Karen joined ANCORS in January 2017. She obtained her PhD from ANCORS in 2016, focusing on international and regional policy frameworks . Her thesis, titled “Towards an Improved Framework to Prevent Marine Plastic Debris,” analysed measures to prevent ocean- and land-based sources of plastic pollution. The feasibility of a new legally binding international agreement and an associated global funding mechanism was reviewed. After she presented a possible model for such an agreement at the 17th meeting of the United Nations Open-ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea, titled "Marine debris, plastics and micro-plastics" she was contracted by UNEP to conduct further assessment on the effectiveness of international and regional regulatory frameworks to prevent marine litter and microplastics.
Karen also holds a Master of Environmental Management from the University of New South Wales and has a background in Information Technology. She has worked in Cape Town, London and Sydney as an IT Systems Engineer and Project Manager, consulting to a range of institutions, including the financial sector. While working at Surfrider Foundation Australia, she coordinated corporate beach cleans.
Dr. Raubenheimer was the lead researcher and author of the 2017 assessment for the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) titled: “Combating marine plastic litter and microplastics: An assessment of the effectiveness of relevant international, regional and subregional governance strategies and approaches.” The project was conducted in collaboration with Prof McIlgorm and Dr Nulifer Oral (Istanbul Bilgi University).
Karen presented the resulting report at the third meeting of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-3) in Nairobi, December 2017. Karen has since been involved in the Ad Hoc Open Ended Expert Group meetings, as per the resolution adopted at UNEA-3 for marine litter and microplastics.
She was subsequently contracted by UNEP to develop a regional marine litter action plan design guide as well as developing a draft measurement model to calculate the national costs of marine litter. She was also involved in the development of marine litter guidelines for the APEC region and is working with Prof McIlgorm to update the 2009 report on the economics of marine litter within APEC economies.
The Pacific Region is the subject of a study Karen is currently leading as part of the Commonwealth Litter Programme.