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Photo of Professor Claire Dunlop

Professor Claire Dunlop

BA MSc PhD (Strathclyde) FAcSS FJUC FRSA

Professor of Politics and Public Policy


01392 724690

Amory B205

I am a political scientist and, specifically, a public policy and administration scholar. My main research interests are the politics of expertise and knowledge utilization; epistemic communities and advisory politics; risk governance; policy learning and analysis; impact assessment; and policy narratives. I explore these conceptual interests at the UK and EU levels principally, and most frequently in relation to agricultural, food and environmental issues. Most recently, I have started to research LGBT legislation in the UK.

Between 2010-2016, I was convenor of the UK Political Studies Association’s (PSA) Public Policy and Administration specialist group and I am now a PSA Trustee and member of the Senior Leadership Team. I am currently editor of Public Policy and Administration. Please feel to contact me at my work email.

To download copies of my CV, publications and see work in progress, please go to my pages or Google Scholar pages

Research group links

Research interests

  • Cognitive Theories of Decision-Making
  • Comparative Public Policy (in particular UK, EU and North America)
  • Epistemic Communities
  • Knowledge Production
  • Policy Learning
  • Regulation and Public Policy (in particular pertaining to agriculture, the environment, food safety and energy policy)
  • Risk Governance
  • Science and Politics
  • Scientific Advisory Structures
  • Theories of Public Policy and Analysis

Research supervision

I am happy to consider PhD supervision in any of the areas outlined under Research. Feel free to send me an email to explore further.

Research students

I am / have been first or co-supervisor to nine students:

Ditte Madsen 'Public Policy Healthcare: Interpretative Policy Analysis'. (June 2019 onwards)

Titilayo Ayoola 'Gay Rights and the Diaspora in Nigeria'. (October 2019 onwards with Dr Elena Gadjanova)

Andrea Begley 'Europeanisation of Health Policy in Northern Ireland'. (October 2016 onwards with Dr Sarah Cooper)

Titilayo Soremi ‘Narrative Policy Framework and Sustainable Development in Nigeria’. (co-supervised with Prof. Claudio Radaelli). PhD Awarded November 2018. External examiner: Professor Diane Stone, University of Warwick.

Kai Wang ‘An Investigation of Interdisciplinary Research Patterns in R&D Biotechnology Sector in China’. (co-supervised with Prof. John Dupre). PhD Awarded December 2012. External examiner: Dr Xiaobai Chen, University of Edinburgh.

Eric Twum ‘Environmental Financial Assurance as a Regulatory Tool in Developing Countries: Case Study of Ghanaian Mining Bonds’ (co-supervised with Prof. Andrew Massey). PhD Awarded November 2012. External examiner: Dr Reginald Cline-Cole, University of Birmingham. 

Sarah Cooper ‘Europeanization of Abortion Policy: Comparing Ireland and the UK’. PhD Awarded February 2012. External examiner: Prof. Dorte Martinsen, University of Copenhagen.

Fabrizio de Francesco ‘Diffusion of Regulatory Impact Assessment’ (co-supervised with Prof. Claudio Radaelli). PhD Awarded October 2010. External examiner: Prof. Andrew Jordan, University of East Anglia. 

Julia Neville ‘Explaining the Variations in the Development of Municipal General Hospitals in 1930s Devon: Comparing Plymouth and Exeter’. PhD Awarded March 2010. External examiner: Prof. John Stewart, Glasgow Caledonian University. Julia is Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Exeter.

I am / have been second supervisor to several students:

Wesam Lasheen 'Policy Transfer and Water Regulation in Egypt' (first supervisor Prof. Andrew Massey). PhD Awarded February 2019. External examiner: Prof. Paul Carmichael, University of Ulster. 

Anas Buera 'Narratives of the Libyan Leaders: Lessons from the Authoritarian Epoch' (first supervisor Prof. Claudio Radaelli). PhD Awarded September 2015. External examiner: Prof. Philippe Zittoun, University of Lyon. 

Ayako Nakamura 'Is Culture Measurable? Organisational Culture of Risk - Prisons in England and Japan' (first supervisor Prof. Oliver James). PhD Awarded December 2011

Ahmed Badran 'Management of Privatized Public Utilities: A Network Perspective on the Regulatory Process' (first supervisor Prof. Oliver James). PhD Awarded March 2010.

Research Fellows current and past: Serkan Celyk (2006/07); Nicola Corkin (2012/13); Jonathan Kamkhaji (2012-onward)

PhD Examinations

I have been internal examiner to a variety of PhDs at the University of Exeter:

Kathleen Lund (2005) ‘A Study of Devon Elites’; Tom Richardson (2010) ‘Science and the Politics of Sustainability’; Lorna Schrefler (2012) ‘The Role of Economic Analysis in the Decision-Making Process of Independent Regulatory Agencies’; Abdullah Dhawi Alotaibi (2012) ‘Civil Aviation Policy and Privatisation in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’; Pietro Berto (2014) 'Biofuel Policy-Making in the UK'; Helena Cook (2014) 'Descriptive and Symbolic Representation in New Zealand and the UK'; Adrian Millican (2015) 'Voting: Duty, Obligation or the Job of a Good Citizen?'.

