prof.dr. E. Turnhout (Esther)

Chair of Science, Technology, and Society

About Me

Prof. dr. Esther Turnhout is chair of Science, Technology and Society at the Section of Science, Technology and Policy Studies (STePS) of the 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.


Keynote Lecture at the World Biodiversity Forum 26 June - 1 July 2022 Davos 


Publication in Science: Do we need a new Science-Policy Interface for Food Systems?


My 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

My lecture on the politics of co-production for Healthcascade.eu: The politics of co-creation: challenges and opportunities for all stake- and knowledge holders

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


Agriculture & Biology
Carbon Footprint
National Forests
Earth & Environmental Sciences

Ancillary Activities

  • Elsevier
    Editor in Chief of Environmental Science & Policy
  • WTMC - The Netherlands Graduate Research School of Science and Technology Studies
    Scientific Director of WTMC - The Netherlands Graduate Research School of Science and Technology Studies


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.


Turnhout, E., Beaulieu, A. , & Weber, A. (2021). Trust and truth: Spring workshop. (WTMC Series on Teaching and Learning; Vol. 2022, No. 01). Netherlands Graduate Research School of Science, Technology and Modern Culture. https://doi.org/10.3990/4.2666-2892.2022.01
Turnhout, E., Duncan, J., Candel, J., Maas, T. Y., Roodhof, A. M., DeClerck, F., & Watson, R. T. (2021). Do we need a new science-policy interface for food systems? Science, 373(6559), 1093-1095. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.abj5263
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‐Assouline, 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‐2020 biodiversity agendaConservation Letters, DOI: 10.1111/conl.12805.

Turnhout, E. Metze, T., Wyborn, C., Klenk, N., Louder, E., 2020. “The Politics of Co-Production: Participation, Power, and Transformation.” Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 42: 15–21.

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. 

UT Research Information System

Google Scholar Link


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 utwente.nl

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 


Contact Details

Visiting Address

University of Twente
Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Ravelijn (building no. 10), room 4420
Hallenweg 17
7522NH  Enschede
The Netherlands

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Mailing Address

University of Twente
Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Ravelijn  4420
P.O. Box 217
7500 AE Enschede
The Netherlands

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