Environmental governance, Geography of science, Biodiversity science and policy
I have an interdisciplinary background and a particular interest in cross-cutting environmental issues. During my undergraduate studies, I studied social sciences at the Paris Institute of Political Sciences (SciencesPo) and natural sciences at the University Pierre et Marie Curie (UPMC), also in Paris. I spent my third year of studies at the University of Buenos Aires and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology in 2008.
Being interested in the science-policy interface, I undertook a dual Masters Degree in ‘Environmental Sciences and Policy’ (UPMC/SciencesPo) and acquired work experience exploring different environmental issues with the French Audit Court, UNESCO and Danone. Having gained a strong taste for research activities, I then worked on a European FP7-funded research project on biodiversity policies with the CNRS (see: http://www.scales-project.net/).
In 2011, I embarked into a PhD project on the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES:http://ipbes.net/) at the University of East Anglia under the supervision of Professor Mike Hulme.
- Environmental governance & community engagement
- Socio-technical-systems & theories of social change
- Social Learning
- Domestic energy & carbon reduction initiatives
PhD: Energy use, carbon reduction and ‘behavioural change’ in low carbon communities
Joint supervisors: Dr. Jane Powell & Dr. Irene Lorenzoni
As part of my PhD I aim to build upon interdisciplinary approaches to explore both the technical aspects and social complexities of domestic energy reduction initiatives in low carbon communities.
The research is intended to compare the interaction between energy use, perspectives and practices in two neighbouring communities in Norfolk: Reepham - an existing market town which has been awarded a Low Carbon Communities Challenge award for its grassroots low carbon innovations; and Rackheath - a government supported Eco-Town development which represents more of a ‘top-down’ governance approach.
The research will explore questions such as:
- To what extent are these community energy initiatives and forms of engagement inclusive, equitable and sustainable in terms of their processes and outcomes? How does the community, engagement and governance context in both localities impact on practices/technological changes and energy/carbon reductions observed?
- How do individuals and households negotiate energy and carbon reduction? To what extent are there opportunities for individuals and communities to maximize (and limit) carbon savings from new practices and the low carbon technologies installed in the new (and existing) homes?
- How can learning about community energy initiatives be instigated, facilitated, transferred and exchanged within and between communities, and wider networks?
Over the last ten years, I have worked within the engineering and environmental consultancy sectors, for non-governmental organisations and for research institutions in a variety of environmental and sustainability roles relating to waste, water and energy systems. More recently, I worked for several years as an environmental consultant with Environmental Resources Management, where I lead and project managed environmental due-diligence audits across a wide range of industrial sites. I also developed and implemented Environmental Management Systems for a range of blue-chip clients.
Building upon my undergraduate degree (BSc. Biology, The University of Nottingham), I graduated in 2009 with distinction in MSc. Sustainability: Business, Environment and Corporate Social Responsibility from The University of Leeds. My research dissertation, which looked at social entrepreneurship and innovation, galvanized my interest in pursuing research in the social and political aspects of the environment.
Subsequently, I undertook an EPSRC funded research position, working with Dr. Liz Sharp at The University of Bradford. This research sought to explore the governance of public engagement in resource efficiency and focused on the UK designated growth town of Ashford, Kent. Having developed a taste for research and in order to further develop understandings gained from this position, I am now embarking upon my PhD at UEA, which aims to look at the dynamics of engagement, learning and ‘behaviour change’ in low carbon communities.
After studying for a BA (Hons) in Geography at Oxford University I became interested in the way space and place shape our knowledge of the physical world and our perceptions of how best to respond to challenges like climate change. I completed an MRes in Environmental Social Science at the University of East Anglia in 2010, and am now working with Professor Mike Hulme on the geographies of climate science.
My research examines the ways in which grassroots innovations foster sustainability cultures and worldviews, and how different radical visions of sustainability shape the kind of action grassroots initiatives undertake.
