Dr Alex Penn FRSA is an interdisciplinary scientist with a background in evolutionary ecology and complexity science. She has worked extensively on evolution within multispecies communities and the evolution of co-operation in bacterial biofilms and has many previous projects exploring evolution in soil microbial ecosystems. She leads “Community Microbes”, a participatory science project at the University of Surrey. This engages members of the public in running “kitchen sink” microbiology experiments in their homes and gardens to discover what different species of bacteria grow in their soil and how these can change in interaction with human intervention. In her day job she works on modelling industrial ecosystems: creating tools and approaches to steering complex systems for policy and decision makers.