Nathan Oxley

Nathan Oxley

Communications and Impact Manager

Nathan contributes to the impact, communications and engagement work of the STEPS Centre. He is also a web editor for the Future Agricultures Consortium. He has worked for a specialist communications agency on sustainable development, and as a web editor for a national charity in the UK.

  • Foresight and international development

    Published on 27 September 2016

    A new IDS Bulletin, edited by Gioel Gioacchino and Jim Sumberg, explores the pros and cons of various ‘foresight’ approaches and methods, and their implications for development.

    Foresight methods help individuals and groups to think about and prepare for different possible futures, but are not widely used in the development sector.

    STEPS members who contributed to the Bulletin include Jim Sumberg and Dominic Glover. The IDS Bulletin is open access so articles can be read or downloaded free of charge. It is the flagship publication of the Institute of Development Studies (IDS).

    About the Bulletin: Why don’t we use ‘foresight’ to prepare for the future? (IDS website)

    Go straight to the articles: Foresight in international development (IDS Bulletin vol 47 issue 4)

  • Hinkley C: why is the UK building a new nuclear power plant?

    Published on 15 September 2016

    Hinkley C power station - artist's impression

    Today the UK government approved Britain’s first new nuclear power plant in 20 years at Hinkley Point C.

    Many of the reactions to the decision have been critical for a number of reasons, including cost, the role of foreign investment and the way that the decision has been made. STEPS co-director Andy Stirling is quoted in a Sussex University news story, suggesting that renewables offer a better prospect for investment.


  • Empowering chickens?

    Published on 6 September 2016

    In his latest Zimbabweland blog, STEPS director Ian Scoones looks at the latest scheme from Bill Gates to distribute chickens to help poor rural women.


  • Six grassroots innovation movements, and why they matter

    Published on 5 September 2016


    Innovation is increasingly said to be vital for responding to global challenges like sustainable development. Often overlooked, however, is the fact that networks of community groups, activists and researchers have been innovating grassroots solutions for social justice and environmental sustainability for decades.

    A new STEPS book, Grassroots Innovation Movements (Routledge, 2016) examines six such movements from India, South America and Europe. It will be launched with a special Dialogue Session on Wednesday 7 September at the SPRU 50th anniversary conference, featuring contributions from Adrian Smith, Judith Sutz, Amber Meikle, Elisa Arond, Dinesh Abrol and Mariano Fressoli.

    Download the Accepted Manuscript of chapter 1 (pdf, Open Access)

    Six stories of innovation

    Find out about some of the stories explored in Grassroots Innovation Movements below, with links to further reading on each one.


  • Transforming Innovation: STEPS members at the SPRU50 conference

    Published on 4 September 2016

    SPRU 50 badgeAs part of its 50th anniversary in 2016, the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) is hosting a major conference from 7-9 September 2016 at the University of Sussex. The theme is ‘Transforming Innovation’.

    SPRU is one of the two institutional hosts of STEPS (the other is the Institute of Development Studies), and the conference features a number of contributions from STEPS Centre members.  Our Global Consortium hubs are also sending researchers to take part in the event. (more…)

  • Does nuclear power help tackle climate change?

    Published on 2 September 2016


    A new paper in the journal Climate Policy, co-authored by STEPS co-director Andy Stirling, suggests that, among European countries, strong national commitment to nuclear energy goes hand in hand with weak performance on climate change targets.

    The paper shows that the most progress towards reducing carbon emissions and increasing renewable energy sources – as set out in the EU’s 2020 Strategy – has been made by nations without nuclear energy or with plans to reduce it.  (more…)

  • Debating Open Data and Land Governance – 6-20 September

    Published on 1 September 2016

    From 6-20 September, 2016, the Land Portal Foundation and the Cadasta Foundation will be jointly holding a debate on Open Data and Land Governance: Increased accountability and transparency as a means to overcoming poverty?


  • STEPS at the Royal Geographical Society conference

    Published on 30 August 2016

    STEPS co-director Andy Stirling is the keynote speaker at the Royal Geographical Society annual conference this week. This year’s conference focuses on ‘nexus thinking’. His talk, Meeting Nexus Challenges: from policy connections to political transformations, is on Tuesday 30 August at 18.30.

    Here’s the abstract:

    The advent of ‘nexus thinking’ in current global change research and policy, has drawn welcome attention to many neglected connectivities. From familiar and trivial, to unfamiliar and profound, these span: between sectors; across scales; joining jurisdictions; mingling human, biological and physical; and linking framings of knowledge with directions for action. Perhaps the most important, are those between existing configurations of power, privilege and incumbency and ways in which understandings, imaginations and aspirations are shaped concerning what is reasonable or possible. Based on efforts in the ESRC’s Nexus Network, this talk will explore some deeper connotations – and practical implications for research and action.

    Other speakers from STEPS include Saurabh Arora, who’s talking (with Ralitsa Hiteva) about Participation as engagement between practices at the urban nexus on the Wednesday at 16.50. The same day at 11.10, a session on low carbon transitions features a paper on ‘low carbon energy transformation as under the radar political struggle’ by David Ockwell, Rob Byrne, Adrian Ely, Sam Geall, Peter Newell, Wei Shen and Andy Stirling.

    STEPS and the Nexus

    The STEPS Centre is a lead partner in The Nexus Network, an ESRC-funded initiative which brings together researchers, policy makers, business leaders and civil society to improve decision making on food, energy, water and the environment.

    Read a selection of our resources on the nexus

  • Digital fabrication. Whose industrial revolution?

    Published on 17 August 2016

    As the Society for Social Studies of Science & EASST build up to their annual meeting in Barcelona next month, the 4S blog is featuring preview pieces by participants. One is by Johan Söderberg, Maxigas, and Adrian Smith, with a taste of their paper about democratizing the tools of scientific-technical expertise. 

    The last wave of making, makerspaces and open hardware production have been hailed as a new industrial revolution, promising a democratization of the means of production and to set straight all the wrongs of the previous industrial revolutions.

    How many times before have we not heard that tune being sung to us? It is familiar to anyone that has been following information technology discourses for a few years, so familiar, in fact, that even the critiques against it are getting tedious.

    Time to start afresh and ask new questions about the hype surrounding making: in what ways are the maker scene constituted by hype, why do we so badly want to be deceived by it, and what potentialities for emancipation lay hidden in this latest wave of talked-up products, not in spite of the hype, but because of it?

    Read the full post on the 4S Backchannels blog.

    More on making & innovation

    Adrian Smith is one of the authors of the new book Grassroots Innovation Movements, which is now available to order from Routledge. We’ll also be discussing digital fabrication at an event at the Brighton Digital Festival on 28 September.

  • Landmarks: how to get up close and personal with nature

    Published on 21 July 2016

    I’ve just finished reading Landmarks by Robert Macfarlane, and it’s a must-read for anyone interested in sustainability and language. Each chapter focuses on one or two authors who’ve made deep impressions on Macfarlane through their writing about the natural world – including Nan Shepherd’s deep explorations of the Cairngorms, Roger Deakin’s explorations of wild swimming, and JA Baker’s obsessive documenting of the life of peregrines.

    Underlying all this is a search for the language and words that can evoke specific places and features of nature. Scattered across the book are rare lexical gems, lists of unusual and particular words for natural phenomena.