School of Earth and Environment

Dr Geoff Whitman

Visiting Researcher

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Affiliation: Sustainability Research Institute


Geoff is an environmental social scientist who has a background in Biological sciences, Human geography and Science and Technology Studies. His research interests focus on the relationship between science and society; knowledge and expertise; experimental methodologies and the philosophy and practice of co-production. He has recently taken up an ICAD (Advancing knowledge systems in climate adaptation decisions) Research Fellowship on a EU-funded project, working alongside Professor Suraje Dessai, at the School of Earth and Environment at the University of Leeds.


PhD Human Geography and Science and Technology Studies,University of Newcastle (ESRC funded)

MSc (Merit) Rural Resource & Countryside Management, University of Newcastle

BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences (2:1), University of Edinburgh

Research Interests

Geoff's research interests revolve around two inter-related themes: Firstly, he has been involved in the use of innovative and experimental methods of public participation and engagement to address environmental issues such as flooding and diffuse pollution. Secondly,his research is concerned with how environmental problems can be approached differently through a re-think of how knowledge and expertise are framed and used in such issues. Taken together this research critically engages with current debates about public participation in public policy and how scientific and lay knowledges can work together in complex environmental problems to co-produce solutions.

As part of the ICAD project Geoff will be exploring what the knowledge needs of organisations are with regard to adaptation to climate change in the UK. It proposes to do this through the following aims and objectives: (1) Understand different adaptation contexts and capacities; (2) Understand how observed or projected climate information has been used in organisations and decision-making; (3) Understand the importance of non-climatic information for decision-making; (4) Understand what level of uncertainty users are able to tolerate for different kinds of scientific knowledge used in decision-making and (5) Understand what users expect science to deliver. RD1 has a particular focus on the multi-decadal planning horizon (i.e. beyond 30 years). However, it will also recognize that for some decision-makers, shorter planning scales (i.e. less than 30 years) are of more interest and will engage with this.


Bracken, L.B., Bulkeley, H., and Whitman, G.P. (2012). Stakeholder Perspectives on being part of Transdisciplinary research (In preparation)

Whitman, G.P. and Pain, R. (2012). Bridging the gap: The spaces and boundaries of participation across science and social science (In preparation).

Whitman G. P. And Pain, R. (2012) Going with the flow: Using PAR in river catchment management (In preparation)

Pain, R. And Whitman G. P. (2012) ‘It was a bit meandering but so what’: Emotions, science and PAR (In preparation)

Whitman, G.P. (2011) Ecology multiple: Relational and transgressive expertise amongst a group of British applied ecologists. Paper submitted to Environment and Planning A. (In review)

Lowe, P.D., Whitman, G.P., and Phillipson, J. (2008) Ecology and the Social Sciences. Journal of Applied Ecology, Vol 46 (2), pp. 297-305

Shieto, S., Kashiwagi, M. and Whitman, G.P. Agricultural Policy Reform and Less-Favoured Areas Policy: Application of EU Policy to Japan (2007). Centre for Rural Economy discussion paper DP15