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Department of Geography

Current Postgraduate Students

Miss Ruth Machen

Research Postgraduate (PhD) in the Department of Geography
Telephone: 41815 / 41817
Fax: +44 (0) 191 33 41801
Room number: 601

Contact Miss Ruth Machen (email at


Ruth graduated in Geography from Durham in 2003 and pursued an AHRB funded Masters in Landscape and Culture at Nottingham in 2004, specialising in culture-nature theorisation and sustainable housing. She then left to spend six years working in regeneration, renewable energy and climate change policy; largely within a local government context in Northeast England. Here, developing climate change and renewable energy strategies and integrating policy at a cross County level provided valuable insights into climate change policy development that has informed and stimulated her current research.

Ruth has a longstanding interest in fostering academic-policy collaboration from both sides. Whilst working in local government she held a Research Fellowship with the Rural Economic Land Use Programme in 2010, provided case studentship for a PhD student at Newcastle University and was a member of the Newcastle University MSc REFlex/REEM course steering group.

Current Research

Ruth is currently in her third year of doctoral research exploring the relationship between climate science and climate policy. Her research focusses on epistemological considerations of climate knowledge, considering the processes of exchange that occur between science and policy that are often termed ‘translation’ and the work performed by boundary organisations within this context. Taking Scotland as a case study, she uses a mixed method approach to explore both the tools and processes of exchange employed by 'boundary organisations' and the ways in which these embody and foster particular beliefs and values. Tools and processes become understood as political sites of contestation through which particular beliefs and values are asserted, contested and negotiated. Ruth is particularly interested in the multiple ways in which boundaries are established and transgressed during climate science-policy exchange and in critically interogating the characterisation of the communication process as a one of 'translation'.

Funding and Awards Secured

Ridgewind Scholarship - 2012
Skene Scholarship 2012
Durham Doctoral Studentship - 2011
DECC Local Carbon Framework Programme (for Northumberland County Council) - 2010
AHRB Masters Scholarship - 2004

Teaching Experience

Academic tutor for level 1 modules in 'Environment and Society' and 'Geographies of Crisis', Demonstration on 'Integrated Research Methods' at level 1, 'Social Research' at level 2 and 'Cities and Climate Change' at level 3 and wrote materials and co-ordinated tutorials for level 1 'Environment and Society'.

Is supervised by