I study the politics that emerge when attempts are made to govern environmental problems using the tools and methods of public policy. I have examined how these different forms of politics have played out in relation to different aspects of governing including the use of new policy instruments, policy coordination across sectors, policy innovation and policy dismantling. I undertake comparative work on these topics in substantive policy areas such as climate change and sustainable development. I am particularly interested in governing processes that occur in the European Union, its Member States and third countries outside of Europe.

I have published many papers and books on these themes, including The Tools of Policy Formulation (Edward Elgar, 2015, with John Turnpenny) and Durable by Design? (CUP, 2020, with Brendan Moore). Between 2014 and 2018 I was the Chair of COST Action IS1309 (Innovations in Climate Governance -INOGOV, 2014-8), a 28 country network of excellence.

In the past, I have taken on leadership roles in many large national and EU-funded projects, and produced work for a number of knowledge users including the OECD, the UK Cabinet Office, the UK environment ministry (DEFRA), UK Foresight, the European Commission, the Dutch Environment Ministry, WWF and the RSPB.  In 2015-16 I served as a specialist advisor to the UK Parliamentary environmental audit committee for its inquiry on the EU referendum. In 2016-20, I served on the Scientific Committee of the European Environment Agency. 

I currently sit on DEFRA's Science Advisory Council: Social Science Expert Group (2018- ) and the editorial boards of three international academic journals - West European Politics, Policy Sciences and Environmental Politics.

In 2008 I was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences (FAcSS) and in 2017 I was identified as a Web of Science Highly Cited Researcher, one of only 180 social scientists in the world.

I am currently working on three main things:

  • Climate Change Policy and Politics post Paris: in 2021 I commenced a large, five year ERC funded project 'DeepDCarb' - Deep Decarbonisation: the Democratic Challenge of Navigating Governance Traps.
  • EU Environment and Climate Policy - in 2021 Viviane Gravey and I will publish the 4th edition of Environmental Policy in the EU (Taylor and Francis).
  • Brexit and the Environment - I co-lead an award winning ESRC funded academic network which seeks to understand what challenges and opportunities Brexit raises for environmental policy. 



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Academic Background

Visiting Professorships

Australian National University (2005-6); University of Queensland, Brisbane (2012)

Prizes and Awards

Philip Leverhulme Prize fellowship (2003-6)

Contemporary European Studies Association, annual best book prize (2007)

Harold D. Lasswell Prize for the best ariticle in Policy Sciences (2011)

Lloyds Science of Risk prize for Climate Change research (2012)

Insight of the Year - 2017 ENDS Environmental Impact Awards (for work on the EU Referendum)

Web of Science, Highly Cited Researcher – ranking in the top 1% by citations for field and publication year – one of only 180 social scientists in the world (2017).

ERC Advanced Grant (DeepDCarb) (2021-2026)


Fellowships etc

Philip Leverhulme Prize fellowship (2003-6)
Leverhulme Trust Major Research Fellowship (2010-3)
Member of the UK Green Alliance (1999-)
Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences (FAcSS) (2008-)

Fellow of the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (FIEMA) (2018-)


PhD Positions

I warmly welcome email enquiries from potential PhD students.

I am particularly keen to recruit people to work on the politics and policy of climate change, but will seriously consider applicants wanting to work on one of my other areas of interest.  I will help you secure funding from the ESRC (UEA is a partner in the SeNSS DTP) and/or help with applications for external funding - recent PhD students have been funded by Commonwealth University fellowships, the Ford Foundation and studentships from their home countries.

My former PhD students are now forging their own independent careers inter alia at:

  • University of Exeter (David Benson, Duncan Russel)
  • University of Pretoria (Camilla Adelle)
  • Queens University, Belfast (Viviane Gravey)
  • University of Darmstadt (Jonas Schoenefeld)
  • Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) (Juliette Young)
  • University of Sussex (Michelle Twena)
  • UK local government (Kate Urwin)


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