Dr Candice Howarth

Senior Research Fellow

Phone: Work: 01483 68 6981
Room no: 24 AD 03

Further information


Dr Candice Howarth is a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Surrey and Knowledge Integrator for the Centre for the Evaluation of Complexity Across the Nexus (CECAN).

Her research focuses on science communication, the science-policy interface and nexus-related decision making.

She has extensive expertise in designing and implementing innovative methods for collecting and analysing qualitative and quantitative data. Her PhD explored the role of climate messaging in overcoming perceived barriers to behaviour change and she has led research on a number of projects on science communication, co-production, practitioner evidence and the IPCC process, and nexus shocks.

Research Interests

Dr Candice Howarth is a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Surrey.

Her research focuses on science communication, the science-policy interface and nexus-related decision making.

Research Collaborations

Current projects

Fellowship: ‘Exploring decision-making and resilience to nexus shocks: exploring the findings from the Nexus Shocks project’, Funded by the ESRC Nexus Network

The Fellowship explores in greater depth and build on the findings of the Nexus Shocks network activities funded under a Nexus Network networking grant. The research focuses on the extent to which nexus thinking could increase resilience to shocks to the nexus, and the role of social sciences and nexus thinking in informing these processes. This entails engaging with the members of the Nexus Shocks network, and others as appropriate, to conduct a review of experience, evidence and lessons learnt from historical, nexus and non-nexus shocks. The research will also enable an assessment of different traits that might define a nexus shock, its surrounding context and explore existing approaches for assessing shocks and expectations for responses and resilience.
The Fellowship builds on a series of questions that emerged from the Nexus Shocks network workshops, including: How does resilience evolve in the context of a nexus shock? How do policy/decision-makers deal with uncertainty and make firm decisions based on uncertain science in this context? How is the process of decision-making shaped and affected by different types of evidence drawn from particular disciplinary perspectives?

The Centre for the Evaluation of Complexity Across the Nexus

The Centre for the Evaluation of Complexity Across the Nexus, a £3m research centre hosted by the University of Surrey, brings together a unique coalition of experts to address some of the greatest issues in policy making and evaluation. Nexus issues are complex, with many diverse, interconnected factors involved. This presents a major challenge to policy making because changing one factor can often have unexpected knock-on effects in seemingly unrelated areas. We need new ways to evaluate policy in these situations. CECAN will pioneer, test and promote innovative evaluation approaches and methods across nexus problem domains, such as biofuel production or climate change, where food, energy, water and environmental issues intersect. The Centre will promote ‘evidence based policymaking’ by finding ways for the results of evaluation to both inform policy, and reflect back onto future policy design.
Dr Howarth is a Senior Research Fellow and Knowledge Integrator for CECAN

Past projects
• Principal Investigator, Positive Vision: Creating Narratives on the UK 5th Carbon Budget, WWF, (2016)
• Principal Investigator, Shocks to the food-energy-water nexus: impacts and responses, ESRC Nexus Network networking grant programme (2015)
• Principal Investigator, Overcoming the climate language barrier: An innovation policy approach to improving the IPCC process, ESRC/CCCEP Climate Policy Innovation Fund (2014)
• Principal Investigator, International Climate Change Engagement and Communication with NGOs and Civil Society, Department of Energy and Climate Change (2013-2014)
• Work Package Leader, WE@EU: Water Efficiency in European Urban Areas, EU Commission Coordination and support action funding (2013-2016)
• Principal Investigator, Developing a promotional Green Deal Assessment Programme in Cambridgeshire, South Cambridgeshire District Council, Evaluation partner (2013)
• Principal Investigator, Evaluation of Green Deal trials, Department of Energy and Climate Change (2012)


Howarth, C. & Painter, J. (in press) The IPCC and local decision making on climate change: a robust science-policy interface? Palgrave Communication
Howarth, C. & Sharman, A. (in press) The Influence of Labels and Incivility in the Climate Change Debate. Oxford Encyclopedia of Climate Communication
Howarth, C., Viner, D., Dessai, S., Rapley, C. & Jones, A. (under review) Co-producing climate change knowledge: incorporating practitioner evidence in the IPCC process. Climate Services
Jacobs, R., Luger, E. & Howarth, C. (2016) The Prediction Machine: Performing Scientific and Artistic Process. Proceedings of the 2016 ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems, 497-508
Howarth, C. & Monasterolo, I. (2016) Understanding barriers to decision making in the UK energy-food-water nexus: The added value of interdisciplinary approaches. Environmental Science & Policy, 61, 53-60.
Sharman, A. & Howarth, C. (2016) Building bridges between climate scientists and sceptical voices: Implications for public perceptions of climate change. Public Understanding of Science, 1-17, Doi: 10.1177/0963662516632453
Sharman, A. & Howarth, C. (2015) Climate stories: why climate scientists and sceptical voices participate in the climate debate? CCCEP Working Paper 216/GRI Working Paper 191
Howarth, C. & Black, R. (2015) Local science-media engagement needed to increase trust and understanding of climate change. Nature Climate Change, 5(5), 506-508
Howarth, C. and Sharman, A. (2015) Labelling opinions in the climate debate: a critical review. WIRES Climate Change, 6(2), 239-254, doi: 10.1002/wcc.332
Viner, D. & Howarth, C. (2014) Practitioner’s work & evidence in IPCC reports. Nature Climate Change, 4, 848-849
Howarth, C. (2013) Climate change information framework for behaviour change: Applications to UK travel. The International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts & Responses. 5(1), p55-75.
Howarth, C. and Polyviou, P. (2012) Sustainable travel behaviour and the widespread impacts to the local economy. Local Economy, 27(7), p762-779.


