Prof. dr. Esther Turnhout is chair of Science, Technology and Society at the Section of Knowledge, Transformation & Society (KiTeS), University of Twente, The Netherlands. She is an interdisciplinary social scientist with expertise in science and technology studies, environmental studies and political science. Her research and teaching focuses on the interactions between science and lay, Indigenous and local knowledge systems, and on policy and governance for biodiversity and sustainability transformations. She has published numerous articles on the biodiversity science-policy interface and other topics in high impact journals and she is also the first author of the book Environmental Expertise: Connecting Science, Policy and Society’ with Cambridge University Press. She is editor in chief of the interdisciplinary journal Environmental Science & Policy. She plays several active roles in the Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) and was an author of the IPBES Global Assessment of biodiversity and ecosystem services. Since January 2022, she is the Scientific Director of WTMC - the Dutch Graduate Research School for Science and Technology Studies.


Opinie artikel 'De inktzwarte keerzijde van effici√ęntie: oneerlijke verdeling van de ruimte en een ongezonde leefomgeving'¬†gepubliceerd in¬†Trouw

The text and video of my inaugural lecture 'A better knowledge is possible: transforming science and technology for justice, pluralism, and sustainability'. See here for the video and here for the text

The KiTeS section participates in the Horizon Europe project BioTraCes. The project uses a participatory research approach to support local cases and catalyse transformative change for biodiversity, justice, and human-ecological well-being. A news item can be found here. You can follow updates on the project website, twitter or LinkedIn.


Presentation for the international workshop: Progress, Challenges, and Opportunities for Sustainability Science of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, November 30-December 2 2020:  Transforming Global Environmental Knowledge

Public lecture (in Dutch) for the municipality of Rotterdam on Citizen Science: Kennis over/voor de natuur: het wat, hoe, wie en waartoe van biodiversiteitsmonitoring

Roundtable conversation on the state and challenges of Nature and Landscape in The Netherlands (in Dutch): De staat van het Nederlandse landschap | Rondetafel gesprek met Andrea van Pol


  • Social Sciences

    • Knowledge
    • Science
    • Policy
    • Process
    • Science Policy
    • Linear Model
    • Materials
  • Arts and Humanities

    • Literature


Ancillary activities

  • Endangered Landscapes ProgramMember of Oversight and Selection Panel of the Endangered Landscapes Program
  • IPBESSelected expert Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES)
  • WTMC - The Netherlands Graduate Research School of Science and Technology StudiesScientific Director of WTMC - The Netherlands Graduate Research School of Science and Technology Studies
  • Wij.LandBoard member of Wij.Land
  • NWODutch Science Foundation (NWO)

I am interested in undertaking and supervising research into the political dimensions and consequences of science and technology in sustainability, climate change, environmental governance, and forest and biodiversity conservation. This research is done with a view to improving the legitimacy and accountability of science and technology, among others by transforming the way knowledge production is done and by including lay and Indigenous knowledge and facilitating participatory and deliberative processes of knowledge co-production. Conceptually and theoretically, my research draws on science & technology studies, policy analysis and political theory, and environmental humanities.


Raising the carbonized forest: Science and technologies of singularizationEnvironment and Planning F: Philosophy, Theory, Models, Methods and Practice (E-pub ahead of print/First online). Turnhout, E. & Lynch, C. R.
The landscape is a trap: Duck decoys as multispecies atmospheres of deception and betrayalTransactions of the Institute of British Geographers (E-pub ahead of print/First online). van Heijgen, E., Driessen, C. & Turnhout, E. research agenda for the science of actionable knowledge: Drawing from a review of the most misguided to the most enlightened claims in the science-policy interface literatureEnvironmental Science and Policy, 144, 174-186. Jagannathan, K., Emmanuel, G., Arnott, J., Mach, K. J., Bamzai-Dodson, A., Goodrich, K., Meyer, R., Neff, M., Sjostrom, K. D., Timm, K. M. F., Turnhout, E., Wong-Parodi, G., Bednarek, A. T., Meadow, A., Dewulf, A., Kirchhoff, C. J., Moss, R. H., Nichols, L., Oldach, E., ‚Ķ Klenk, N. salt worlds: causation and material participationCritical policy studies, 17(2), 297-315. Meesters, M. E., Turnhout, E. & Behagel, J. H. at work: Perspectives on labour: Spring Workshop. Netherlands Graduate Research School of Science, Technology and Modern Culture. Turnhout, E., Supper, A. & Weber, A. Summer School Algorithmic 2023. Netherlands Graduate Research School of Science, Technology and Modern Culture. Turnhout, E., Supper, A. & Weber, A. (online workshop): Autumn Workshop 2023. Netherlands Graduate Research School of Science, Technology and Modern Culture. Turnhout, E., Supper, A. & Weber, A. futures: Workshop. Netherlands Graduate Research School of Science, Technology and Modern Culture. Turnhout, E., Supper, A. & Weber, A.

Other contributions

Recent key publications on transforming environmental science and governance

Lahsen, M., Turnhout, E., 2021. How norms, needs and power in science obstruct transformations to sustainability. Environmental Research Letters, 16, 025008. 

Pascual, U., Adams, W.M., Lele, S., Mace, G., Turnhout, E., 2021. Biodiversity and the challenge of pluralism. Nature Sustainablity, DOI: 10.1038/s41893-021-00694-7.

Turnhout, E.,¬†McElwee, P., Chiroleu‚ÄźAssouline, M.,¬†Clapp, J., Isenhour, C., Kelemen, E., Jackson, T., Miller, D.c., Rusch, G.M., Spangenberg, J.H., Waldron, A., 2021.¬†Enabling transformative economic change in the post‚Äź2020 biodiversity agenda.¬†Conservation Letters, DOI:¬†10.1111/conl.12805.

Turnhout, E.¬†Metze, T., Wyborn, C., Klenk, N., Louder, E., 2020. ‚ÄúThe Politics of Co-Production: Participation, Power, and Transformation.‚Ä̬†Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 42: 15‚Äď21.

Turnhout, E., Purvis, A., 2020. Biodiversity and species extinction: categorisation, calculation, and communication. Griffith Law Review, 29, 669-685.

Turnhout, E., Tuinstra, W. & Halffman, W. 2019. Environmental Expertise: Connecting Science, Policy and Society. Cambridge University Press. 

Research profiles

Courses academic year 2023/2024

Courses in the current academic year are added at the moment they are finalised in the Osiris system. Therefore it is possible that the list is not yet complete for the whole academic year.

Courses academic year 2022/2023

I frequently give interviews and am available for commentaries and interviews on topics such as:

Sustainability, biodiversity, forest and nature conservation

Relations between Science, Politics and Society

The Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES)

In the press

Our article in Science Do we need a Science-Policy Interface for Food Systems? was covered in different media outlets: 

Article in NRC 21 September 2021 by Martine Kamsma: Wie bepaalt de Agenda van een VN Top over Woedsel?

Article on Grist 24 September 2021 by Joseph Winters: Why many Food Experts don't want a new International Body for Food Science

News on

News item 3 September 2021 Would an IPCC for Food be Useful?

Article in UToday 19 October 2021: We need to change how Science is done 


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