Synthesising quantitative information with more qualitative and participatory inputs

Pilot Project 6

Synthesising quantitative information with more qualitative and participatory inputs

Applications are invited to undertake a collaborative project with Natural England, to explore how we can better synthesise quantitative, model-based or expert-led assessment procedures with more qualitative and participatory inputs for Cumulative Environmental Impact Assessment.

Natural England has been looking for a way to understand and handle the cumulative impacts arising from development as we seek to advise and work with local communities and decision making for people and the environment. There are existing frameworks for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and these tend to form the basis for cumulative impact assessment (CIA).  The complexity including spatial and temporal dimensions, however, make effective assessment difficult for decision makers and developers alike.  We have identified a risk that a modelled, quantitative, expert-dominated approach could take on a disproportionate power in decision making, where better decisions may additionally require a more dialogue-based, participatory and engaged process.  We would particularly like to find a framework making best use of available evidence and marrying expert judgement to mitigate this risk.

The outcome of the project will be development or contribution towards the development of a consistent methodology that can be acceptable to all collaborators including local communities, developers and advisers in bringing forward and reviewing the evidence base and its many uncertainties for this type of casework.



Up to £15,000 is available for this initiative. Applicants should provide a 4 page A4 document setting out how they would approach the task and why they think they are suitable to carry it out. They should provide details of grant administration, finances, time line and deliverables (and an indication of supervisory responsibility for junior researchers if applicable).

The proposal will include ideas about the kinds of information needed for the study, how it will be analysed and followed up, and the types of outcomes that may be expected.

Natural England will provide full access to case study material and arrange interviews with relevant stakeholders where requested by the successful applicant.  The proposal should set out clearly what is required so that this can be arranged in good time.  If you would like some further background reading from Natural England in advance of preparing the proposal please contact CRUISSE as below.

It is envisaged that a senior academic, postdoc or research student will apply to conduct the project themselves or to obtain funds to employ someone else suitable to conduct the work under their supervision over a period of about 6 months starting as soon as possible.

The PI, Co-I or other core members of the CRUISSE Network will be available for consultation and expect to receive informal updates on progress occasionally during the project as well as any formal deliverables specified by the applicant.

Before the project commences, the successful applicant in collaboration with the project partners will be expected to draw up a brief (maximum 2 page) summary of the expected outcomes and impacts of the work. This document should also set out the expected level of interaction between the applicant and the project partners, and an approximate timeline for the work.


Eligibility and Evaluation

Applications for Project 6 should be sent to

Applicants must be staff (including current postdocs and PDRA’s) working at an eligible UK institution. Please refer to the EPSRC Eligibility of organisations webpage to check your institution’s eligibility:


The proposals will be reviewed and evaluated quickly within the CRUISSE Network.

Deadline for Applications: 20th December 2017