A new way of bringing ‘farms’ and ‘systems’ together

by Jim Sumberg, Stephen Whitfield and Ken Giller How do we understand farms as systems, and farms as part of systems? The terms and definitions that researchers use affect how we see farming and agriculture in relation to ecology, society and politics. So is it time for a rethink? The words ‘farm’ (or ‘farming’) and…

Building pathways of pro-poor energy access

The misconception that developing countries can plump for either increasing access to energy, or low carbon development, but not both, is exploded in a paper presented by Dr Rob Byrne, STEPS Centre energy and climate change co-convenor, at the Poverty Reduction, Equity, and Growth Network’s (PEGNet) conference this week. Because conventional high carbon energy options…

Citizens and science in a greener China

As China and the UK seek to collaborate more closely in science and innovation, there are lessons they can share about how to govern and debate new technologies, write Adrian Ely and David Tyfield in the Guardian today. A visit to Bejing by UK Chancellor George Osborne and science minister David Willetts this week, bought…

Good & evil: two articles on closing down the debate on GM crops

Is it right to call opponents of GM crops ‘wicked’? In a recent interview, Owen Paterson denounced in starkly moralistic language people whom he sees as holding up progress on Golden Rice and other genetically modified foods. In a piece for the Guardian’s Political Science blog, Andy Stirling argues in defence of scepticism and democracy…

New articles: Access to Water in peri-urban India

A new article examining the increasing inequalities around water provision in Delhi by STEPS Centre partner Alankar is published this week. Socio-Spatial Situatedness and Access to Water (Economic & Political Weekly, October 12, 2013 vol xlviiI 54 no 41), looks at the social and political biases around large state-managed and institutionalised water provision in the city and the increasing gap…

Framing impact: a simple word for a complex beast

What is this thing called “impact”? More specifically, what are we talking about when we speak of the non-academic impact of research? In this post I want to explore some of the possible answers to this question, which I’ve been looking at as part of a forthcoming working paper on the ESRC STEPS Centre’s approach…

Getting serious on climate action: Why the science is never enough

By Tom Tanner. The release of the international climate panel’s fifth assessment report of climate science has reinforced the reality of the climate crisis. The science is unequivocal: the problem is real, serious and human-induced. At the same time, we remain on course to cross dangerous thresholds implied by temperature rises of more than 2…

IPCC climate report: research, resources and expertise

As the most comprehensive statement on climate science to date is published, we have gathered some of our key resources on the impact of climate change on poor and marginalised people in developing countries. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change summary for policymakers on the physical science of global warming is published today, with the full report to follow. The summary concludes that…

Post-2015 outcome document: inclusivity needed

By Julia Day “With less than 850 days remaining.” It’s a sobering thought. If we were talking about football, we’d be well in to extra time now. As it is, the figure relates to the amount of time remaining to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, quoted in a United Nations report published yesterday (Wednesday).

Engaging science and politics in a Post-2015 framework

A new STEPS Centre/IDS policy briefing examines how science and politics must be engaged in a post-2015 framework in order to tackle the interlinked environmental and social justice challenges which the world faces. It highlights the need for technical and social innovation alongside a new politics of innovation guided by the concepts of social and planetary boundaries and…