Nikki Kostur

Nikki Kostur

Biomaterials Technician

Nikki's job title is Biology Technical Instructor at The Royal College of Art

What I do

I manipulate and mix together natural materials to produce innovative sustainable materials that can replace products that are harmful to the environment, such as petroleum-based plastics. My work also involves designing, setting up, and running the RCA’s Natural Matters lab and workspace for graduate students. Specifically, I develop their ideas with them and make sure they are feasible in our research space.

Hear more about Nikki's role by watching the video below...

Nikki Kostur

How I became a technician

I am fascinated by biology, but I also love making things and being creative. After finishing university in North Carolina, U.S., I worked for an education start-up that aims to make biomaterials and biotechnology understandable to people from non-science backgrounds. The co-founder of that company, who is an RCA alumnus, sent me a job advert for my current role and encouraged me to apply. My interest in increasing accessibility to science and developing sustainable solutions led me to the RCA. I have been here since November 2021.

A typical day
in my working life

A little more about
my everyday role

What I love most about my job

I love being hands on, feeling the materials, and creating things. I especially love seeing the final designs that students make from the materials that I develop with them. It’s really fulfilling to know that I helped their ideas come to life!

The most exciting thing I've achieved so far in my job

One of the first students I worked with was interested in creating an eggshell-based material. She has since developed it into a leather-like textile and designed lamps and a beautiful wearable neck piece from it. After graduating from the RCA, she hopes to found a company for the material. Her project has come so far!
I am also proud that I am helping to establish Natural Matters, which is an entirely new workspace at the RCA. It’s amazing to know that the innovative biodesign work and biomaterials that students develop in this space that I run are not only new to the RCA, but are also completely new to the world!

The best bits about working in a team

I love working in a collaborative environment. My coworker, manager, and I help each other all the time. It’s great to be able to ask each other questions and bounce ideas around together. The skills and knowledge sharing is exciting, and I am constantly learning.

The next steps in my career journey

I will continue learning from nature and using what I find to keep pushing this very exciting field forward! There are infinite possibilities to bring about positive, sustainable change by combining science and design together.

The advice I'd give to
someone younger

If you are interested in making things, you can turn that into a career. Don’t feel inhibited by thinking you need a degree in sciences.

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