Roberts, T., Hargreaves, T., Butler, C. & Howarth, C. (in prep) Eds. Re-configuring practices for a post carbon world. SAGE/British Sociological Association
Painter, J., Erviti, M.C., Fletcher, R., Howarth, C., Kristiansen, S., León, B., Ouakrat, A., Russell, A., Schafer, M. (under review) Something old, something new: digital media and the coverage of climate change. Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, University of Oxford.
Howarth, C. Ed. (2016) What we’ve learnt so far: findings from the Nexus shocks network. Global Sustainability Institute.
Howarth, C. Ed. (2013) Big Challenges, Creative Solutions. Illustrations from the Global Sustainability Institute 2013 Conference. Illustrations by Lukewarm and Design by Creative Warehouse

Rapley, C., de Meyer, K., Carney, J., Howarth, C., Clarke, R., Smith, N., Stilgoe, J., Youngs, S. (2014) Time for a change? Climate Science Reconsidered. Report of the UCL Policy Commission on Communicating Climate Science.

Jones, A., Allen, I., Silver, N., Howarth, C., Cameron, C. & Caldecott, B. (2013) Resource constraints: sharing a finite world: Implications of Limits to Growth for Actuarial Profession, Actuarial Profession


Book chapters/sections
Howarth, C. & Roberts, B. (in prep) The role of the UK Green Deal in shaping practice for a post-carbon world: insights from two case studies, In Re-configuring practices for a post carbon world. BSA/Sage
Russell, A., Howarth, C. (2016) Similarities and differences in sources, tones and advocacy; In (Eds) Something old, something new: digital media and the coverage of climate change. Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, University of Oxford.
Howarth, C. and Ryley, T. (2012), Chapter 10 A Behavioural Perspective on the Relationship Between Transport and Climate Change, in Ryley, T. and Chapman, L (ed.) Transport and Climate Change (Transport and Sustainability, Volume 2), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp.261-286.

Journal articles

  • Howarth CC, Painter J. (2016) 'Exploring the science-policy interface on climate change: the role of the IPCC in informing local decision-making in the UK'. Palgrave Communications, 2


    Building on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) review of how to make its Assessment Reports (ARs) more accessible in the future, the research reported here assesses the extent to which the ARs are a useful tool through which scientific advice informs local decisionmaking on climate change in the UK. Results from interviews with local policy representatives and three workshops with UK academics, practitioners and local decision-makers are presented. Drawing on these data, we outline three key recommendations made by participants on how the IPCC ARs can be better utilized as a form of scientific advice to inform local decision-making on climate change. Firstly to provide more succinct summaries of the reports paying close attention to the language, content, clarity, context and length of these summaries; secondly to better target and frame the reports from a local perspective to maximize engagement with local stakeholders; and thirdly to work with local decision-makers to better understand how scientific advice on climate change is being incorporated in local decision-making. By adopting these, the IPCC would facilitate local decision-making on climate change and provide a systematic review of how its reports are being used locally. We discuss implications of these recommendations and their relevance to the wider debate within and outside the IPCC as to the most effective way the IPCC can more effectively tailor its products to user needs without endangering the robustness of its scientific findings.

  • Howarth CC, Monasterolo I. (2016) 'Understanding barriers to decision making in the UK energy-food-water nexus: The added value of interdisciplinary approaches'. Environmental Science and Policy, 61, pp. 53-60.


    The nexus represents a multi-dimensional means of scientific enquiry which seeks to describe the complex and non-linear interactions between water, energy, food, with the climate, and further understand wider implications for society. These resources are fundamental for human life but are negatively affected by shocks such as climate change and characterize some of the main challenges for global sustainable development. Given the multidimensional and complex nature of the nexus, a transdisciplinary approach to knowledge development through co-production is needed to timely and effectively inform the decision making processes to build societal resilience to these shocks going beyond the sectorality of current research practice. The paper presents findings from five themed workshops (shocks and hazards, infrastructure, local economy, governance and governments, finance and insurance) with 80 stakeholders from academia, government and industry in the UK to explore the impact of climate and weather shocks across the energy-food-water nexus and barriers to related responses. The research identified key stakeholders’ concerns, opportunities and barriers to better inform decision making centred on four themes: communication and collaboration, decision making processes, social and cultural dimensions, and the nature of responses to nexus shocks. We discuss implications of these barriers and how addressing these can better facilitate constructive dialogue and more efficient decision-making in response to nexus shocks.

  • Sharman A, Howarth CC. (2016) 'Climate stories: Why do climate scientists and sceptical voices participate in the climate debate?'. Public Understanding of Science,


    Public perceptions of the climate debate predominantly frame the key actors as climate scientists versus sceptical voices; however, it is unclear why climate scientists and sceptical voices choose to participate in this antagonistic and polarised public battle. A narrative interview approach is used to better understand the underlying rationales behind 22 climate scientists’ and sceptical voices’ engagement in the climate debate, potential commonalities, as well as each actor’s ability to be critically self-reflexive. Several overlapping rationales are identified including a sense of duty to publicly engage, agreement that complete certainty about the complex assemblage of climate change is unattainable and that political factors are central to the climate debate. We argue that a focus on potential overlaps in perceptions and rationales as well as the ability to be critically self-reflexive may encourage constructive discussion among actors previously engaged in purposefully antagonistic exchange on climate change.


Science communication, science policy interface, nexus related decision making, research methods


Professional activities
Editor of the International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses
Editorial Board of Environmental Communication
Visiting Fellow, Policy Studies Institute, University of Westminster
Visiting Research Associate, University College London
Co-convenor, British Sociological Association Climate Change Study Group
Member, Royal Meteorological Society Climate Science Communication group
Member, UCL Policy Commission on Communicating Climate Science
Chair, Nexus Shocks Network

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