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Kerry Waylen

Staff picture: Kerry Waylen
Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences
Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences
Social Researcher
kerry.waylen@hutton.ac.uk
+44 (0)1224 395313

The James Hutton Institute
Craigiebuckler
Aberdeen AB15 8QH
Scotland UK

 

Kerry Waylen is a senior researcher working in the Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences (SEGS) research group at the James Hutton Institute.  Kerry has a background in both the natural and social sciences, and field experience in several countries, in both Europe and parts of 'the Global South'. She focuses on the challenges of achieving participatory and holistic natural resource management, with a particular focus on the Ecosystem Approach and the challenges of governing complex socio-ecological systems. Her early work was largely focused on community-level conservation but in recent years, she has increasingly focused on how higher-level institutions affect and interact with what happens ‘on the ground’. Her work is not situated in a single academic discipline, but is informed by ideas from political ecology, environmental governance and Science and Technology Studies.

Current research interests

Kerry's main ongoing research projects

Her research is motivated by the following research questions:

  • When might it make sense to adopt new concepts and instruments for environmental management? How can we best understand the challenges and consequences of implementing such new concepts, especially those (such as the 'Ecosystem Approach') that encourage a systemic approach to connect multiple issues?
  • How are different knowledges produced and used in collaboration and decision-making for environmental management? If and how do concepts (such as ecosystem services) or tools (such as scenario-planning) influence processes of knowledge co-production, including in science-policy interfaces?
  • How can we better enable stakeholder participation in environmental management, including Community-Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) ?  What are the social and environmental consequences of doing so?

Kerry's expertise includes the following skills for carrying out, managing and communicating research:

  • Qualitative research methods e.g. semi-structured interviews, participant observation, Rapid Rural Appraisal, qualitative thematic analysis using both inductive and deductive approaches.
  • Quantitative research methods e.g. design, deployment and quantiative analysis of paper and online surveys for primary data collection, design and deplyment of systematic reviews and meta-analyses to identify and analyse secondary data
  • Extensive experience in leading design and facilitation of workshops for knowledge exchange and/or research data collection.
  • Skilled in engaging and communicating with varied audiences using varied methods, from short written briefings, longer reports and academic papers, through to videos, oral presentations and blog posts.
  • Expertise in research project management, line management, student supervision, and research ethics.

Kerry currently co-supervises 2 PhD students: Sam Poskitt, who is exploring the potential of scenario-planning to support learning for sustainable development, with Dr Andrew Ainslie at the University of Reading; and Kirsty Holstead, who is building understanding of community water governance, with Dr Shona Russell at the University of St Andrews.

Kerry is a trustee of the Orskov Foundation, a charitable foundation that supports students and communities to develop sustainable land use to support livelihoods in lower-income countries. She is also a research associate of CECHR, the Centre for Environmental Change and Human Resilience at Dundee.   Within the Institute, Kerry is leader of the 'Society Institutions and Governance' sub-group of SEGS, and she also founded the SEGS blog.

Past research

Exploring institutional constraints to adopting more systemic and/or participatory approaches to environmental management:

  • She jointly led research with Kirsty Blackstock to understand the potential and challanges of implementing the Ecosystem Approach, funded by the Scottish Government RESAS Strategic Research Programme 2011-2016.  Click here to visit the webpage of the Ecosystem Approach Review. This work also relates to the ideas of exploring the challenges multi-level governance as noted above, and of communication as noted below.

Analysing processes of knowledge co-production relating to environmental management:

  • Kerry co-led WP2 for the FP7 project ‘SPIRAL’ (Science Policy Interfaces for Research Action and Learning, for biodiversity) Visit the Project website to find out more about this project, and see the EPC paper and Biodiversity and Conservation paper in the list below for academic outputs she led on.
  • Kerry helped design the ESPPI:CREW project, which aims to monitor and evaluate science-policy and practice links for the Scottish Centre of Expertise in Waters, which has been operating since 2011.  She was also involved in CATCH II – which aimed to try to better connect policy, practitioners working in and for integrated catchment management.

Understanding and tackling the challenges faced by conservation initiatives in the 'Global South':

  • COMET-LA was a EU FP7 project on the Community-based Management of Environmental Challenges in Latin America, that ran 2012-2015.  Kerry was part of a small team exploring if and how scenario-planning can assist communities in Latin America to identify and develop sustainable community-based management for their natural resources in the face of climate change and increased competition for the use of natural resources. Visit our short animated youtube video on scenario-planning for more information about what this concept can offer.
  • Since December 2012 Kerry has supported work in Malawi to support villages and district-level planning for integrated natural resource management.  She has provided expertise to two projects lead by VSO.  The first project called "Water Futures: Towards Equitable Resource Strategies" aimed to improve the resilience of Malawian water management, whilst from late 2014 the second project 'MAJI' focuses on how to take account of climate change.  Kerry, together with Julia Martin-Ortega, provides expertise on community engagement on topics of ecosystem services and for co-constructing scenarios of future change.
  • Kerry’s past PhD work at Imperial College London (2006-2009) focused on understanding social factors linked to success in community-based conservation projects, involving fieldwork in Nepal and Kalmykia, Russia, as well as a systematic review of the factors affecting ‘success’ in developing-country community-based conservation projects. The thesis can be downloaded from the Imperial College Conservation Science website.

Prior to working at the James Hutton Institute Kerry's PhD research, carried out at Imperial College London, examined how the combination of individual views, culture and local institutions could significantly influence the outcomes of community-based conservation in developing countries.  In addition to policy-relevant work with NGOs, her prior academic experience included social research into attitudes towards nature resources in Trinidad, as part of an MSc from Imperial College. Her first degree is a MA in Natural Sciences, from Cambridge University.

Bibliography

  • Young, J.; Waylen, K.A.; van den Hove, S.; Watt, A., (2016) SPIRAL Improving science-policy interfaces for biodiversity., In: Martinuzzi, A. & Sedlacko, M. (eds.). Knowledge Brokerage for Sustainable Development. Innovative Tools for Increasing Research Impact and Evidence-Based Policy-Making. Greenleaf Publishing, Saltaire, UK, pp275-290.
  • Blackstock, K.L.; Waylen, K.A., (2016) Delivering ecosystem services at a national scale: institutions and governance., In: Brooker, R., Hester, A. & Pakeman, R. (eds.). Ecosystem Services. The James Hutton Institute, Craigiebuckler, Aberdeen, pp18-19.
  • Waylen, K.A.; Blackstock, K.L., (2016) Concepts: 'Eco' terminology., In: Brooker, R., Hester, A. & Pakeman, R. (eds.). Ecosystem Services. The James Hutton Institute, Craigiebuckler, Aberdeen, pp4-5.
  • Waylen, K.A.; Gearey, B.R.; Blackstock, K.L., (2016) Peatlands and cultural ecosystem services., In: Bonn, A., Allott, T., Evans, M., Joosten, H. & Stoneman, R. (eds.). Peatland Restoration for Ecosystem Services. Ecological Reviews Series, British Ecological Society, Cambridge University Press, Chapter 7, pp114-128.


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The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.