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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

Administrative Posts

  • Director of Postgraduate Research, School of Political, Social and International Studies


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 and Expertise

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.