ACCESS - Advancing Capacity for Climate  and Environment Social Science
ACCESS - Advancing Capacity for Climate  and Environment Social Science
WalkShop Right2Roam session outside in Dartington gardens

Training and Events

From novice to expert, there will be a range of training and development resources, including secondments, mentoring and networking events.

We will highlight opportunities aimed at social scientists, as well as opportunities for those without formal social science training, who wish to use social science in their everyday roles.

Key areas include;

  • Climate and environmental social science
  • How to translate research into policy
  • How to successfully co-produce work with different stakeholders

We regularly post information about training and career development opportunities from other organisations and projects.

We also host our own training and development activities. Regular updates will be provided here about the annual ACCESS summer schools for Early Career Researchers, the ACCESS Leadership College, ACCESS Assemblies, webinars and events.

ACCESS Assembly 2023

This year’s annual ACCESS Assembly 2023 was about getting together and sparking new networks.

From 14 to 16 June, Exeter University welcomed social scientists from across academia, public and private sectors from Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England to this year’s Advancing Capacity for Climate Environment Social Science (ACCESS) Assembly.

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Break out session at the ACCESS Assembly

ACCESS Assembly 2022

ACCESS Assembly 2022 took place on 15 and 16 June 2022 at the XFi building on the University of Exeter campus.

The main aim of the two days was to bring together the ACCESS network. Inviting university expert researchers and ACCESS partners to start thinking about how we might deliver some of the project’s aims.

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Attendees at the ACCESS Assembly

How do you run a successful hybrid event?

This was just one of the questions we asked ourselves before organising our first ACCESS Annual Assembly in 2022. Since then we have been evaluating our larger events and we are keen to share our findings.

Early in the planning for the Assembly, we decided we wanted to welcome in-person and online visitors. It was important for us to:

  • Invite people from various disciplines and champion the benefits of collaboration and co-production.
  • Be inclusive and offer equally enriching experiences and networking opportunities to those in the room and those sitting at their desktop.
  • Experiment and move away from the conference norm of short presentation slots and parallel sessions over lunch to something more relaxed that would allow people to think, ask questions and connect with others.
  • Incorporate our Guiding Principles (EDI, Environmental Sustainability and Knowledge Coproduction)

We couldn’t find much to guide us on our ambitious mission, so after the event we decided to share our experiences; the highs and the lows; the challenges and obstacles; and what we might do differently next time. These reflections have been a  guide for future ACCESS events and we hope others might also find them useful.

Guidance for Planning and Hosting a Successful Hybrid Event -Reflections from the ACCESS Annual Assembly 2022

From planning to evaluation, the report focuses on venue hire, accommodation, event programme, audio & visual technology, networking opportunities and how to incorporate our Guiding Principles.

ACCESS Assembly 2022 Event Evaluation Report

Our first event (circa 70 people) – what worked and what didn’t.

ACCESS Assembly 2023 Event Evaluation Report 

Building on what we learnt first time round – successes and areas that needed further thought and consideration.

If you would like any further information please email

One of the breakout sessions at the Assembly
Our online audience at the ACCESS Assembly 2023
Mari Martiskainen speaking at the ACCESS Assembly 2023

Leadership College

We were very excited to welcome a cohort of 20 emerging leaders to the ACCESS Leadership College in April 2023.

It is a diverse group of people from academia, business, charities and the public sector all coming together for 4 annual residential retreats.   The College provides opportunities for the group to network and learn from each other and from experts across ACCESS and beyond.

The first retreat had a focus on Health, Wellbeing and the Environment. Find out more about the first Leadership College retreat from Saffron O’Neill, ACCESS Leader Successful first ACCESS Leadership College retreat

Meet some of the Leadership College Fellows:

Leadership College Fellows at the first retreat at Dartington Hall

Leadership College Fellows

Elysia Barker Davies
Kent Wildlife Trust

Sarah Bell
University of Exeter

Mandi Bisset
The Southampton Collective CIC

Richard Bridge
Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs

Pamela Buchan
University of Surrey

Emma Claydon
Department for Energy Security & Net Zero

Laura De Vito
University of West England

Jaya Gajparia
London South Bank University

Anika Haque
University of York

Becki Jepson
Nifty Sustainability CIC

Helen Kendall
Natural England

Ruth Lamont
Natural England

Laurie Laybourn
Institute for Public Policy Research & Chatham House

Susann Power
Ulster University

Helen Roberts
Met Office

Jennifer Rudd
University of Swansea

Stephanie Weir
Scottish Government

Caryl Williams
Welsh Government

Rebecca Windemer

Lewis Winks
Lestari Environmental Education Consultancy


Putting behavioural change into practice

Lorraine Whitmarsh and Pete Dyson

In this masterclass Lorraine Whitmarsh and Pete Dyson discuss how policymakers can use behaviour change evidence in practice, with examples of what works in environmental and transport policy.

Placement Schemes

Placement schemes can offer important development and networking experiences for environmental social scientists, especially in helping researchers understand more about policy development and delivery.

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A woman standing by a post-it-note board with others sat round a table

Summer schools

The ACCESS summer schools provide relaxed and friendly environments for PhD students and Early Career Researchers to;

  1. Meet and discuss their research with experts in the field and their peers, working together on issues of environment and climate change.
  2. Receive interactive training in communicating climate and environmental social science for impact beyond academia (e.g., with policymakers, media, and publics)
  3. Gain insights into career paths for environmental social scientists post-PhD.

Last year’s ACCESS Summer School was held in September 2023

Dartington Hall with tree in the foreground in full blossomThe second residential summer school took place at Dartington Hall, Devon, UK from Tuesday 12 to Thursday 14 September 2023, focused on the ACCESS Guiding Principles.

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We held our first ACCESS Summer/Winter School in January 2023

Sitting room at Cumberland Lodge

The school was held at Cumberland Lodge. The three days , focused on the theme of Communicating Climate and Environment Social Science for Impact Beyond Academia.

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Discover our series of webinars addressing practical topics in environmental social science. With a wide range of speakers, the webinars focus around the 5 core areas of work within ACCESS.

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