Dr Julian Clark BA (Hons), MSc, PhD

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Reader in Political Geography

Contact details

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Julian Clark is Reader in Political Geography at the University of Birmingham and Research Theme Lead for Human Geography. His research focusses upon critical geographical understandings of the state, and the governance of natural resources. Within these domains, Julian examines questions of state spatialities (how states as political objects are materialized and stabilised over space and time); the practices of state representation (including through geographies of diplomacy); and critical governance approaches to environmental change through evidence-based decisionmaking and novel theoretically informed methods.

Julian has written monographs on the institutional pathways and spatial patterning of governance within the European Union (The Modalities of European Union Governance co-authored with Alun Jones (OUP), and undertaken path-breaking research on the geographical and spatial dimensions of Europeanization (Routledge 2010). He has written over 60 internationally peer reviewed publications, arising from EU, ESRC-NERC-DFID, European Science Foundation and NERC – DFID funded projects. His internationally leading research has led to appointments as specialist advisor to the UK House of Lords on governance of innovation in rural areas (2010-12), and to the UK’s Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology on precision farming (2015).


  • BA (Hons) in Geography, University of Oxford. Peter Kirk Memorial Scholar
  • MSc in Landscape Ecology, Design and Management, Wye College, University of London
  • PhD Department of Geography, University College London 


  • 2012 – present: Senior Lecturer in Human Geography, School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham
  • 2007 – 2012: Lecturer in Human Geography, School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham
  • 2003 – 2007: Lecturer in Environmental Governance, Birkbeck, University of London


I currently contribute to eight undergraduate and graduate modules spanning the Geography curriculum in the following areas:

  • Human geography
  • Contemporary human geography
  • Environmental assessment and management
  • Social and political geography
  • Environmental governance
  • Theoretical themes for human geography
  • Research methods for human geography
  • River environments and their management (water governance)
  • Critical geopolitics and globalization

Postgraduate supervision

I welcome applications from prospective PhD students with broadly defined interests in critical geopolitics, the governance of natural resources and the governance of emerging technologies. I have supervised eight doctoral students to completion, and currently supervise five PhDs:

  • Hakeem Bakare - Environmental Governance of mineral extraction in Nigeria - (with S. Emery)
  • Ian Schlesinger - Waging war? Technology, risk and the shift towards post-network-centric warfare in Israel’s military conflicts - 2002-2012 (with S. Fregonese)
  • Mohamad Narotama - Governance and Sustainable Development of Islands in Indonesia - (with J. Round)
  • Maurice Brennan - Approaches to regulation of UK nanotechnology - (with E. Valsami Jones, J. Lead)
  • Robin Coombes - Best practice governance for heritage railways - (Co-supervisor (50%) with A. Jack, Dept. of Rail Engineering)

My PhD funding sources have included ESRC, ESRC-Case, Nigerian and Thai Government Scholarships. 


I am a political geographer making internationally and world-leading contributions to debates on state spatialities (how states materialize and exercise power over territory); the practices of state representation (through geographies of diplomacy); and governance approaches to improve environmental management through evidence-based decision making techniques and novel theoretically informed methods. Such research is critical for supporting policymakers tasked with addressing emerging risks, particularly those associated with global change and complex socio-technical systems. I have secured £1.9 million in funding from a diversity of sources including NERC/ESRC/DFID, ESRC, the EU, the European Environment Agency, the European Science Foundation and the British Academy.

  • PI 2017-2018 ESRC IAA “Evaluating Social Capital Effects on Policy Adaptation to Climate change in Coastal Zones of England” £6,878
  • Co-I 2016-2020 NERC-DFID SHEAR Landslide-Evo “Citizen science for landslide risk reduction and disaster resilience building in mountain regions” SHEAR (Science for Humanitarian Emergencies and Resilience) £1.9 million
  • Co-I 2015-16 Newton-Picarte Fund “Institutional skills supporting effective drought risk management in vulnerable catchments of Chile” £45,000
  • PI 2015-2018 ESRC 1+3 Studentship “Waging war? Technology, risk and the shift towards post-network-centric warfare in Israel’s military conflicts 2002-2012” £70,000
  • Co-I 2013-2017 NERC-ESRC ESPA Mountain-Evo (Adaptive governance of mountain ecosystem services for poverty alleviation enabled by environmental virtual observatories) ESPA £1.8 million
  • PI 2011-2013 EU FPVII Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship, ESCALATE (Examining social capital effects on public policies in rapidly eroding coastal regions of Europe) €205,000.
  • PI 2011-2013 British Academy Research Grant Iceland – at Europe’s edge £7,500
  • Co-I 2011-2014 1+3 ESRC Studentship Regional economic resilience and the governance of design in manufacturing sectors of the west Midlands £60,000
  • Co-I 2011-2014 ESRC-CASE Studentship Another ‘New’ Regionalism? Landscapes of economic governance in the Coalition Era £72,000
  • PI 2010-2013 Thai Government Postgraduate Scholarship Towards sustainable water management in north-west Thailand £82,500
  • PI 2009-2010 European Science Foundation High level Workshop Interdisciplinary understandings of European Agricultural Landscapes €16,000
  • PI 2009-2013 Nigerian Government Doctoral Scholarship £80,750
  • Co-I 2009-10 European Environment Agency Framework contract EEA/SKI/09/04 Interlinkages between urban ecosystems and human health €40,000
  • Co-PI 2008-2010 ESRC seminar series Renegotiating Boundaries £17,928
  • PI 2007-08 Natural England Good practice in the management of English National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Defra/NE Contract number C002958. £36,300
  • PI 2005-2006 Institute of Advanced Studies University of London The political geographies of Europeanization. £1,855
  • PI 2006 British Academy Overseas Conference Grant, annual conference Association of American Geographers, Chicago, 7-11 March. £400
  • Co-PI 1999-2003 Innovation, diversification and European agricultural situations (IDEAS), EU FP VI FAIR6-CT98-4228. £680,000. Involved twenty-two scientists in four EU member states (France, Spain, Sweden and the UK).  

