Gaia Tan is a Strategy Consultant at Eden Strategy Institute, with experience in ethnographic research and a background in international development. Before joining Eden, Gaia was engaged with DEFRA in the United Kingdom’s civil service to conduct a horizon scan for future challenges and opportunities towards successful stewardship of the environment. In this role, Gaia worked with the social research team to consider the growing role of farm owners as active participants in environmental conservation. Understanding the human communities at the core of any policy, programme or initiative is at the core of Gaia’s approach. His first research project involved understanding the material culture of indigenous communities in Sarawak by detailing the symbolism, myths and stories behind each craft. His work was part of a wider project collating these details to better present the Ibanese culture in Sarawak and beyond.
In London, Gaia built strong relationships with a Sufi group to understand the challenges, modifications and accommodations of their religious practice having migrated from Baghdad to London. Both these projects sharpened his ethnographic research skills and has instilled the belief that on the ground research drives insights that macro-level data cannot capture. During his undergraduate studies, Gaia volunteered as a student tutor for children from underprivileged backgrounds. As a cohort, Gaia was involved in co-creating a revised curriculum following six terms worth of data from volunteering work with ActionTutoring. In his role at Eden he has managed and delivered a framework for applying the principles, design strategies and implementation processes of Behavioural Sciences into public policy. Currently, he is supporting a research piece on the application of agritech opportunities in the Malaysian context.
Gaia holds an honors degree in Development Studies and Social Anthropology from SOAS University of London.