Dr Aiora Zabala

Senior Fellow at University of Cambridge

Profile photo Dr Aiora Zabala

Dr Aiora Zabala is Lecturer in Economics at The Open University, and Senior Fellow at the Department of Land Economy, where she delivers lectures and coordinates teaching in Environmental Policy and Economics. She has taught environmental policy, economics and methods since 2013. Between 2017 and 2021 she was full-time Senior Editor at the scientific journal Nature Sustainability, assessing research manuscripts across the social sciences and writing science communication pieces for a broad audience.

Her research is focused on challenges for implementation and effectiveness of environmental and sustainability governance across scales, particularly on two areas: understanding the diversity of views on controversial or conflictual issues, and the spatial variability of impacts. This includes adoption and diffusion of sustainable land-use practices, social implications of biodiversity indicators, policy acceptability, and drivers and motivations of behavioural change.

She has published research on a range of sustainability policies, such as environmental and conservation programs in rural areas in Mexico and South Africa, deforestation drivers at large scales, peatland fires in Indonesia, and public policy for sustainable transport to industrial estates. Her work is published in journals like Ecological Economics, Global Environmental Change and World Development.

She approaches these questions using a pluralistic methodological approach. Her methods' expertise includes R statistical language, Q methodology to understand perspectives and conflicting narratives, econometrics, multi-criteria decision methods, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and data visualisation.

She contributes regularly to major media outlets in her native language, writing a monthly newspaper column and live radio collaborations.

  • 10 June 2021, 3pm

    How to be a science diplomat in Europe

    The Centre for Science and Policy is collaborating with the Berlin Center for Global Engagement of the Berlin University Alliance to organise a talk which will be delivered by Dr Jan Marco Müller – a former CSaP Policy Fellow, and the current Science & Technology Advisor in the European External Action Service (EEAS).

  • 29 June 2017

    2017 CSaP Annual Conference: How does academia contribute to the work of government?

    Our 2017 annual conference will bring together members of our extensive network to discuss some of the opportunities for policy makers at both local and national levels to draw on academic expertise in support of more effective policy making.