Other activities

I am involved in a wide range of professional services, public outreach and other interdisciplinary activities, including: 

  • 2012 – 2016:  External examiner, Birkbeck University of London, School of Geography, Environment and Development. MSc Environmental Management; BSc Geography
  • 2010 – 2012: Specialist advisor to the House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union. Advising on scrutiny of EU legislation in environmental, regional development and agricultural policy; providing guidance to members on inquiry into Innovation in European rural areas.
  • 2009 – 2012: External examiner, University of London SOAS BSc Environmental Management; MSc Environment and Biodiversity; MSc Environmental Management
  • 2007 – 2009: Adviser, Rural livelihoods programme, New Economics Foundation
  • 2004 – present: Associate Research Fellow, Institute for European Environmental Policy, London.
  • 2006 – present: Honorary Research Fellow, Centre for European Protected Areas Research, Birkbeck, University of London
  • 2009 – present:  Invited member, European Science Foundation referee panel, EUROCORES and Exploratory Workshop proposals.
  • 2004 – present:  Fellow of the Institute of British Geographers. 
  • 2004 – present: Member, Higher Education Academy.
  • 2009 – present: Editorial board, Environmental Geography, Geography Compass

I have refereed for internationally peer-reviewed journals including Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers; Political Geography; Area; Environment and Planning AEnvironment and Planning C: Government and Policy; Geoforum; Geografiska Annaler; Journal of Environmental Planning and Management; Land Use PolicyJournal of Rural Studies; International Journal of Agricultural Resources, Governance and Ecology; International Journal of Water Management.


Peer reviewed articles

Clark JRA, Gurung P, Chapagain P, Regmi S, Bhusal J, Karpouzoglu T, Mao F, Dewulf A (2017) Water as ‘time-substance’: the hydrosocialities of climate change in Nepal Annals of the Association of American Geographers

Clark JRA, Jones A (2017) (Dis-)Ordering the state: territory in Icelandic statecraft Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 42 1 123-138

Mao F, Clark JRA, Karpouzoglou T, Dewulf A, Buytaert W, Hannah DM (2017) A conceptual framework for assessing socio-hydrological resilience under change Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 21, 3655–3670

Jones A, Clark JRA (2017) Assembling geographies of diplomacy under neoliberalism. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers

Zulkafli Z, Perez K, Vitolo C, Buytaert W, Karpouzoglou T, Dewulf A, De Bievre B, Clark JRA, Hannah DM, Shaheed S (2017) User-driven design of decision support systems for polycentric environmental resources management Environmental Modelling & Software 88, 58-73

Mao F, Clark JRA, Karpouzoglou T, Dewulf A, Buytaert W, Hannah DM (2017) A conceptual framework for assessing socio-hydrological resilience under change Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. doi:10.5194/hess-2017-499 

Van Loon A, Gleeson T, Clark JRA, Van Dijk A, Stahl K, Hannaford J, Di Baldassarre G, Teuling A, Tallaksen L, Uijlenhoet R, Hannah DM, Sheffield J, Svoboda M, Verbeiren B, Wagener T, Rangecroft S, Wanders N, Van Lanen H (2016) Drought in the Anthropocene Nature Geoscience 9 89-91

Bhusal J, Chapagain P, Regmi S, Gurung P, Zulkafli Z Karpouzoglou T, Pandeya B, Buytaert W, Clark JRA (2016) Mountains under pressure: evaluating ecosystem services and livelihoods in the upper Himalayan region of Nepal International Journal of Ecology and Environmental Sciences

