Dr Susan Gebbels
Research Associate

  • Email: susan.gebbels@ncl.ac.uk
  • Telephone: 0191 252 4850 (102)
  • Fax: +44 (0) 191 252 1054
  • Address: Dove Marine Laboratory,
    North sheilds,
    Tyne and Wear.
    NE30 4PZ

Dr Gebbels has worked with the School of Marine Science and Technology for 10 years after graduating as a mature student from Newcastle University with a BSc (hons) in Marine Biology. During this period she also achieved a PhD in Marine Environmental Education and Citizenship. Susan is a leading member of a successful, multidiscipline team that has developed an excellent, extensive programme of National and International Marine Science and Technology Outreach and Engagement provision for young people, their families and their communities. Susan's work requires her to conceive, develop, fund, deliver and project manage environmental and educational research initiatives and promote STEM subjects to young people and adults. Dr Gebbels strives to be at the forefront of current innovation, further pedagogical research, publish and explore new directions and funding opportunities in the field of Marine Education. She works closely with colleagues within The Centre for Teaching and Learning (Cflaft) at Newcastle University to ensure that her work reflects the latest pedagogical approaches

Dr Gebbels has demonstrated competence in international liaisons, leading projects in Europe and Africa. She was the lead coordinator for several projects in Ghana that explored marine environmental issues with school children, academics and community groups. In 2012 Susan was the Science Officer on JOIDES Resolution working for The International Ocean Discovery Programme and The Deep Earth Academy, a role that required her to spend 2 months at sea in The Pacific Ocean delivering STEM subjects via various technologies to young people all over the world. This role allowed Susan to develop her transatlantic links with schools, educators and STEM centres in the US. Susan sits on the committee for the UK branch of EMSEA and will be presenting 2 papers at the 2014 Conference in Sweden.

Susan was the project manager and co-editor of the book ‘A Year in the Life of Our NE Coast’; This book is a photographic record of the changes and use of the NE UK coast over a whole year and is one sale throughout the region. During the whole of 2012 4000 images were submitted by people living in the area and collated in this high quality glossy book. The project allowed people of all ages and walks of life opportunities to explore and learn about their coast then share their learning through a range of discussion forums. Waterstones NE called it their “Coffee Table Book of the Year”.


BSc Marine Biology (Hons). Newcastle University 2003

PhD Marine Environmental Education and Citizenship Newcastle University 2013


Research Interests.

Community use of The Marine Environment.

One of my key research interests is how communities use their local marine environments, what informal, expert knowledge lay people have about these areas and how these local insights can be used effectively in the management of the environment. I liaise with communities, local authorities and conservation agencies to explore these issues then incorporate stakeholder ideas into management proposals which reflect the needs of local people.

Informal Learning in the Marine Environment.

My other key area of research involves working with young people to help them explore their local natural world through informal science learning opportunities such as outdoor discovery and cultural heritage. These projects often span several years and link together communities with shared local identities such as those in fishing communities. I use a range of dissemination techniques in my projects most of which are led by the young people and communities involved. These might include travelling exhibitions, the production of glossy booklets, books or newsletters, public talks, displays and workshops, Skype lessons and the production of websites.

Esteem Indicators

North East Process Industry Cluster Environmental Award.

Newcastle University Spotlight Award 2013. 

Past projects

Sea Change NE


Coastal Guardians


The Tale of the Herring


Fish and Ships


Cullercoats: Past, Present and Future.



The Royal Society

Azko Nobel

Catherine Cookson Foundation

Heritage Lottery Fund