The role of oral histories in understanding science-policy interrelations

25 June 2019, 12pm


Date: 25 June, 2019

Time: 12.00-16.30

Venue: Cambridge Judge Business School

Dr Alice Vadrot, principal investigator of the ERC funded research project MARIPOLDATA (which investigates the politics of marine biodiversity data), and the Centre for Science and Policy will be hosting a workshop on the role of oral histories in understanding science-policy interrelations.


In order to protect marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ) governments are currently negotiating a new legally binding treaty under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Marine biodiversity science plays a central role in supporting intergovernmental efforts to identify, protect and monitor marine biodiversity. This field will also inform governments on particular aspects of marine biodiversity, including its economic use and contribution to biosecurity. It will also shape the practicalities of certain policy options and the potential effects on ocean science conducted in ABNJ.

Mapping the overall field of marine biodiversity science, the leading scientific experts, how they are connected and how they are involved in international negotiations, is a necessary research step for understanding science-policy interrelations more broadly and why they matter in current intergovernmental negotiations for protecting marine biodiversity. Given that biodiversity science represents a heterogeneous bundle of research activities, interests and methodologies, individual scientists provide an important entry point for assessing and analysing how marine biodiversity has emerged as a key issue within ocean politics.


The key aims of the workshop are:

  1. To discuss how oral history contributes to understanding science-policy interrelations using case studies
  2. To present the MARIPOLDATA project and discuss its use of oral history
  3. To identify opportunities and challenges in applying oral history including
    1. The selection of interviewees
    2. Interview techniques
    3. Analysis of interview material
    4. Storage and dissemination
Dr Rob Doubleday

Centre for Science and Policy, University of Cambridge