Policy & Politics

Perspectives span social theory, socio-legal studies, politics, Science and Technology Studies (STS) and international relations. Key research areas include water regulation, flood risk, transboundary water, the water-food-energy nexus, and public knowledge and controversies about water.

Some current projects

Managing the risks, impacts and uncertainties of droughts and water scarcity (MaRIUS)

This multi-disciplinary research project will provide new evidence to minimise and manage the harmful impacts of droughts in the UK. Social scientists are analysing how the impacts and risks of droughts and water scarcity are currently understood and managed by key stakeholders, and how this is shaped by institutions, regulation and markets. Through analysis of governance and institutional contexts and the social construction of droughts, MaRIUS will provide the basis for more equitable management of the inevitable trade-offs amongst those dependent upon scarce water resources.

Re-conceptualising farmers’ water rights through stewardship: a comparative pilot study

This research project examined how farmers’ private legal rights of access to and use of water are changing in the light of greater emphasis upon their stewardship obligations by both regulators and citizens. Farmers’ legal obligations towards water use are placed into an Anglo-Australian comparative perspective.

Understanding Environmental Knowledge Controversies

This interdisciplinary project brought together social scientists, hydrological modellers and communities to address the public controversies generated by the risk management strategies and forecasting technologies associated with flooding in the UK. A new approach to public engagement was trialled, with scientists and non-scientists working together to share perspectives on flooding and the role of science in addressing the problem. The project won the RELU prize for the ‘best example of interdisciplinary methodology and scientific innovation’.


  • Barnaby Dye
  • Dr Anna Lora-Wainwright
  • Dr Dustin Garrick
  • Jade Leung
  • Dr Paola Ballon
  • Kevin Grecksch
  • Valentin Jeutner
  • Dr Michael Gilmont
  • Dr Christina Cook
  • Dr Catharina Landström
  • Julián López-Murcia
  • Michael J Rouse CBE
  • Professor Sarah Whatmore
  • Dr Bettina Lange
  • Professor David Grey
  • Dr Christine McCulloch
  • Dr Rene Bañares-Alcántara
  • Dr Harry Verhoeven