Viewing grassroots sustainability experiments as a kind of story-telling by communities where narratives frame the actions and solutions that emerge, my research examines sustainability visions within civil society groups, how they are narrated differently among grassroots actors and what kind of actions they give rise to.
Because narratives work within interpretive communities of speakers and listeners, who are both political and cultural actors, narrative analysis is useful for understanding community activities. Narratives tend to be viewed as transformative because identities are in some way storied. Narratives can also be seen to represent local forms of knowledge and, importantly, narratives of local knowledge connect with each other so that larger narratives can emerge.
I am doing an ESRC funded PhD in the School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, where I also did my MSc Climate Change (2008-9). The current research project runs from 2010-13.
Prior to my PhD, I worked in the Regions, Economics & Development team at GHK Consulting on a range of topics including climate change adaptation, cleantech, valuation of ecosystem services and green skills in the EU. This work followed from my internship at nef consulting where I worked on a framework for valuing environmental outcomes in the Social Return on Investment model.
I am fascinated by the how and why of social change, and tend to get involved in projects like the Brixton Pound, the Heart-Mind Computer, and the bid for the Royal Park Community Centre. I am also an ardent cyclist and a music enthusiast.
Sustainable consumption; ‘Consumer Culture Theory’; ‘Interaction Ritual Chains’ theoretical framework; micro/macro-level sociology of consumption; eco-citizenship; emotionally relevant pathways for sustainability transitions; community/grassroots transition innovations
The University of East Anglia (UEA) is, to a certain extent, my natural academic habitat as I completed both my Undergraduate and (Integrated) Masters degrees at UEA prior to starting my PhD research on ‘Sustainable Consumption in an Era of Economic Downturn’. My Integrated Masters Degree was in Environmental Sciences, and included an array of social-science based projects and dissertations relating to environmental politics and environmental sociology. In the final year of my integrated degree at UEA I became interested in and conducted research on sustainable consumption and its sociological hypostasis. I built on this by undertaking a dissertation examining the role of consumer culture within sustainable consumption networks. My dissertation research, completed in 2012, focused on the ‘Interaction Ritual Chains’ framework devised by R. Collins (2004), exploring how participation in an environmental movement -namely the Young Cyprus Greens- carries the potential to emotionally charge and widely propagate sustainable consumption aspirations both within the members of the movement and among the wider public.
Through my PhD research, working with Dr. Gill Seyfang and Dr. Tom Hargreaves, I hope to extend insights into the applicability of this understudied theoretical framework in explaining sustainable consumption practices and transition pathways whilst working with sustainability communities/networks that are presently required to operate in an uncertain economic climate. There is currently a sharp research dichotomy in terms of the effects of the economic crisis on sustainable communes and, consequently, there is an ever growing need to determine those micro-level sociological factors underpinning the success or failure of these networks. Moreover, given the challenging diffusion of the aspirations of such networks and their problematic long-term endurance, the research will help provide an empirically grounded conclusion on whether we should rely on community action to promote the sustainability agenda, and will scrutinise the validity of claims made by the New Economics Foundation suggesting that the complete disassociation from economic considerations and traditional monetary regimes is plausible.
My research interests are the sustainable development of renewable energy technologies, environmental justice (including procedural and distributional justice, such as how the social costs and benefits are shared amongst different types of social groups/stakeholders), and how equity issues can be brought into our measures of sustainability.
My current research involves a single, embedded case study of an international bio-ethanol supply chain, from production to consumption. The supply chain will span different communities that are geographically and culturally distinct, from North Norfolk in England, where the fuel is consumed, to the site of production at a mill in the state of Sao Paulo in Brazil. The research will use an ethnographic style, bottom-up approach to exploring equity issues associated with a biofuel. In order to establish the perceived and experienced socio-economic impacts of this trade to different stakeholder groups, qualitative research methods will be used through semi-structured interviews. The research adopts an inductive approach with grounded theory.
