Personal profile

Academic Background

  • 1998 - 2000: MA Social Policy, School of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Nottingham
  • 1994 - 1997: PhD Environmental Physics, School of Biological Sciences, University of Nottingham
  • 1991 - 1994: BSc (Hons) in Meteorology, with subsidiary Physics and Applied Maths, University of Reading


John’s research focuses, broadly, on the relationship between evidence and public policy-making, and more specifically on policy analysis tools, construction and deployment of scientific evidence, post-normal science, and the boundary work of different policy actors.  He takes a multi-disciplinary approach to studying the politics of policy-making, and is particularly interested in environment, sustainable development and climate change-related policy.


  • 2012 to date: Senior Lecturer in Public Policy and Public Management, School of Political, Social & International Studies, University of East Anglia
  • 2000 – 2012: Senior Research Associate, Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research/ Science, Society and Sustainability Research Group, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia
  • 1998 - 1999: Research Associate, School of the Built Environment, University of Nottingham

Key Research Interests

Policy appraisal; use of knowledge in policymaking; use of sustainability impact assessment tools; climate change and society; scenario creation and futures communication; post-normal science and policy; the politics of ‘valuing nature’; knowledge brokerage; use of analytical tools in policy venues

Current and recent research projects include:

  • Analysis of the barriers and enablers to embedding consideration of ecosystem services in policy-making [UK National Ecosystem Assessment follow-on phase, 2012-13; BRIDGE (Bridging the gap between supply and demand for valuation evidence) NERC project, 2011-12]
  • See a short briefing note based on this research: 'Embedding the value of the natural environment in decision-making- overcoming barriers and encouraging enablers', co-authored with Duncan Russel (University of Exeter), Kerry Waylen and Kirsty Blackstock (James Hutton Institute)
  • Analysis of policy appraisal systems in different use contexts; the role of analytical tools in policy formulation venues; the politics of knowledge brokerage in practice [Linking Impact Assessment Instruments to Sustainability Expertise (LIAISE) FP7 project, 2009-14]
  • Investigating how the UK House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee shapes the boundaries between evidence and policy, and within government itself [Nuffield Foundation Social Science Small Grant, 2009-10]
  • Exploring historical patterns of policy dismantling to investigate how conflicts and trade-offs between economic, social and environmental objectives are addressed [CONSENSUS FP& project, 2008-11]
  • Analysing use of policy assessment tools in day-to-day policymaking; identifying capacities and constraints on the selection and use of such tools [MATISSE (Methods and Tools for Integrated Sustainability Assessment) FP6 project, 2005-2008]


Teaching Interests

John teaches public policy and public management generally, with a particular interest in environment and sustainable development policy, and the use of science and analysis in policy formulation.  

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 13 - Climate Action