Dr Claire Helen Quinn

Dr Claire Helen Quinn


I am an environmental social scientist with over 20 years of experience working on interdisciplinary projects in Africa, Europe and Asia. My research advances understanding of social-ecological systems focusing on: 1) smallholder livelihood vulnerability, adaptation and resilience; and 2) knowledge and governance for climate smart agriculture. I am interdisciplinary in my approach, drawing on theories and methods from both the natural and social sciences. My research has improved our understanding of the role natural resources in smallholder livelihoods, of institutions in shaping livelihoods and adaptation to climate change, and has advanced practice in stakeholder engagement and knowledge exchange.


  • Deputy Director of Research

Research interests

Current projects:

  • Theme Lead - building policy and practice capacity for translating evidence into pathways for SDG-compliant agri-food systems; GCRF-AFRICAP
  • Principle investigator - Harnessing multiple benefits from resilient mangrove systems; Newton South East Asia Partnership Programme (ESRC)
  • Co-investigator - Reducing the risk of the introduction and spread of Invasive Non Native Species to and within the river catchments of Yorkshire and across GB; NERC Innovation Grant
  • Co-investigator - linking top-down and bottom-up approaches in climate change adaptation research in sub-Saharan Africa; ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy

Current research students:

  • Hanna Pettersson (2018-2021) The future of human-carnivore co-existence in Europe (co-supervised with George Holmes, SRI, University of Leeds). NERC DTP funded.
  • Zubaida Baba (2018-2021) Environmental and social implications of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in North East Nigeria (co-supervised with Lindsay Stringer, SRI, University of Leeds).
  • Jonas Cromwell (2016-2020) Food Waste and Recovery in Food Supply Chain in Tanzania: From Global Supply Chain to Local Food Systems (co-supervised with Stephen Whitfield, SRI, University of Leeds and Megan Blake, Geography, University of Sheffield). ESRC WRDTP funded (3+1).
  • Stephanie Bradbeer (2016-2020) Better Biosecurity to Slow the Spread of Invasive Non Native Species (co-supervised with Alison Dunn, School of Biology, University of Leeds). NERC-CASE funded.
  • Gabriel Lopez Porras (2016-2019) Assessing water governance in Mexico’s semi-arid grassland systems, with a view to identifying entry points for improving resilience (co-supervised with Lindsay Stringer, SRI, University of Leeds).
  • Caitriona Shannon (2015-2019) Slowing the spread of invasive alien species: biosecurity best practice and stakeholder engagement (co-supervised with Alison Dunn, School of Biology, University of Leeds). NERC DTP funded.

Completed research students:

  • Vincent Basupi (completed 2018) Privatisation of communal lands: Challenges and prospects for sustainable land and environmental management in the lower Okavango Delta areas, Botswana (co-supervised with Andrew Dougill, SRI, University of Leeds). Botswana International University of Science & Technology funded.
  • Ben Wood (completed 2016) Socially just triple-wins? An evaluation of projects that pursue climate compatible development goals in Malawi (co-supervised with Andrew Dougill & Lindsay Stringer, University of Leeds). ESRC (CCCEP) funded.
  • Sonia Hoque (completed 2016) Understanding poverty through the lens of sustainable livelihoods and climate change vulnerability: a comparison of climatic hotspots in Bangladesh (co-supervised with Susannah Sallu, SRI, University of Leeds). University of Leeds International Research Scholarship funded.
  • Joanes Atela (Completed 2015) REDD+ institutional design and implementation within local socioeconomic settings: evidence from Kenya (co-supervised with Piers Forster, School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds). University of Leeds International Research Scholarship funded.
  • Steven Orchard (Completed 2015) Exploring adaptive capacity in mangrove social-ecological systems of rural Vietnam (co-supervised with Lindsay Stringer, SRI, University of Leeds). ESRC (CCCEP) funded.
  • Rachel Berman (Completed 2015) Developing climate change coping capacity into adaptive capacity in Uganda (co-supervised with Jouni Paavola, SRI, University of Leeds). ESRC funded.
  • Chloe Sutcliffe (Completed 2015) Cultivar adoption as a strategy for adapting to climate change: maize variety selection and cultivation amongst small-scale farmers in Malawi (co-supervised with Andrew Dougill, SRI, University of Leeds). ESRC (CCCEP) funded.
  • Felix Kalaba (Completed 2014) Forest ecosystem services, rural livelihoods and carbon storage in Miombo woodland in the Copperbelt region of Zambia (co-supervised with Andrew Dougill, SRI, University of Leeds). Commonwealth Scholarship funded.
  • Yingluk Kanchanaroek (Completed 2014) Property Rights Regimes in Complex Fishery Management in Tonle Sap: Combining Choice Experiments and Agent-Based Simulations (co-supervised with Mette Termensen, Aarhus University, Denmark). Thammasat University and EEPSEA (Economy and Environment Program for Southeast Asia) funded.
<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://environment.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD, Social Policy and Environmental Management, University of York
  • MRes, Ecology and Environmental Management, University of York
  • BSc, (Hons) Biological Sciences: Ecology specialism Kings College

Professional memberships

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Student education

I lead a module at undergraduate level and also give lectures on a range of other modules across our UG programmes. I supervise both Undergraduate and Masters Dissertations.

Research groups and institutes

  • Environment and Development
  • Sustainability Research Institute

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>