A mixed methods approach will be used to help conceptualise the supply chain, identify stakeholder groups and manage the data collection. Social Life-Cycle Assessment (S-LCA) will be used as part of these methods as it provides an internationally recognised framework for helping conceptualise a supply chain, map out a product’s life-cycle from production to consumption and guidelines for recommended categories for stakeholder groups to include and engage with for the research. SLCA does not, however, currently extend to an assessment of how the impacts identified are distributed amongst different social groups and therefore does not take into account equity issues across the chain, which provides an opportunity for this research project to build on the methodology, consider how this work might be undertaken and the challenges raised in doing so.
Other websites/articles of interest:
The majority of my working life has been spent in and around local Government. The latter part of this part of my work history was spent working for a Local Strategic Partnership (LSP). The setting up of LSPs was driven out of the sustainable development movement and Agenda 21. It was through this work that I became more interested in
environmental issues and how societies could achieve 'sustainability'. This led to me making the transition back into full-time education to study for a degree here at the UEA.
After completing my BSc (Hons) Environmental Sciences at the UEA in June 2010, I commenced a research project funded by the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) into the social acceptance of biofuels. From literature reviews, it became apparent that equity issues are not only an essential part of the aims of the sustainable development agenda, but equity is also an important factor affecting the social acceptance of renewable energy technologies. My work aims to explore how equity can be included in measures of sustainability for biofuels through a case study of an international bioethanol supply chain.
I am a member of the UN Association (UK) and the Events Co-ordinator for the UKERC Sparks network, which is a network for early career energy researchers.
Household energy consumption; social practice theory; user-technology interactions; interdisciplinarity; Passivhaus
I am a 'homegrown' PhD Researcher in that I did my Undergraduate and Masters degrees both at UEA, prior to starting my PhD on the 'Carbon Implications of Low Energy Housing'. My undergraduate degree was in Environmental Sciences and included a year in industry working as an Energy Efficiency Officer for a local authority. This gave me a grounding in the technical disciplines surrounding energy use in the built environment, however I soon became disillusioned with the dominant technoeconomic linearities surrounding mainstream consumer research. The assumption that a 'technological fix' will solve the problem is implicit in most energy consumption policies. Such concerns motivated me to undertake a MRes in Environmental Social Science, and to then focus my PhD on investigating the implications of building low carbon dwellings that are radically different to conventional builds. The case study used to explore these issues further is a 14-dwelling UK social housing Passivhaus development. An interdisciplinary research design framework based on social practice theory is adopted.
I am a volcanologist with an interdisciplinary research interest in volcanic risk. My PhD focusses on the use of participatory monitoring of volcanic hazards for risk reduction. My current field area is the Caribbean island of Montserrat, where the active Soufrière Hills Volcano has threatened the way of life on the island since 1995. Coming from a background of geology and quantitative risk assessment, I am relatively new to the world of social science, but the experience so far has been both rewarding and enlightening.
My interests in the social aspect of risk began whilst on fieldwork in Guatemala for my MSc by research, where I was conducting a quantitative risk assessment on Volcán de Fuego. Visiting villages there made me aware that whilst, in volcanology, a great deal of research is put into the prediction of specific hazards, the vulnerability of those affected can often be overlooked. I then worked for the Seismic Research Center, University of West Indies, and was responsible for developing scientific communication and outreach at the Montserrat Volcano Observatory. My role there meant that I was very involved in public engagement and risk communication, which lead to me moving to UEA to research this dynamic and developing field.
My supervisors are Peter Simmons (UEA) and Jenni Barclay (UEA) along with two CASE supervisors Sue Loughlin (British Geological Survey) and Paul Cole (Montserrat Volcano Observatory). I am funded by the ESRC and my two CASE partners.
