Sophie Day

Senior Research Associate

Sophie Day (neé Nicholson-Cole) is a Senior Research Associate at the University of East Anglia, researching adaptation to coastal change in the UK and abroad. Through working closely with coastal managers in Norfolk and Suffolk over many years, Sophie’s research focusses on advancing the practice of adaptive coastal governance: how do we go about collectively, and adaptively managing the interplay of environmental, technical, policy, social, and economic challenges for a resilient future? Sophie’s excellent practitioner and policy network is a valuable outcome of a shared interest in the environmental and socio-economic challenges facing the East coast of England, and elsewhere in the UK and abroad.

Background and current work

Sophie began her research career in the Tyndall Centre in 2000, later completing her PhD at UEA. This qualitatively analysed the impact of visual communication on public engagement with climate change. She went on to work with Tyndall’s Adaptation team, producing a guidebook for planners in small islands for adapting to climate change and an examination of the link between adaptation research and practice in the UK for Defra. She then led the stakeholder engagement strand for the Sustainable Coasts theme. As a result of this work she co-edited a book, which drew together more than 10 years of research on the Tyndall Coastal Simulator (Nicholls, Dawson and Day, 2015 – ‘Broad Scale Coastal Simulation’) and led or co-authored 6 chapters. Fruitful knowledge-exchange with the local and national coastal management community during early years in Tyndall is on-going.

Sophie’s expertise in coastal change and sustainable futures led her to be successful in bidding, planning and delivering the ‘Blue Futures’ NERC innovation project (Blue Opportunities from the Future: knowledge and tools to inform sustainable growth for an integrated terrestrial, coastal and marine zone economy’) at UEA from 2016 with six external partners. She also contributed to IDRC/DfID-funded DECCMA (Deltas, vulnerability & Climate Change: Migration & Adaptation). In 2019 she led the stakeholder engagement for a Natural Capital asset inventory for Norfolk and Suffolk with Lovett et al.

She has also worked in the private sector as a Senior Consultant for Atkins Ltd.’s Environmental Futures team, and led projects including the Lincolnshire Coastal Study. Through her affiliations with Tyndall and the Marine Knowledge Exchange Network (MKEN) at UEA, she is currently delivering consultancy projects – most recently evaluating the process of delivering the UK’s first Sandscaping Scheme at Bacton by North Norfolk District Council. In early 2020 she assessed coastal adaptation needs in Tobago for the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF).