About Adrian Ely

Reader in Technology & Sustainability and Director of Training, Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU)

Adrian's areas of interest include environmental impacts of GM crops, frameworks for biotechnology regulation, risk and uncertainty in policy-making around new technologies and innovation for sustainable development.

All posts by Adrian

Union flag made of farm produce

Genome editing in post-Brexit agriculture: Which way for the UK?

Angela Noland, Dominic Glover and Adrian Ely In less than a month’s time, the UK’s relationship with the European Union will change dramatically. Agriculture and food will be among the biggest areas affected – from production methods and supply routes to labelling and product standards. A lot will depend on the outcomes of trade negotiations….


Food in the time of Covid-19: how can local action and national coordination work together?

As we approach the end of week 7 of the UK government’s Covid-19 social distancing measures, we have been witnessing a combination of remarkable efforts to sustain the country through this challenging time.  Workers from the National Health Service (supplemented by volunteer responders) and other ‘key workers’ are applauded across the country on a weekly…

helicopter flying with high mountains in background

The 2020 Davos Manifesto: A Manifesto for the Past, Rather than the Future

Out of the networking orgy that is the World Economic Forum (WEF) has emerged the Davos Manifesto 2020: ‘The Universal Purpose of a Company in the Fourth Industrial Revolution’.  Unfortunately, the document is likely to fall short in its objective to improve the state of the world, writes Adrian Ely. It’s the 49th anniversary of…

Lightbulbs of different shapes and sizes

Doing digital differently: four innovation lessons from the grassroots

by Adrian Smith, Adrian Ely and Phil Jones When Knowle West residents met with artists Paul Hurley and Caleb Parking in 2016, they had little idea they were at the vanguard of grassroots innovation and doing ‘digital’ differently. The meeting was at Knowle West Media Centre (KWMC), a community-based space in Bristol that uses arts…

group discussion

Endings and beginnings: project-based work within wider transformations

by Adrian Ely and Elise Wach Since 2016 we have been involved in a small-scale project, as part of the broader ‘Pathways Network’, that has explored how to move towards more sustainable agri-food systems in Brighton and Hove.  The project’s focus has been evolving on the basis of changing circumstances, knowledge and ideas – a…

1970s illustration of two heads facing each other with cut out section showing cogs

How do we ‘co-produce’ transformative knowledge?

by Andy Stirling, Adrian Ely and Fiona Marshall This is one in a series of four blog posts exploring ideas and case studies on ‘transformations’, drawing on research carried out in 2017 and looking forward to the STEPS Centre’s work in 2018. For background and links to the other posts, read the introduction. There is…

Tomato seeds growing

Seeding ideas: knowledge brokering and recombination for agricultural transformations

by Adrian Ely, Paddy Van Zwanenberg, Elise Wach, Martin Obaya and Almendra Cremaschi Straight after the ‘Transformations 2017’ conference, the ‘Pathways’ network gathered at the mid-point in our three year project to take stock. This included discussions in ‘pairs’ of hubs, including reflecting on our ‘theories of change’. In our case, the UK and Argentina…

Training group in Lomerio

Research, convening and bridging: sharing insights from the ISSC’s Transformative Knowledge Networks

by Adrian Ely (co-lead, ‘Pathways’ Network), with contributions from Joanes Atela, Mirna Inturias, Dylan McGarry, Iokiñe Rodríguez & Patrick Van Zwanenberg Working with the World Social Science Council’s ‘Transformations to Sustainability’ programme brings the privilege of engaging with an incredible range of scholars and practitioners from across the globe. The programme’s three transformative knowledge networks…