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Sam Poskitt

Staff picture: Sam Poskitt
Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences
Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences
Environmental Social Scientist

The James Hutton Institute
Aberdeen AB15 8QH
Scotland UK


Sam is an Environmental Social Scientist with a background in Geography, Environmental Anthropology and International Development. He specialises in participatory approaches for research, learning, and decision-making in relation to tackling social-ecological challenges.

Sam has five years' experience facilitating and researching the effects of Participatory Integrated Climate Services for Agriculture (PICSA) - a participatory approach for communicating climate information with small-scale farmers in the Global South and helping them use it to support planning and decision-making on their own farms.

Prior to this, he completed a PhD at the University of Reading's Department of International Development, and the Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences department at the James Hutton Institute. This explored the effects that Participatory Scenario Planning can have for learning and decision-making about social-ecological challenges, as well as how such approaches may be influenced by power imbalances.

Sam also holds a Masters of Research (MRes) in Environment and Development, as well as a BSc in Geography from Lancaster Environment Centre at Lancaster University.

Sam is a member of the Agrinatura Advocacy Working Group and the UK National Framework for Climate Services Central Hub, as well as an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. He is a professionally-trained and experienced facilitator of participatory approaches for stakeholder engagement, learning and decision-making.

Sam's other interests include music, walking, gardening, and learning Korean.


Current research interests

Research interests:

Sam is broadly interested in research on the following themes:

  • Participatory and transdisciplinary approaches for learning, research and decision-making
  • Interaction of different knowledges and worldviews
  • Social-ecological resilience
  • Sustainable adaptation to climate variability and change
  • Collaborative learning and innovation

Current projects

Sam works across several projects related to valuing natural capital and exploring the risks posed to natural capital by climate change. Specifically, Sam is responsible for developing and facilitating participatory approaches that can broaden the types of natural capital that are valued, and the types of values that are considered, as well as for how information about natural capital can be incorporated into decision-making and policy.

Past research

Participatory Integrated Climate Services for Agriculture (PICSA) (2018-2022)

PICSA is a participatory approach to climate services and agricultural extension that combines historical climate data and forecasts with farmers' knowledge of what works in their individual contexts, and then uses participatory planning methods to help them make informed decisions about their agricultural practices. Sam spent 5 years supporting the continued development and scaling-out of PICSA through: design and facilitation of participatory methodologies for research and training, evaluating and understanding the effects of PICSA, and adapting the PICSA approach to new contexts. Sam gained experience working in Bangladesh, Malawi, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Zambia, Dominica, India, and Zimbabwe, and collaborating with partners including national extension and meteorological services, as well as the UN World Food Programme (WFP), UN Development Programme (UNDP), CGIAR, and Caribbean Institute for Meteorology & Hydrology (CIMH).

PhD Research: 'Investigating the benefits of participatory scenario planning for tackling social-ecological problems.' (2014-2018)

Sam's PhD explored how 'participatory scenario planning' - a set of approaches for collectively imagining alternative, plausible future events, conditions and trajectories could help stakeholders learn about and develop responses to complex problems in connected human and environmental systems. Supervised by Andrew Ainslie at the University of Reading and Kerry Waylen at the James Hutton Institute.

Other past research

Sam has also conducted previous research on:

  • Integration of climate information in health-sector planning and decision-making in Uganda.
  • People’s knowledge and perceptions of vulnerability to climate change in Sinazongwe District, southern Zambia.
  • Emotional experiences of driving.


Sam has previously convened Masters-level modules on Food Security and Development, and Participatory Interventions in the Graduate Institute of International Development, Agriculture and Economics (GIIDAE) at the University of Reading.


Printed from /staff/samuel-poskitt on 24/03/23 09:32:16 AM

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.