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Exploring how legislatures source, define, and use evidence for environmental decision-making (ROSED2U18SF)

Project Description

Parliaments plays a vital role in scrutinising and shaping legislation, enabling elected representatives to hold the government of the day to account. Despite their importance, however, scholars investigating science-policy interactions rarely use legislatures as sites of study. A previous research project with the Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology investigated the use of evidence in the UK Parliament. Interesting themes have emerged about how evidence is sourced, defined, and used, but the UK-specific findings may not be applicable elsewhere. Insights will benefit the research community and science advisory structures, as well as allowing individual legislatures to reflect on their use of evidence.

Applications are particularly welcomed from those who wish to investigate the use of evidence to underpin environmental decision-making in legislatures. Case studies could involve the UK, but the supervisor is keen to extend the work. If you are interested in conducting a PhD project in other democratic legislatures globally, then please get in touch (if the parliament is non-English speaking, you will need language skills). Environmental science-policy scholars have also paid little attention to legislatures, instead favouring executives (e.g. Rose et al., 2016), so there is a need to understand how different legislatures source and use evidence to support environmental decision-making. The student will be trained in a variety of different methods, learn new skills, and build transferable skills by working closely with policy-makers.

Opportunities are also available for UK students, and others who are eligible for Research Council studentships, to apply for ESRC funding to work on similar topics in this area. Please see https://www.uea.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/research-degrees/doctoral-training-partnerships/senss-dtp-studentships for more information and contact David Rose if you are eligible.

For more information on the supervisor for this project, please go here: https://www.uea.ac.uk/environmental-sciences/people/profile/david-rose
Type of programme: PhD
Start date of project: October 2018
Mode of study: Full time

Acceptable first degree: Geography, Politics, Political Science, Environmental Science, History and Philosophy of Science, Science and Technology Studies.

Minimum entry requirement: 1st class degree (although a 2:1 from top universities considered).

Funding Notes

This PhD project is offered on a self-funding basis. It is open to applicants with funding or those applying to funding sources. Details of tuition fees can be found at View Website.

A bench fee is also payable on top of the tuition fee to cover specialist equipment or laboratory costs required for the research. The amount charged annually will vary considerably depending on the nature of the project and applicants should contact the primary supervisor for further information about the fee associated with the project.


i) KENNY, C., WASHBOURNE, C-L., TYLER, C., & BLACKSTOCK, J. 2017. Legislative science advice in Europe: the case for international comparative research, Palgrave Communications, 3, doi:10.1057/palcomms.2017.30
ii) OECD. 2015. Scientific Advice for Policy Making: The role and Responsibility of Scientists, OECD: Paris, France
iii) http://sheilajasanoff.org/research/civic-epistemologies/
iv) MILLER, C. H. 2008. Civic Epistemologies: Constituting Knowledge and Order in Political Communities, Sociology Compass 2 (6): 1896-1919
v) ROSE, D. C. BROTHERTON, P. N. M., OWENS, S., & PRYKE, T. 2016. Honest advocacy for nature: presenting a persuasive narrative for conservation, Biodiversity and Conservation, doi:10.1007/s10531-016-1163-1

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