Felix Leung

Country: Hong Kong
Sector: NGO
Job title: Climate Change Fellow
Subject of study: Geography
Year of graduation: 2017
Type/Level of study: Postgraduate Research

Current Employer/Organisation Name

The Nature Conservancy

What have you been doing since leaving Exeter, and what are you doing now?

Since leaving Exeter, I was a postdoctoral researcher at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), I published high impact peer-reviewed scientific papers and research on the impact of ozone on crops and also research the impact of urbanisation on ecology in south China under the ENSURE program jointly with Exeter (Joint Centre for Environment Sustainability and Resilience) . After 3 years, I then started my current job as a Climate Change Fellow at The Nature Conservancy (TNC). TNC is a world-leading environmental NGO, and my role is to research the impact of climate change on the Greater Bay Area (GBA) in China. I studied climate policy report and research on nature-based solutions that could mitigate and adapt to the future climate impact. I also do advocacy and recommend policy to the government in drafting the Climate Action Plan etc.

Why did you choose this career? And what do you enjoy most about your work?

My passion for climate change science has been my career path. I noticed that Hong Kong is still very lack behind in the field of climate change science and policy, I would like to contribute my knowledge and experience that I learned in UK to Hong Kong. I enjoyed meeting different people all around the world and have the opportunity to go to oversea conferences.

Please tell us if you were a member of any societies, groups or sports clubs?

I participated in the Chinese society activities, such as helping out at the Spring festival preparation and giving advices to new Chinese students.

What did you enjoy most about your programme and what was the biggest highlight?

Studying PhD of Geography in Exeter gave me the opportunity to expose to the international field of climate change research, with the leading experts from the Global System Institute and the Met Office. It made me stand out from other candidates because of Exeter’s reputation for research excellence. The collaboration between CUHK and Exeter U also allows me to keep in touch with my supervisors and the departments in Exeter. The biggest highlight for me is graduating with a PhD and able to share the joy with my classmates and family at the ceremony.

What did you enjoy most about studying here?

I enjoy the tranquillity and diversity in Exeter. It is a small city very different from where I grew up in Hong Kong, but I am able to meet people from different cultures and nationalities. I am really surprised there is a large Chinese student community in Exeter and that the whole city joins us to celebrate the Chinese New Year with fireworks and the New Year market. As a geographer, I really enjoy travelling to the countryside during my spare time. I love visiting the Dartmoor and Exmoor national park, also the beautiful beaches along Exmouth. My favourite memory is about visiting the Ottery St Mary for the Tar Barrel festival during bonfire night. It is amazing such traditions can be passed on for generations. It resembles a festival that I always attended in my neighbourhood in Hong Kong; it’s called the Fire Dragon Festival. I enjoy the thrills when the tar barrel passes through and also the crowd cheers. It’s an amazing experience.

Why did you choose to study at Exeter?

Exeter stands out as an exceptional hub for climate change research, boasting dedicated institutes solely focused on sustainable research and climate change. The vibrant atmosphere and supportive community surrounding me constantly motivate and empower me to accomplish my research goals. Moreover, the rich cultural diversity on campus provides a fertile ground for exchanging ideas with individuals from various backgrounds, fostering an environment that consistently inspires me with fresh perspectives and innovative concepts.

What skills and experiences have been most useful for your career?

A successful career in climate change science requires a strong scientific background, research skills, data analysis and modeling expertise, interdisciplinary knowledge, effective communication abilities, collaboration and teamwork, as well as adaptability and resilience. These skills and experiences enable climate change scientists to analyze data, conduct research, and communicate their findings to diverse audiences. Additionally, being well-versed in related disciplines, working effectively in teams, and staying adaptable to new challenges and advancements are key to making a meaningful impact in the field.

What advice would you give to a current student who wishes to pursue your career?

For students coming to Exeter, I will tell them work hard and play hard. Enjoy every moment and make good connections with people that you meet and get the most out of your university life!

What are your plans for the future?

I plan to continue to pursue my career in climate change research, and I would like to do more advocacy and policy recommendations to make real practical changes to society.


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