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Department of Earth Sciences


Briony Bowe

MSci 2009

Head of Energy-related Products Policy, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)

Which subjects did you want to study when you applied to Cambridge NatSci?
Physics, Chemistry, and Materials.

What made you choose 1A Earth Sciences?
Mostly the very enthusiastic second year students!

What made you stay?
A friendly department, with lots of socials and fantastic field trips, but mostly because Earth Sciences is a genuinely interesting subject. I enjoyed the range of specialisms available within Earth Sciences, but also how obviously applicable the subject is to the real world.

How has doing Earth Sciences shaped your career?
My career—in energy and climate change policy-making—has led directly from my Earth Sciences degree.

I first joined the civil service in the climate science team at the Department of Energy and Climate Change, helping to understand the implications of the latest climate science research for policy-making. I've used the analytical skills that I picked up during my degree in most of the jobs that I've done since—including designing an auction to assign renewable energy contracts, and helping manage the UK's performance against its carbon budgets. The balance of analysis and reasoning that's involved in the degree equips you well for a lot of civil service roles, and I regularly come across other Earth scientists in the department.