Research Fellow - RCUK Innovation Fellowship


The University of Surrey has been awarded a three year RCUK Innovation Fellowship by ESRC.  The Fellow to be appointed will develop, test, and apply an evaluation framework for the ex-post evaluation of Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) in food-energy-water-environment Nexus infrastructure domains. This will include specific projects with industry partners Anglian Water and the South Lincolnshire Water Partnership (SLWP). The Fellowship is associated with the Centre for the Evaluation of Complexity Across the Nexus (CECAN),

The Fellowship includes both a strong, independent research element and an extensive programme of training and skills development.  The Fellow will be mentored by members of the University of Surrey, Anglian Water and the Department for The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

CECAN International Symposium on Complexity Approaches to Evaluate Global Nexus Policy Challenges

International Symposium

This month CECAN proudly hosted an International Symposium on complexity approaches to evaluate global nexus policy challenges, at Barnett Hill Hotel in Surrey.

The event was part of the Economic Social Research Council (ESRC) Festival of Social Science.

Delegates, including representatives from the European Commission and UK Government, came together to share expertise and join the debate.

We were thrilled to connect with leaders and influencers in the evaluation community, from ten different countries;  Germany, USA, Switzerland, Australia, Senegal, Netherlands, South Africa, Belgium, Ireland and Italy.

Over the course of this two-day event topic areas included; The need for complexity sensitive evaluation, exploring complex thinking for sustainable futures, cutting edge evaluation methods and how to increase the uptake of them, and how to get government to deal with complexity.

CECAN Seminar: "Evaluating Sustainability – Is It Possible? A Case for Focusing on Evaluating Decision-Making for Sustainable Development."

Evaluating Sustainability

CECAN welcomed Dr Dorothy Lucks from Australia to give a seminar on "Evaluating Sustainability – Is It Possible? A Case for Focusing on Evaluating Decision-Making for Sustainable Development."

The complexity of sustainability is immense, yet many policies and plans now have sustainability as an aim. While it is difficult to empirically  evaluate sustainability outcomes, it is possible to evaluate the process of decision-making to identify if decision-making is becoming more informed and working towards balancing social, economic and environmental priorities. Dorothy gave examples from doctoral research of two case studies, one in Australia, one in the Philippines on decision-making processes.

If you missed the seminar you can now view it along with slides online;


Energy Security Policy Evaluation Workshop at BEIS

BEIS energy security workshop

We were delighted to run a successful policy evaluation workshop last week with policy teams and analysts working on energy security and the wider energy ‘trilemma’ (decarbonisation, prices, and security), at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

The workshop, led by Dr Pete Barbrook-Johnson (PSI), Dr Alex Penn (Surrey) and Anna Kaxira (PSI), utilised a participatory causal systems mapping approach to share and build knowledge around BEIS’s policies in this area. We will now be analysing the data collected during the workshop, before presenting back to BEIS in future workshops and reports. The findings will help inform BEIS’s evaluation priorities in the coming months and years.

Dynamic Pattern Synthesis Summer School


September saw a successful collaboration between CECAN and Brighton University, who hosted a Dynamic Pattern Synthesis (DPS) summer school.

CECAN sponsored several places to researchers and Government analysts, and those who attended had between 1 – 8 years’ experience.

The results of the summer school survey indicate there is much interest in DPS as a tool and those who attended are eager to receive more information and pursue the method further.

It was unanimously agreed that DPS can easily be combined with mixed methods that include qualitative research and that DPS can improve research that evaluates policy and practice.

With thanks to Professor Phil Haynes for putting the summer school together. We look forward to working on another collaboration again soon.