I have been external examiner to a variety of PhDs:

Daniel Fitzpatrick (2011) ‘Regulation in the British Political Tradition’, University of Sheffield; Jessica Templeton (2011) ‘Framing Elite Discourse: Science and the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants’, London School of Economics and Political Science; Ozan Balci (2015) 'Administrative Reforms and District Governors in Turkey', University of Southampton; Rebecca O'Neill (2016) 'Claims, Trains and Evidence: The Case of HS2', University of Birmingham; Lucky Benson (2018) 'An Examination of E-Government in the Delivery of Public Service in Nigeria: A Policy Transfer Analysis', University of Manchester; Justyna Bandola-Gill (2019) 'Between Autonomy and Engagement: Interpreting and Practising Knowledge Exchange in UK Academia', University of Edinburgh; Andrea Slavona (2019) 'Social Construction of Showpeople Influences Policy Designs', University of Stirling.


Other information

Research Funding / Grants Awarded

1997-98 ESRC MSc Studentship K00429713307 Quota Award for Public Policy MSc

1998-2001 ESRC PhD Studentship R00429834387 Epistemic Communities and Knowledge Interpretation

2004 West of Scotland NHS (Wosrad) Occupational Health on the Edge: A Scoping Study to Investigate the Health Care Needs of Big Issue Vendors in the West of Scotland £15,165 (with Professor Ewan B Macdonald)

2006 British Council Chevening Scholar Award for Serkan Celyk Risk Governance in Turkey's Railways

2008 British Academy Small Grant Salience, Credibility and Legitimacy in Knowledge Production: the Case of Bovine Tuberculosis in the UK £4746

2008 Sustainable Development Commission Regulating Public Services for Sustainable Development £5800 

2009-2013 European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant ALREG – Analysing Learning in Regulatory Governance €948,447.74 (with Professor Claudio Radaelli)

2014 (September) British Council Overseas Researcher Programme – Policy Learning £39,600 (with Professor Neil Collins)

2015-2016 ESRC Impact Co-Creation Grant - Beyond Elf and Safety Myths £18,292

2016 Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) IAA Project Cultivation Grant – Learning to Design (L-2-D): Regulatory Impact Assessment and Learning Processes in International Organizations £2,998

2016 Political Studies Association (PSA) Pushing the Boundaries Fund – Understanding and Interpreting the Key Metrics in Research and Teaching: Early Career Researchers in PPA £1,500

2016-2021 European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant PROTEGO – Procedural Tools for Effective Governance €1,792,778 (with Professor Claudio Radaelli)

2019-2023 Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Impact Accelerator Account, University of Exeter Institutional Award (C.A. Dunlop as PI), £1,150,000


Internal Recognition

Shortlisted for Exeter Student Guild's Teaching Awards 2010

UCU Representative for the College of Social Sciences and International Studies, 2010

University of Exeter Merit Award 2010/11; 2011/12; 2013/14

Outward Mobility Academic Fellowship – Fudan University, Shanghai, 2014/15

Outward Mobility Academic Fellowship – University of Queensland, Brisbane, 2017/18


External Recognition

Fellow, Higher Education Academy, 2008

Convenor, Public Policy and Administration Specialist Group, UK Political Studies Association, 2010-2016

Editor, Public Policy and Administration, 2014-present

Trustee and SLT Member, UK Political Studies Association, 2018-2021

Vice Chair, IPSA Research Committee 30 Comparative Public Policy, 2018-present

External Examiner, University of Surrey (2012-2016); University of West of Scotland (2014-2018); University of Stirling(2014-2018); University of Ulster (2015-2019); Birkbeck College, University of London (2016-2020)

Editorial Board Member, Teaching Public Administration; Local Government Studies, European Policy Analysis, Policy Design and Practice

Grant reviewer for British Academy; British Council; Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC); European Research Council (ERC); Independent Research Fund Denmark (IRFD); Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Canada; Education University of Hong Kong (EdHK)

Manuscript reviewer for Area (2017), Cambridge University Press (2018), Critical Policy Studies (2014), Edward Elgar (2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019), Environment and Planning C – Government and Policy (2015), Environmental Policy and Governance (2014), Environmental Politics (2011, 2012, 2015, 2017), European Journal of Political Research (2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015), European Journal of Risk Research (2015), European Policy Analysis (2016), European Union Politics (2019), Evaluation (2009), Food Review (2008), German Political Science Quarterly (2019), Governance (2014, 2016, 2017), International Environmental Agreements (2015), International Studies Quarterly (2010, 2011), International Studies Review (2011), Journal of Chinese Governance (2018, 2019), Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis (2016), Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning (2011), Journal of European Integration (2013, 2019), Journal of European Public Policy (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2018), Journal of Public Policy (2015, 2019), Journal of Risk Research (2014, 2019), Law and Policy (2013), Local Government Studies (2014), Manchester University Press (2017), Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly (2012), Oxford University Press (2009, 2010, 2011, 2015, 2017, 2019), Palgrave (2016, 2018, 2019), Palgrave Communications (2017, 2018), Policy Press (2016), Policy and Internet (2015), Policy and Politics (2015, 2016, 2017), Policy and Society (2013, 2017), Policy Sciences (2011, 2013, 2016), Policy Studies Journal (2010), Political Studies (2015), Political Studies Review (2011, 2015, 2016, 2018), Politics (2008), Politics and Policy (2018), Polity Press (2019), Public Administration (2013, 2014, 2018), Public Administration Review (2017, 2019), Public Management Review (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013), Public Money and Management (2013), Public Policy and Administration (2007, 2008, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018), Regulation and Governance (2012, 2015), Review of International Studies (2010, 2011), Routledge (2011, 2012, 2016, 2017), Sage (2011, 2014, 2016), Science and Public Policy (2010, 2015, 2017, 2019), Science, Technology and Human Values (2012), Social Science Quarterly (2008), Springer (2011), The Encyclopedia of Political Thought (2012), Third World Quarterly (2019), Urban Geography (2018), Westview Press (2016)