Karpouzoglou T, Dewulf A, Clark JRA (2016) Advancing adaptive governance of social-ecological systems through theoretical multiplicity Environmental Science and Policy 57 1-9

Buytaert, W., Dewulf, A., De Bièvre, B., Clark JRA, Hannah, D. (2016) Citizen Science for Water Resources Management: Toward Polycentric Monitoring and Governance?  J. Water Resour. Plann. Manage. 142 4 1-4

Jones A, Clark JRA (2016) Contemporary geopolitical positionings of Iceland towards Europe and the Nordic States Tijdschrift voor economische en sociale geografie 107 2 147-161

Jones A, Clark JRA (2015) Mundane diplomacies for the practice of European geopolitics Geoforum 62 1–12

Mahapatra I, Sun T, Clark JRA, Dobson P, Hungerbuhler K, Owen R, Packer C, Nowack B, Lead J (2015) Probabilistic modelling of prospective environmental concentrations of gold nanomaterials from medical applications as a basis for risk governance Environmental Science and Technology

Buytaert W, Zulkafli Z, Grainger S, Acosta L, Bastiaensen J, De Bièvre B, Bhusal J, Clark JRA, Dewulf A, Foggin M, Hannah D. et al. (2014) Citizen science in hydrology and water resources: opportunities for knowledge generation, ecosystem service management, and sustainable development Frontiers in Earth Science 2 26 DOI=10.3389/feart.2014.00026 

Jones N, Clark JRA (2014) The impact of social capital on willingness-to-pay for hard engineered coastal defences in south-east England Ecological Economics

Jones N, Clark JRA, (2014) Social capital and the public acceptability of climate change adaptation policies: a case study in Romney Marsh, UK Climatic Change 123 133–145

Jones N, Panoriou E, Clark JRA, Thiveou K, Roumeliotis S, Allan S, Evangelinos K (2013) Social capital and citizens' perceptions of proposed coastal management zone policies in GreeceRegional Environmental Change doi 10.1007/s10113-013-0540-5

Jones N., Clark JRA (2013) Social capital and climate change mitigation in coastal areas: A review of current debates and identification of future research directions Ocean and Coastal Management 80 12-19

Mahapatra I, Clark JRA, Lead JL, Dobson P, Owen R (2013) Potential environmental and governance implications of nano-enabled medical applications Environmental Science: Processes Impacts 15 1 123-144

Clark JRA, Jones A. (2013) ‘The great implications of spatialization’: grounds for engagement between political geography and political science? Geoforum 45 305-314

Jones A, Clark JRA. (2013)A modern day Icelandic saga: political places and negotiating spaces at EUrope’s northern frontier European Urban and Regional Studies 20 1 77-90

Clark JRA, Semmahasak C (2013) Evaluating adaptive governance approaches to sustainable water management in north-west Thailand Environmental Management 51 4 882-896

Jones N, Panoriou E, Thiveou K, Roumeliotis S, Allan S, Clark JRA, Evangelinos K (2012) Investigating benefits from the implementation of Environmental Management Systems in a Greek University Clean Technologies and Environmental Policy 14 4 669-676

Jones A, Clark JRA. (2012) Practicing geographical uniqueness: the geopolitics of prenegotiation and Icelandic accession to the European Union. Annals of the Association of American Geographers doi 10.1080/00045608.2012.706570

Jones N, Clark JRA, Panteli M, Proikaki M, Dimitrakopoulos P. (2012) Local social capital effects on Protected Area management in northern Greece: an empirical study of two Ramsar wetlands. Journal of Environmental Management 96 1 55-63

Clark JRA, Jones A (2012) After ‘the collapse’: strategic selectivity, Icelandic state elites and the management of European Union accession Political Geography 31 64-72. 2012 Political Geography Editor’s Choice article: Open Access on worldwide web

Jones N, Clark JRA, Tripidaki G. (2012) Social risk assessment and social capital: a significant parameter for the formation of climate change policies. Social Science Journal 49 1 33-41

Clark JRA, Jones A. (2011) The spatialising politics of EUropean political practice: transacting ‘eastness’ in the European Union. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space29 291 – 308.

Clark JRA, Jones A. (2011) Telling stories about politics: Europeanization and the EU’s Council of Ministers. Journal of Common Market Studies 2 341-366 

Jones A, Clark JRA. (2011) Geopolitical behaviours, visions and self-images of  EUrope. Geopolitics 16 246-252

Clark JRA, Clarke R. (2011) Local sustainability initiatives in English National Parks: what role for adaptive governance? Land Use Policy 28 314-324

Clark JRA. (2010) Geographies of multifunctionality: developing governance explanations. Geography Compass 4 803-818

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