Farming in the UK: can we nourish ourselves from this land?

The recent dispute over food prices between the UK’s largest supermarket chain, Tesco, and the UK’s biggest food and grocery manufacturer, Unilever shines a light on a deeper problem in the global food system: our reliance on food that is grown elsewhere. This is compounded by a drive for healthy eating in the UK which…

Science, Brexit and ‘post-truth’ politics

STEPS co-director Andy Stirling is one of six researchers writing in the Guardian on ‘science after Brexit’. A longer version of his part of the Guardian article is below. The current woes of British democracy are grim and momentous. This is no time for gratuitous piggy-backing of other issues. The early indications of ‘Brexit’ specifically…

Brexit and development

As Britain faces the prospect of leaving the European Union, here’s a couple of blog posts on what the referendum result might mean for the UK’s role in international development. Ian Scoones on Brexit and Africa: Why Britain’s Decision to leave the EU is bad news for Africa  “The decision will fundamentally affect the continent’s…

Learning from the past about rapid transition

What can history teach us for the task of rapid transition in the face of climate change and corrosive inequality? Historian Molly Conisbee, a speaker at this week’s Transformations events at the Hay Festival, has written about how communities adapted during Britain’s dramatic urban growth and upheaval in the 18th and 19th centuries. In a…

Research collaboration for global challenges: why it’s really hard

On 17-18 March at London Zoo was the final conference of a project I have been involved in over the past four years on zoonoses, ecosystems and wellbeing in Africa. The conference highlighted the idea of ‘One Health’, a movement aimed at linking human, livestock and ecosystem health. The focus was on how to make…

‘This hope is real’: how COP21 frames the future

Who would have bet any meaningful amount of money, a month ago, that most of the world would sign up to 1.5 degrees at COP21? Of course there were celebrations on Saturday when Laurent Fabius banged his little green gavel down to mark the agreement. Most of those in the room had toiled for long…

What lies behind the UK’s strange policy on nuclear power?

The UK chancellor George Osborne has recently made further commitments to support massive new investment in nuclear infrastructure, including the much-criticised Hinkley C power station. Why is the UK determined to press ahead, in the face of much criticism? SPRU researcher Philip Johnstone and STEPS co-director Andy Stirling have written a new article for The…

Why Germany is dumping nuclear power – and Britain isn’t

by Philip Johnstone and Andy Stirling The starkly differing nuclear policies of Germany and the UK present perhaps the clearest divergence in developed world energy strategies. Under the current major Energy Transition (Energiewende), Germany is seeking to entirely phase out nuclear power by 2022. Yet the UK has for many years advocated a “nuclear renaissance”,…

Submerged origins of UK nuclear lock-in?

By Andy Stirling, STEPS Co-Director and Phil Johnstone, Research Fellow at SPRU – Science Policy Research Unit Many legitimately contrasting views are possible on the pros and cons of nuclear power. But when seen in a global context, successive UK Governments are quite striking in their tendencies to adopt partisan positions. Growing evidence is persistently…

Restart Podcast: Adrian Smith on grassroots innovation

The London-based Restart project, which promotes community repair for electronics, interviewed STEPS researcher Adrian Smith for their latest podcast, ‘Searching for the roots of grassroots innovation’. In it, Adrian discusses our historical and comparative project on ‘grassroots innovation’, including the Lucas Plan, the origins of 1980s tech networks in London, and the wider context of community…