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Dr Kerry Burton

Dr Kerry Burton

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

 Washington Singer 121


Washington Singer Laboratories, University of Exeter, Perry Road, Prince of Wales Road, Exeter, EX4 4QG, UK


I am a social scientist, with research interests in environmental politics, action, and civil society responses to environmental change. I completed a PhD in the Geography department at Exeter in 2012, which examined the violence of climate change and the non-violent actions and practices within climate justice networks. My current research examines place based actions, social innovation, and diverse economies aimed at reducing microplastic pollution, as part of the Exeter Multidisciplinary Plastics Research Hub (ExeMPlaR). 

Broad research specialisms

Environmental politics and governance

Sustainability and climate action

Civic methodologies and participatory research




PhD in Human Geography, University of Exeter

MSc in Sustainable Development, University of Exeter

Postgraduate Diploma in Environmental Policy in an International Context, Open University

BA Media Arts, University of Plymouth



Following a PhD in Human Geography, I have held both teachng and research roles: Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Exeter, Senior Teaching Associate at the University of Bristol,  Senior Lecturer in Geography and Water Security at the University of the West of England, Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Climate Justice, .

Research group links


Research interests

Current Project

I am currently undertaking research as part of the Exeter Multi-disciplinary Plastics Research (ExeMPlaR) team, a UKRI/NERC funded project that brings together academics from across the University of Exeter. The project responds to the growing issues of plastic waste and pollution by working toward solutions through action, innovation and social change. Within the project, my research examines environmental action on plastic waste and pollution and emergent social and environmental behaviours.

Current/Recent Grants and Funding

2017-2019 ESRC Seminar Series: Increasing Civil Society's capacity to deal with changing extreme weather risk: negotiating dichotomies in theory and practice (Co-I)

2018 Newton Fund: Social innovation for maintaining and restoring natural capital in post conflict Colombia 

Research projects


ExeMPLaR is a Multidisciplinary Plastics Research Hub led by the University of Exeter. The hub will use the principles of the circular economy to address the accumulation, impact and costs of plastics in the environment, whilst maintaining applications for multiple high value purposes. The initial 18–month programme will address both the causes of the problems and efforts to solve them, rather than just treating the symptoms. This research effort connects technical solutions, human behaviours, social, environmental and economic systems with circular economy principles.

Research grants

  • 2017 ESRC
    Increasing Civil Society's capacity to deal with changing extreme weather risk. Co-I


Supervision / Group

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