Nigel Gilbert

Professor Nigel Gilbert is a computational social scientist with a background in engineering. His approach to understanding society is to apply the rigour and tools of science and engineering to social scientific issues, using computational methods. He was one of the first to use agent-based models in the social sciences, in the early 1990s, and has since published widely on the methodology underlying computer modelling, and on the application of simulation for applied problems such as understanding commercial innovation, managing environmental resources such as energy and water, and supporting public policy decision-making.

Karen McKeogh

Karen McKeogh has worked closely with businesses and entrepreneurs for over 25 years. Before joining CECAN Karen worked with small business owners, helping them translate their business ideas into viable businesses.  Applying a collaborative and practical approach Karen has designed and implemented operational systems and processes to support the purpose, vision, culture and goals of small businesses and their products and services.

Martha Bicket

Martha has over ten years’ experience at the interface of research and policy, working closely with senior policymakers and analysts across local, national and international levels of government towards the goal of better-informed decision-making and policy. She is one of the authors of HM Treasury’s Handling Complexity in Evaluation, the supplementary guide to the 2020 Magenta Book (UK central government guidance on evaluation). Martha is experienced in a range of qualitative and quantitative research and evaluation methods. She led the CECAN Ltd team that developed the Defra Complexity Evaluation Framework and she has helped to design and deliver CECAN Ltd’s Handling Complexity in Evaluation training series.

Peter Barbrook-Johnson

Dr Pete Barbrook-Johnson is a Departmental Research Lecturer in the Economics of Environmental Change in the Environmental Change Institute (ECI) and the Smith School for Enterprise and the Environment, both in the School of Geography and the Environment at the University of Oxford. He is also a member of the Institute for New Economic Thinking at Oxford, and a Research Associate at St Catherine’s College. 

Pete’s core research interests sit at the crossroads of social science and economics, complexity science, and environmental and energy policy. He uses a range of methods in his research including agent-based modelling, network analysis, and systems mapping. He regularly uses these, and other methods, to explore applied social, economic, and policy questions, and to support complexity-appropriate policy evaluation.

Birgitta Gatersleben

Birgitta Gatersleben is Professor of Environmental Psychology at The University of Surrey. Her research focuses on people-environment interactions and wellbeing, in particularly issues related to sustainable lifestyles, and engagement with the natural environment. Birgitta has worked in numerous applied interdisciplinary research programs. She is COI of the Centre for Understanding Sustainable Prosperity and works closely with colleagues in the Centre for Environment and Sustainability at Surrey. Her recent research projects include ESRC funded research to examine nature engagement and wellbeing during the Covid-19 pandemic (with Natural England), “birds and bees” a project that aims to co-design nature conservation activities with older adults to support their wellbeing (Dunhill Medical Trust) and an international study that studies perceptions of green social prescribing in different countries across the world (UGPN).

Dr Fran Rowe

Dr Frances Rowe is a research associate with the Centre for Rural Economy at Newcastle University and the National Innovation Centre for Rural Enterprise.  She brings specialist expertise in rural policy and rural development to her research interests, including working as a senior level policy maker and practitioner before coming to academia. She is a former Chairman of  Northumberland National Park Authority and was a non-executive director of the Countryside Agency.   Her research interests include the role of creative and cultural organisations in processes of place based rural innovation, resilience and growth, rural policy evaluation and complexity approaches to new rural policy post EU exit. Her research has focussed on place-based effects of rural arts organisations and creative practitioners, and she has published her research in the Journal of Rural Studies, the Journal of Arts and Communities and Local Economy. Dr Rowe has also published extensively on rural policy and development for policy focussed audiences.


Ben Shaw

Ben Shaw is Principal Consultant at CECAN Ltd and is leading development of our consultancy offer. As Deputy Director of the Centre for Evaluation of Complexity Across the Nexus (CECAN) he led work translating CECAN’s novel complexity-appropriate methods to practical application in evaluation settings of national policy and local delivery for government and charitable foundations. This included work with BEIS, Defra, Environment Agency, Food Standards Agency and the Lankelly Chase Foundation. 

He has extensive experience of delivering policy-relevant outputs from consultancy and evaluation projects for clients in the UK and Europe on a wide range of environmental and social policy issues gained from CECAN and his previous role as Director of Policy Studies Institute.

Corinna Elsenbroich

Corinna is a Reader in Computational Modelling at the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit at the University of Glasgow. She is a co-investigator in CECAN since 20215. Her focus is to develop complexity methods in policy-relevant ways and has contributed to curriculum design and capacity building for complexity methods courses for CECAN and CECAN Ltd. She is particularly interested in complexity sensitive social science methods, comprising computational, case based and participatory methods.  She is a co-director of the SIPHER consortium (, taking a systems science approach to health and social policy. She is currently working on how to combine methods through novel research designs to tackle health inequalities.

