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, here is a range of training and development resources, including secondments, mentoring and networking events.

Some of these resources are aimed at social scientists, whilst others are for audiences 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 here and in our newsletter.

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

We are keen to provide high quality training and development opportunities to those early in their social science careers.

Sarah Golding, ACCESS Knowledge Exchange Fellow and Early Career Researcher talks about the importance of training to increase social science competency and capacity so we can solve big world problems like climate change and the biodiversity crisis.

ACCESS Assembly 2024

This year’s Assembly is on Wednesday 12 and Thursday 13 June 2024 at the University of Exeter. There are limited places but we will be recording the keynote talks to host here later.

Key note speakers

  • Linda Bauld, University of Edinburgh and Chief Social Policy Adviser, Scottish Government & BR-UK. Building Capability for Behavioural Research across topics and disciplines
  • Gemma Harper OBE FAcSS CEO at Joint Nature Conservation Committee. The Nature Paradox: understanding disassociation and dehumanisation in the degradation of biodiversity
  • Heather Price and Gary FullerClean Air Champions, The University of Stirling and Imperial College London. Championing air pollution research

Panel Discussions, Q&A, workshops, talk and walks

  • Crossing the social science/policy boundary: lessons from the ACCESS Net Zero Task Force
  • Walk and Talk with the Leadership College Fellows – exploring inclusivity, accessibility and the more-than-human in climate and environment experiences
  • Flex Fund project presentations & poster session
  • Generating impactful knowledge exchange for transformative change: Addressing the dissonance between intentions and systems of KE across sectoral boundaries.
  • Policy implementation: why trust matters?
Some of the attendees at ACCESS Assembly 2023
ACCESS Directors Patrick and Birgitta at the Assembly
ACCESS Assembly Break with people enjoying a drink and a cake
Break out session at the ACCESS Assembly with people listening and talking round a table

ACCESS Assembly 2023

Break out session at the ACCESS Assembly

Exeter University welcomed social scientists from across academia, public and private sectors from Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England. The aim over the two days to get together and spark new ideas and networks.

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ACCESS Assembly 2022

Attendees at the ACCESS Assembly

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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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)

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.

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

ACCESS Assembly 2022 Event Evaluation Report

ACCESS Assembly 2023 Event Evaluation Report 


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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People looking at an open laptop screen

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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Leadership College

The ACCESS Leadership College is a cohort of 20 emerging leaders working in Environmental Social Science.

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

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