blue Green Regenerative Technologies (HEART) which aims to develop an integrated approach to improve urban health and reduce health disparities using blue-green technologies.  Additionally, Alex supervises PhD projects investigating the cultural ecosystem services of blue space and on the use of natural capital for participatory approaches to catchment management. 

Research Themes

  • Integrated solutions to environmental challenges - developing holistic and synergistic approaches to environmental management using interdisciplinary and systems thinking
  • Societal benefits from the environment - developing evidence and understanding of the wide range of benefits human populations receive from blue and green space and working to integrate this into decision making processes 
  • Participation in environmental decision making - developing methods to facilitate and assess the value of incorporating stakeholders in environmental decision making, with a particular interest in improving diversity and inclusion in environmental decision making
  • Co-production of research and knowledge transfer - working with end users of research to understand evidence needs and to co-develop approaches to address these


Alex undertook a BSc in Biological Sciences from the University of Bristol before obtaining a masters degree with distinction in Environmental Technology and a PhD in Environmental Research from Imperial College London.  She then worked as a NERC funded policy fellow with the Joint Water Evidence Group, investigating methods and approaches for addressing decision makers' evidence needs for water and catchment management.

Between 2015-2019 Alex undertook a Knowledge Exchange Fellowship working with the UK's Department of Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Environment Agency to investigate how information on ecosystem services can be captured, monitored and used to encourage greater adoption of integrated solutions to environmental challenges.  

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

O'Keeffe J, Pluchinotta I, De Stercke S, et al., 2022, Evaluating natural capital performance of urban development through system dynamics: A case study from London., Science of the Total Environment, Vol:824, ISSN:0048-9697, Pages:1-12

Back P, Collins AM, 2022, Negotiating the green obstacle course: Ranking priorities and problems for municipal green infrastructure implementation, Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, Vol:67, ISSN:1618-8667

Haddaway NR, Callaghan MW, Collins AM, et al., 2020, On the use of computer‐assistance to facilitate systematic mapping, Campbell Systematic Reviews, Vol:16, ISSN:1891-1803, Pages:1-9

Li L, Collins AM, Cheshmehzangi A, et al., 2020, Identifying enablers and barriers to the implementation of the Green Infrastructure for urban flood management: A comparative analysis of the UK and China, Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, Vol:54, ISSN:1618-8667

Hillier JK, Saville GR, Smith MJ, et al., 2019, Demystifying academics to enhance university–business collaborations in environmental science, Geoscience Communication, Vol:2, ISSN:2569-7110, Pages:1-23

Collins AM, Coughlin D, Randall N, 2019, Engaging environmental policy-makers with systematic reviews: challenges, solutions and lessons learned, Environmental Evidence, Vol:8, ISSN:2047-2382

Sutherland WJ, Broad S, Butchart SHM, et al., 2019, A horizon scan of emerging issues for global conservation in 2019, Trends in Ecology and Evolution, Vol:34, ISSN:1872-8383, Pages:83-94

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