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.

  • Eu-SPRI Winter School on Innovation for Transformative Change

    Published on 20 October 2016

    A call for applications has been issued for a new Eu-SPRI Winter School on Innovation policy for Transformative Change.

    The Winter School takes place on 16-20 January 2017 at the University of Sussex.

    The course seeks to familiarise participants with state-of-the-art debates about the ‘transformative change’ frame of Science, Technology & Innovation (STI) policy and its associated practices. Through seminars and discussions, the school participants will explore its conceptual underpinnings and its connections and departures from conventional STI policy. Sessions will also discuss concrete examples of efforts to promote such transformations.


  • What does the future hold for Delhi’s urban farmers?

    Published on 14 October 2016

    A new digital story and photo book show the dilemmas facing urban farmers at the edge of Delhi and Ghaziabad in India.


    Surrounded on all sides by rapid urbanisation, industry and even new tourist attractions, the farmers find their access to land increasingly constrained. Their crops, and their health, are affected by rising pollution.


  • Learning from Nepal

    Published on 13 October 2016

    A new book Aid, Technology and Development: The Lessons from Nepal will be published by Routledge in November. It is co-edited by Dipak Gyawali, who has had long-term links with the STEPS Centre and is a member of the STEPS Advisory Committee (the other editors are Michael Thompson and Marco Verweij).

    From the description:

    Over the last 50 years, Nepal has been considered an experiential model in determining the effectiveness and success of global human development strategies, both in theory and in practice. As such, it provides a rich array of in-depth case studies in both development success and failure. This edited collection examines these in order to propose a novel perspective on how human development occurs and how it can be aided and sustained.

    Aid, Technology and Development: Lessons from Nepal champions plural rationality from both a theoretical and practical perspective in order to challenge and critique the status quo in human development understanding, whilst simultaneously presenting a concrete framework with which to aid citizen and governmental organisations in the galvanization of human development.

    Including contributions by leading international social scientists and development practitioners throughout Nepal, this book will be of great interest to students, scholars and practitioners working in the field of foreign aid and development studies.

    Order the book from Routledge

  • What can we learn from digital transformations?

    Published on 7 October 2016

    by Nathan Oxley and Adrian Smith

    circuit board lines

    With climate change, inequality, and injustice putting pressure on societies around the world, it often seems that incremental change towards sustainable development is not enough.

    A growing number and variety of alliances between organisations across civil society, business, politicians and states are calling for something more transformational. So are there lessons from other kinds of transitions and transformations – like those towards industrial revolution, women’s rights, democracy and other cultural changes? This is the question the STEPS Centre’s ‘Transformations’ event series sets out to ask.

    To help answer it, an event last week in Brighton asked what we can learn from the ‘digital revolution’ about how people and societies shape digital technology, and how it shapes them back.


  • The sugar rush in southern Africa

    Published on 6 October 2016

    In a new post on his Zimbabweland blog, STEPS director Ian Scoones discusses a new special issue looking at sugar in South Africa.

    “It is a good moment to review the political economy of sugar in southern Africa. This is what a new open access special issue of the Journal of Southern African Studies does. There are 9 papers, with case studies from 7 countries across the region, and a valuable comparative overview of patterns of accumulation in different operations.

    The issue argues that the region’s sugar industry provides a useful lens through which to understand current dynamics of corporate capital and agricultural production in Africa. The papers highlight the rapid concentration of corporate control over the past decade, but also the very diverse outcomes across the cases. Capital does not operate in a uniform way, and local contexts, resistances and struggles, and wider political economy make a big difference.”

    Read the full post (Zimbabweland blog)


  • 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…)