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John Forrester

SEI Affiliated Researcher

John Forrester

John worked with SEI at York from 1997–2019 where was involved in multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary science communication for sustainable development, transport planning in Europe, upland ecology in the UK, flood risk management in Europe. coastal ecosystems in Bangladesh and Kenya, and community resilience across Europe. Prior to working at SEI he worked as a researcher at the University of Ulster, the Queen’s University of Belfast and the University of York. John has also taught for the Open University on their MSc.

John is a social anthropologist who is interested in using maps and models of all kinds to explore complex relationships behind stakeholders’ understanding of and engagement with environmental issues. One use of this work is that it allows the ‘structured subjectivities’ of such knowledge to feed into both scientific and policy knowledge co-creation processes more directly and transparently. John’s research with SEI was funded mainly by the European Commission, the UK research councils and SEI’s own internal funding streams. He is an author and co-author of over 30 peer-reviewed publications and over 50 other publications.

Current research

John is Co-Investigator on the ERLI (Equitable Resilience in Local Institutions) project.

John is also involved in the iPTD (Integrated Participatory Technology Development) project.

He has been PI and/or project manager on projects in the ESRC’s Science in Society programme and the EPSRC’s Sustainable Urban Environment programme. He has been Co-I on two Rural Economy & Land Use (RELU) programme projects and Co-I/Project Manager on an Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation (ESPA) programme project. John has also led work on internal SEI projects on Policy Impact, and Stakeholder Engagement. He has most recently been Co-I on a European Commission FP7 project researching community resilience in the face of climate change-influenced natural disasters using social network mapping and participatory agent-based modelling.

He is author/joint-author of over 20 peer-reviewed publications and more than 70 other papers, articles, chapters and reports.

Work experience before SEI

Before working for SEI, John worked as a Researcher Fellow at the Sociology Department, University of Ulster; Department of Sociology and Social Policy, The Queen’s University of Belfast and School of Health Care Studies, University of Leeds and as an Associate Lecturer at the Centre for Science Education, The Open University.


John holds a PhD in Social Anthropology (on tourism development and cultural change) from the Queen’s University of Belfast, 1996; a MA in Qualitative Research Methods from the University of York, 1998 and a Hons BA from Queen’s Belfast in Social Anthropology with History & Philosophy of Science, 1989. He also holds a HNC in Electronic Engineering, from the Limerick School of Engineering, 1981.

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