My PhD relates to the political, social and cultural dimensions of environmental assessment. The objective is to critically examine the subjective frames of actors involved in an assessment. I will primarily investigate the role of sustainability discourses in relation to environmental impact assessment (EIA), a procedure which is designed to assess environmental impact at the project level. Discourses are social narratives from where ideas, values and beliefs associated with sustainability governance may ensue. The research aims to provide insight in the formulation and articulation of sustainability discourses, their prevalence over others, and how they impact on the assessment purpose. It is proposed that democratic performance (e.g. the attainment of inherent democratic norms and virtues) is an important lever for sustainability discourse in environmental assessment. The research furthermore inquires into the role of the civil society in environmental assessment and sustainability governance more broadly. It is my hypothesis that public participation is mediated by, amongst others, the type of representative democratic system (e.g. majoritarian or consensual), national institutional designs and the political culture of the civil society.
- Political Science, BSc (2006) at University of Amsterdam, Netherlands
- Philosophy of Science, Minor (2006) at University of Amsterdam, Netherlands
- International Development Studies, MSc (2007), University of Amsterdam, Netherlands
- Environment & Resource Management, MSc (2009) at VU University Amsterdam, Netherlands
After completing a BA in Geography and a MA in Environment, Development and Policy at the University of Sussex I came to UEA on an ESRC 1+3 studentship in 2007 completing my MRes in Environmental Social Science and beginning my PhD in 2008.
Studying for a PhD broadly titled ‘Discourses of Climate Control’, I am interested in the way in which peoples values and belief systems influence their engagement with the idea of geoengineering, and particularly in how people employ different ontological strategies to promote or resist the idea of climate control. My interest in knowledge systems grew from study of post-colonial discourse in land management arrangements between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians at Macquarie University. Exposing the continued dominance of Eurocentric epistemologies in co-management arrangements in the Wet Tropics of Queensland, the culminating research offered me insight into the plight of silenced stakeholders in decision-making processes. Thus with the ultimate aim of promoting pluralism in decision-making in the emerging geoengineering arena, my PhD research aims to begin exposing the diversity of knowledges of climate control in different social and cultural settings. My MRes dissertation research, completed in 2011, sought to take a first step towards exploring a variety of contemporary discourses and ideologies of geoengineering in the limited setting of the British national press (Porter & Hulme, submitted).
I hold a BSc in Environmental Geography with International Development and an MRes in Environmental Social Science Research both from the University of East Anglia. I have worked for the Tyndall Centre on a project exploring implications and adaptation options for water security in trans-boundary river basins under different climate change scenarios (Goulden & Porter, in preparation). I have also worked for Environment NGO Somarelang Tikologo in Gaborone, Botswana and Global Policy Forum, an independent policy watchdog that monitors the work of the United Nations and scrutinizes global policymaking.
My PhD is being supervised by Professor Mike Hulme and Dr Naomi Vaughan.
Participatory/deliberative governance; constructions of publics; ecological democracy; critical studies of public engagement; reflective and relational learning; reflexivity; organisations; institutions.
Whilst studying for my BA (Hons) Geography at Cambridge University I became interested in and conducted research on participatory modes of decision-making and governance. I built on this during my MRes in Environmental Sciences at UEA, examining the role of science in environmental policy-making and considering how science and policy organisations learn about and from participatory processes. My dissertation research, completed in 2011, focussed on the policy network around the Government body Sciencewise-ERC, exploring learning trends around and through participatory processes related to climate change, over a 10 year period. Through my PhD research, working with Dr Jason Chilvers, I hope to extend insights into organisational learning about participation through in-depth ethnographic work in organisations and the use of action research.
Climate change; climate geoengineering; public engagement; participatory research methods; social appraisal; risk perception; cultural theory.
Rob Bellamy is a PhD Researcher working with Dr Jason Chilvers, Dr Naomi Vaughan and Professor Tim Lenton at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, based at the University of East Anglia. His research is affiliated to the national Integrated Assessment of Geoengineering Proposals (IAGP) project, exploring public participation in the social appraisal of climate geoengineering interventions. Prior to Rob's PhD he was lead author of the UK’s first comprehensive Climate Adaptation Tool during his term as Climate Adaptation Officer at the Norfolk Climate Change Partnership. He also holds an undergraduate BSc (Hons) in Environmental Sciences from the University of York and a postgraduate MSc in Climate Change from the University of East Anglia.