Administrative Duties

2004-2007 MA Dissertations Co-ordinator

2006-2008 Undergraduate Co-ordinator

2006-2009 Undergraduate Admissions Tutor

2010-2016 Employability Lead

2014-2015 Senior Politics Tutor

2015-2016 Director of Impact

2016-present Academic Lead

2017-2018 Director of Research

2018-present University Impact Peer Review College

2018-present University Public Engagement Group

Modules taught


I am a political scientist and, specifically, a public policy and administration scholar. My main research interests are the politics of expertise and knowledge utilization; epistemic communities and advisory politics; risk governance; policy learning and analysis; impact assessment; and policy narratives and myths. I explore these conceptual interests at the UK and EU levels principally, and most frequently in relation to agricultural, food and environmental issues. From 2010-2016, I convened the UK Political Studies Association’s (PSA) Public Administration Specialist Group and since January 2014 have been co-editor of Public Policy and Administration.

To download copies of my CV, publications and see work in progress, please go to my pages.

I graduated with a first class honours degree in Politics from the University of Strathclyde in 1997, and completed an MSc in Public Policy with distinction in 1998. In 2002, I completed my PhD on epistemic communities and knowledge production in the EU which was supervised by David Judge and examined by Laura Cram and Claudio Radaelli. Throughout my postgraduate years, I taught on a variety of introductory politics and EU policy courses at Strathclyde, Stirling and Glasgow Caledonian universities. While writing-up my thesis, I worked for the Scottish Consumer Council as a research consultant. This fuelled a desire to spend some time out of the library to get some hands-on experience linking research with policy. So, in October 2002, I started a research post at the Scottish Executive in Edinburgh. Following this, I ran an NHS Health Scotland multi-methods study on teacher stress and occupational health policy at the University of Glasgow’s Public and Community Health Department with Ewan Macdonald. Though I enjoyed my time at the research-policy interface, the lure of academia proved too strong and, in August 2004, I took up a lectureship at the University Exeter. I was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2009; Associate Professor in 2015, and Professor in 2016.

My career at Exeter is rewarding and challenging in equal measure. I am fortunate to have been able to develop three areas of my research interests – science and decision-making; environmental regulation and policy learning – through funding from the British Academy (on bovine tuberculosis and epistemic communities), the Sustainable Development Commission (on regulation of sustainable development) and the European Research Council (on policy learning). This latter ERC grant is for a 4-year project with Claudio Radaelli and ran from 2009-2012. Claudio and I are now working on another 4-year ERC grant on policy instruments of acountability.

Of course, there is more to being an academic than the pursuit of a research agenda. Communicating research findings and teaching is at the heart of university life and it is something that I throw myself into with relish. I teach public policy and administration related modules to all undergraduate years and, at the MA level, I teach risk governance on our Masters in Public Administration (MPA) programme. I have supervised and co-supervised eight PhD students to successful completion, and am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. I have held a number of major administrative posts in my department. After being MA dissertation coordinator, I spent two years as UG coordinator, then three years as the department’s UG Admissions Tutor. Between 2010-2015 I was the academic lead on employability and during that time set up the Politics Internship Programme for Undergraduate Students in Westminster. In 2015-2017, I was Politics Director of Impact and since 2017 have been Director of Research. I am also proud to lecture to year 12 students for the outreach initiative Realising Opportunities.

In addition to my research and teaching responsibilities at Exeter, I am also involved in teaching and knowledge transfer to the wider academic profession and public sector. Most notably, between 2008-2014 I was privileged to teach on the Masters in Public Affairs (MPA) at the internationally renowned Sciences Po in Paris. The contacts made at Sciences Po-Paris have been invaluable in the design and development of aspects of the Exeter MPA.

Though I’m as bad as most academics at striking a healthy work-life balance, in my spare time I enjoy travelling with my girlfriend, abstract art appreciation (especially Barnett Newman and Clyfford Still, and to a lesser extent Mark Rothko and Paul Klee), wine tasting with pals, listening to the Beatles (especially Revolver and Abbey Road) and Tamla Motown, playing with our Persian cats and golf (though not simultaneously!), bird watching, reading biographies and spotting blimps in the sky.

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