Helen Wilkinson

Helen is a director of Risk Solutions’ with over 25 years’ consulting experience working in areas where there are high degrees of uncertainty, complexity or risk.  Her work has included support to policy formulation, development of management systems, and all aspects of evaluation and review.  She has worked at senior levels for the UK government, reporting for example directly to ministers in Defra. Helen was a member of the CECAN team who have developed a new annex on handling complexity for HMTs Magenta Book: Guidance on Evaluation.

Stuart’s skills have been applied to create insights improving decision making, operational efficiency and VfM. He has worked with, or within, international governments/NGOs, UK government and the European Commission. He has also worked on a wide range of consultancy projects with private sector and third-sector clients in the UK and around the world.

As well as his practitioner and academic work Stuart is an experienced speaker, trainer and coach on technical subjects, personal development and management/leadership skills

Ananya Mukerjee

Ananya currently works on the CoCoRE Project funded by DCMS (UK) examining the socio-economic and environmental challenges to infrastructural development and the uptake of 5G services in rural Wales using documentary analysis, literature reviews and conducting data gathering through qualitative interviews, case study analysis and other relevant techniques. A former CECAN Fellow with the University of Surrey, her experience includes working on developmental and complex climate adaptation work overseas. Her work focussed on Disaster Risk Reduction programme in urban Nepal (DFID funded) where Ananya led the research work for IOD PARC conducting literature reviews, stakeholder meetings and focus group studies with programme implementers in Nepal and evaluating the various intervention measures in rebuilding peri-urban and urban areas. Previous role also included working as a CECAN Consultant on the Forces Connect South-East Veteran’s Hub programme evaluating the efficacy and impact of the project intervention measures with the local authority areas of Surrey, Kent, Hampshire, East and West Sussex County Councils.



Dr Thomas Roberts

Dr Thomas Roberts is an environmental sociologist who focuses on public perceptions and understanding of environmental policy interventions. He has extensive experience of using a wide range of qualitative research methods to evaluate environmental policy. In particular he is interested in exploring the implications of climate change for healthcare, the skills and training required to facilitate the transition to a zero-carbon economy and consumption and waste disposal practices.

Kelly Boazman

Kelly Boazman joined CECAN in September 2017 as the Centre’s Impact Manager, having spent ten years working in various research-related roles at the University of Surrey. Before joining CECAN, Kelly was the Director of Operations for Industrial Doctorates in the Centre for Environment and Sustainability, where she established a first-of-its-kind industrial doctorate programme entirely funded by industry. She is a qualified PRINCE2 Practitioner and holds a first degree in French Studies from the University of London Institute in Paris and a Postgraduate Certificate in Social Research Methods from the University of Surrey.

Stuart Astill

Stuart has over 20 years of experience working at the heart of analytical, strategic, policy and operational thinking in Government. This has taken place in a variety of settings working with public officials, private-sector, third-sector and academic experts, elected representatives and ministers. His qualitative and quantitative skills span performance analysis, statistical, economic and operational research functions across a breadth of experience identifying and tackling emerging high-profile issues, carrying out impact assessments and establishing innovative projects.

Stuart’s skills have been applied to create insights improving decision making, operational efficiency and VfM. He has worked with, or within, international governments/NGOs, UK government and the European Commission. He has also worked on a wide range of consultancy projects with private sector and third-sector clients in the UK and around the world.

As well as his practitioner and academic work Stuart is an experienced speaker, trainer and coach on technical subjects, personal development and management/leadership skills

Alexandra (Alex) Penn FRSA

Alex is a complexity scientist with an academic background in evolutionary ecology, computer science and physics, plus substantial experience in complex systems design approaches. She combines participatory methods and mathematical models to create tools for stakeholders to understand and “steer” their complex systems. She co-developed (with Peter Barbrook-Johnson) the participatory systems mapping methodology used by CECAN and continues to innovate new mapping and analysis methods to make complexity actionable in different real-world contexts. She has worked with a wide variety of policy, civil society and industrial stakeholders. In particular in Defra group, BEIS, DfT, and in regional industrial economies and catchment systems.

Valentine Seymour

Valentine has a BSc (Hons) and MSc in environmental sciences and a PhD from University College London (UCL) exploring the interrelationships between human health and the natural world. She has also worked at UCL and EarthWatch as well as more recently at City, University of London working with the UK National Clinical Audits and the NHS.

Valentine’s research interests focus on the interface between human health, policy and the natural environment, more specifically the inter relationships between various stakeholder groups and the natural environment.

Valentine is a Research Fellow at CRESS, Department of Sociology, University of Surrey where she is working on the ANTICIPATE (Actively anticipating the unintended consequences on air quality of future public policies) project. The project will bring together policy makers and various stakeholder groups to review forthcoming policy initiatives for their consequences for air quality.