The IES team
April 2021

Qualitative responses to the 2021 Membership Survey

Our annual membership survey provides members with an opportunity to feedback on the services we provide, as well as gathering thoughts on our planned projects for the coming year. As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and the significant impact on both our own and members’ working practices, we did not run the 2020 survey and were therefore particularly keen to hear from members in our 2021 survey.

Once we have summarised the quantitative survey results (see 2021 membership survey report), we consider the written comments in detail to see where we can improve our membership offering. As a member-driven organisation, the survey is a vital tool in collating members' concerns, queries and suggestions. This article summarises the qualitative responses from the survey and what we are doing in response to your suggestions.


2020 saw a marked increase in the number of webinars we delivered, with 33 across the year covering a wide variety of topics and specialisms. We received a very positive response to this increased webinar offering and will be maintaining the frequency of webinars in 2021/22.

We are keen to ensure that our webinar programme reflects the diversity of our members’ specialisms and expertise, covering both specialist, technical topics, as well as broader, more general areas of interest across the environmental sciences. We received a lot of positive feedback from members about the range and frequency of our webinar offering, however some members expressed a wish for less specialised webinars, whilst others asked for more webinars relating to their specialism. To satisfy these contradictory requests, we recognise we need to maintain a good balance between the number of specialist and general topics covered, and we are working to ensure that our webinars reflect the diversity of members’ professional specialisms at varying levels of technicality and seniority.

We are always keen to hear ideas for potential webinar topics or speakers that you would like to see. If you are interested in presenting a webinar yourself or would like to suggest potential speakers or topics, please do get in touch

All our webinars are recorded and posted to the analysis section of our website and to our YouTube channel so that you can watch again at your own leisure or catch up on webinars you were unable to attend live. 


As a result of the pandemic, our events schedule moved online in March 2020 and we were pleased to be able to deliver 33 webinars, 26 workshops, five forums, three AGMs, two conferences and one lecture virtually. We will be continuing to monitor when it is safe to return to physical events throughout this year.

In their feedback, several members informed us that they would like events to incorporate more interactive ways to connect with fellow members, particularly in the run up to the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in November. We have learnt a lot from running events online over the past year and we will continue to strive to make the format of our virtual meetings engaging and to use appropriate technology to drive interactions and networking.

COP26 is an important area of focus for many of our members and we have worked over the past six months to bring together members (in our COP26 Community), other professional bodies and environmental scientists from across the sector to help shape discussions ahead of the climate summit. As part of this work, we have held two interactive, themed discussions, with a further four discussion events planned for 2021. 


We received very positive feedback from members about the environmental SCIENTIST journal, however several respondents requested clarification on the procedures for contributing articles. In response to this feedback, we updatd the journal webpage, including adding an FAQ section to provide responses to some of the most commonly asked questions about contributing to the journal.

We welcome contributions from members and ask that if you are interested in contributing to a future edition, get in touch with the Publications Officer in the first instance with the edition you would like to contribute to and a suggested topic for your article. The themes, planned publication dates and article submission deadlines for forthcoming journal editions can now be found on the right-hand side of the journal webpage. Please get in touch before beginning work on your article and no less than three months ahead of the publication date. Suggestions for potential articles will then be reviewed internally in collaboration with the Guest Editor of the relevant edition. 

We also welcome suggestions for future journal themes. We received lots of great ideas through the membership survey for topics that you would like to see us tackle in 2021/22 but if you have any other suggestions, please let us know. 

Quick-fire feedback

As the survey is anonymous, we are unable to respond to your comments and questions directly, however we have provided responses to a number of specific queries below.

We apologise that we aren’t able to respond to all of your comments in this blog, however all feedback is collated and reviewed by the relevant member of staff. Thank you once again for completing the survey.