Nathan Oxley

Nathan Oxley

Impact, Communications and Engagement Officer

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.

  • Storify: The Politics of Green Transformations book launch

    Published on 25 February 2015


    We’ve captured some of the lively debate at the Politics of Green Transformations book launch in the Storify below, featuring tweets, images & links to further commentary on the book.

  • Live video stream: ‘India’s Risks’ book launch

    Published on 19 February 2015

    You can watch a live video stream of the launch of the book ‘India’s Risks: Democratizing the Management of Threats to Environment, Health and Values’. The video starts at 6.30pm India time (GMT + 5.30).

    The launch will feature contributions from Professor M V Rajeev Gowda, Honorable Member of Parliament and Prof Ian Scoones, STEPS Centre Director, and is being held at the British Council in Delhi.

    Live streamed video coverage is below:


  • Is it time to refocus the Water-Energy-Food nexus?

    Published on 9 February 2015

    Protest by citizens affected by a large scale dam project

    The water-energy-food nexus is the ‘new kid on the block’ in development thinking since 2008, and is a key concept within the UN post-2015 development agenda. The current framing of the nexus, however, needs to refocus onto the big issues of inequality and local access rights to resources, according to a new Special Issue of Water Alternatives.

    In the Special Issue, leading researchers propose a new framing of the nexus which puts the question of control and access to resources at its heart. The issue is edited by members of the STEPS project on dams, securitization, risks and the nexus.


  • Adrian Smith interviewed on Spanish radio about innovation, technology & society

    Published on 5 February 2015

    Adrian Smith, convenor of our Grassroots Innovation research, was recently interviewed on Spanish radio about the role that technology plays in social relations.

    In the interview, for the Spanish station Radio 3, Adrian discussed different types of basic innovations, such as those taking place in agroecology and eco-construction, and how they form part of a broader vision that might lead to significant changes to achieve a more sustainable economy.

    To listen to the interview (in Spanish), visit the itdUPM website or download the MP3 file directly (5 minutes, 4.2MB).

    Find out more

    See the project Grassroots innovation: historical and comparative perspectives for more on this topic.


  • Anne Glover speaks out on scientific advice in Brussels

    Published on

    Prof Anne Glover, former Chief Scientific Adviser to the President of the European Commission, has written a revealing article on the Guardian’s ‘Political Science’ blog about her three years in the post. The article reveals her successes, as well as some of the difficulties and suspicions she faced in a new post within the large and complex Commission. The CSA post has not been renewed by the new President, although the motivations for this are unclear.

    Back in 2013, Prof Glover gave a public lecture as part of our symposium on scientific advice, expertise and politics.

    You can watch a video of her lecture “What is the right balance between respecting evidence and living in the real world?” below:

    If you can’t see the embedded video, here’s the YouTube link.

  • Call for contributions: Contested Agronomy 2016

    Published on

    A call for contributions has been issued for the conference “Contested Agronomy: Cases, Dynamics & Implications” in February 2016.

    Contested Agronomy 2016 is a conference about the battlefields in agricultural research, past and present.

    The organisers are inviting abstracts (from individuals), proposals for panels (up to four people + chair), and expressions of interest in attending from non-presenters. The deadline is 30 April 2015.

    Application is by online form on the conference website.

    Date and venue

    23 – 25 February 2016
    Institute of Development Studies
    University of Sussex, UK
    Fee: £150 (a limited number of grants are available for participants based in developing countries)


    The book Contested Agronomy: Agricultural Research in a Changing World, published in 2012, outlined a new ‘political agronomy’ approach.

    Political agronomy studies the relationships and processes which link political, economic and social forces and factors to the creation and use of agronomic knowledge and technology. It differs from other (apolitical) studies of scientific and technical change in agriculture by examining asymmetric power relations, contestation and struggle.

    In our call for contributions, we are particularly looking for case studies of historical or present day significance to the developing world. These might address contestations beyond the traditional bounds of agronomy – around environmental, socio-economic, political and systemic issues.

    Read the call for contributions to find out more.

    This event is supported by the STEPS Centre, and co-hosted by the Institute of Development Studies, Plant Production Systems Group, Wageningen University, International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) and the Future Agricultures Consortium.

  • Climate innovation systems: new STEPS working paper

    Published on 27 January 2015

    A new STEPS working paper discusses the academic evidence for a promising idea for supporting climate change technology in developing countries.

    The paper, CRIBs (Climate Relevant Innovation-system Builders): An effective way forward for international climate technology policy by David Ockwell and Rob Byrne follows a shorter policy-focused paper and summary briefing on the same subject published in December 2014.

    The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) aims to help developing countries address climate change challenges by supporting the transfer and development of climate technologies (technologies for climate change mitigation and adaptation), but the current ‘hardware financing’ model is failing to deliver. The authors of the new paper argue for more efforts in supporting ‘technological capabilities’ and ‘systems of innovation’, and suggest how this might work in practice.

    Read the paper: STEPS Working Paper 77


  • Warning tape and turning points: how we talk about planetary boundaries

    Published on 23 January 2015


    Last week, updated research on ‘planetary boundaries’ was published, with new analysis of what humanity is doing to various natural processes and the risks we face as a species.

    Reading the paper, I was struck by the prominence, alongside the various statistics and methodology, of something quite different: the authors spend some effort to define what boundaries are (and are not), their origins, why they are called boundaries, and how they might inform people’s responses to environmental threats.

    What’s striking about the word ‘boundary’ is how much work it does.


  • Soil and politics

    Published on 7 January 2015


    What do you think of when you think about soil? There are radically different ways to answer the question. For some scientists, it’s a subject of investigation – what do soils need to grow which types of plants the best? How can they be managed, improved or damaged? For archaeologists or paleontologists, digging into the soil can reveal human histories and ancient remnants of life. For farmers, it’s something to be nurtured, fed and looked after as much as any plant or animal – and spoiling or losing it can mean ruin. The UN International Year of Soils is focusing attention on it in 2015, pointing to the multiple roles of soils and looking at soil management and protection.

    Soil isn’t just stuff. In language it is connected to other fundamental things. In many European languages, soil, earth (and the planet Earth) share a common root. In a solar system populated by Jupiter, Mars and other Roman Gods, our home has an emphatically humble name.


  • STEPS America Latina launches new website

    Published on 29 November 2014

    The Centro STEPS America Latina – the new Latin American regional hub for our Global Pathways to Sustainability Consortium  – has unveiled its own dedicated website.

    The new website is now live at


    The Centro STEPS website is run by a team at the Centro de Investigaciones para la Transformación (CENIT) in Buenos Aires, Argentina, who have been working with the STEPS Centre since 2008 on issues linking science, technology and innovation with environmental sustainability and social justice.

    The new website showcases the Latin American hub’s research, policy engagement and other activities in the region, featuring publications, multimedia outputs, events and a blog. Research areas highlights include ‘innovation movements’, ‘productive transformations’, ‘power & knowledge’, and ‘knowledge networks’.

    At the moment, the website is available only in Spanish, but English-language content will be added soon. (more…)