Core EPI Faculty

Dr. Garrett Richards

Assistant Professor

Office: FC 2024


Phone: 709-639-6534

Dr. Garrett Richards has an interdisciplinary background in environmental studies and political science,and is broadly interested in knowledge mobilization for sustainability. He wants to understand how to take existing knowledge in universities and “move” it to where it can do the most good for society and the environment. How do we ensure produced knowledge about the environment will be useful and relevant? How might contemporary debates about energy and sustainability be better informed by expert knowledge? How (and where) can the policy-making process draw on academic research in order to arrive at more socially and ecologically sound decisions? In practice, this research examines partnerships between academia, government, and community, usually around issues of energy or climate change. Garrett is a board member for the NL branch of the Institute of Public Administration of Canada, the Internship Officer for the MAEP program, the Graduate Officer for the Transdisciplinary Sustainability PhD program, and the coordinator of the Environmental Policy Innovation Lab (a policy and research shop that engages with EPI’s external partners). Through a “flipped thesis” model, he is particularly interested to work with incoming students who are passionate about engaged research conducted in partnership with local organizations in NL – that is, who have more interest in addressing partner needs and doing high-impact work than in being attached to any specific research question.


  • PhD, Environmental Studies and Political Science (Interdisciplinary Studies), University of Victoria (2016), Dissertation: Climate Change Action through Co-Productive Design in Science-Policy Partnerships at Municipal, Provincial, and National Levels of Government
  • MES, Environment and Sustainability, University of Saskatchewan (2010), Thesis: Complexity as a Cause of Environmental Inaction: Case Studies of Large-Scale Wind Energy Development in Saskatchewan
  • BA, Political Studies, University of Saskatchewan (2008)
  • BSc, Environmental Studies and Biology, University of Saskatchewan (2007)

Research Interests

  • Climate change and renewable energy
  • Science-policy interfaces and evidence-based policy
  • Community-engaged research
  • Knowledge mobilization
  • Interdisciplinarity and transdisciplinarity
  • Deliberative democracy


  • Coordinator – Environmental Policy Innovation Lab aka EPILab (ongoing/open-ended)
  • Supervisor – Science-Policy Interfaces for Environmental Policy Innovation (funded, PhD student project)
  • Principal Investigator – Identifying Stakeholder Research Needs for Energy Planning and Development in Newfoundland and Labrador (funded, initial stages)
  • Co-Investigator – Future Ocean and Coastal Infrastructure:  Designing Safe, Sustainable and Inclusive Coastal Communities and Industries for Atlantic Canada (funded, large partnership)
  • Principal Investigator – Comparing the Science Outreach Activities of Government Scientists and University Scientists (funded, data collection stage)
  • Co-Investigator – Evaluation of the Role and Actions of Canadian Grantmaking Foundations in Response to Social Inequalities and Environmental Challenges aka PhiLab (funded, large partnership)
  • Principal Investigator – Beyond Interdisciplinarity: Building Co-Productive Research Dialogues for Climate Change (funded, data analysis stage)


Examples of Recent Courses Taught:

  • ENVP 6002: Research Design and Methods
  • ENVP 6001: Applied Environmental Problem-Solving
  • TRSU 7002: Transdisciplinary Methods in Sustainability Research

Supervised Students

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Environmental Policy


  • Mohammad Chehreh Ghani (2-Year)
  • Oluwaseyi Awosiyan (1-Year)
  • Hadiya Bamragha (2-Year)
  • Julia Fracassi (2-Year) – Co-Supervised with Dr. Doug Smith
  • Samira Hatami (2-Year)


  • Ali Mujahid (2-Year)
  • Rasheed Ature (2-Year)
  • Edward Asante (2-Year) – Co-Supervised with Dr. Sadia Jahanzeb
  • Genevieve Blankson (2-Year)
  • Marcel Clift (1-Year)
  • Benson Gihangange (1-Year)
  • Steve Hextall (1-Year) – Co-Supervised with Dr. Mery Perez
  • Katherina Wiese (1-Year)
  • Uwamahoro Clarisse (1-Year)
  • Samantha Burns (1-Year)

PhD in Transdisciplinary Sustainability


  • Natasha Pennell

Selected Publications

  • Richards, G. and M. Long. (2021). “Video Games and Learning about Climate Change.” Community Perspectives Article. Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship, vol. 13(3), article 9.
  • Tchoukaleyska, R., G. Richards, L. Vasseur, P. Manuel, and S. Breen. (2021). “Special Issue Introduction: Climate Change Knowledge Translation.” Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship, vol. 13(3), article 2.
  • Richards, G. (2020). “Introduction to Design Thinking for Social Innovation: A Tale of Three Labs (NouLAB, EPILab, and PhiLab).” Article in PhiLab Newsletter (September). Canadian Philanthropy Partnership Research Network.
  • Richards, G. (2020). “A Conundrum for Sustainability and Evaluating Philanthropy: How (and Whether) to Compare Environmental and Social Impacts.” Article in PhiLab Newsletter (June). Canadian Philanthropy Partnership Research Network.
  • Richards, G. (2020). “Evidence-Based Policy Making, Policy Evaluation, and Effective Altruism: Considerations for a Research Project on Social Impact Measurement in Atlantic Canada.” Article in PhiLab Newsletter (March). Canadian Philanthropy Partnership Research Network.
  • Richards, G. (2019). “The Science-Policy Relationship Hierarchy (SPRHi) Model of Co-Production: How Climate Science Organizations Have Influenced the Policy Process in Canadian Case Studies.” Policy Sciences, vol. 52(1), pp. 67-95.
  • Richards, G. and R. Carruthers Den Hoed (2018). “Seven Strategies of Climate Change Science Communication for Policy Change: Combining Academic Theory with Practical Evidence from Science-Policy Partnerships in Canada.” Chapter 11 (pp. 147-160) in Handbook of Climate Change Communication: Vol. 2 (eds. Filho, W., U. Azeiteiro, E. Manolas, and A. Azul, U. Azeiteiro, H. McGie). Cham: Springer International.
  • Richards, G. (2017). “How Research-Policy Partnerships Can Benefit Government: A Win-Win for Evidence-Based Policy Making.” Canadian Public Policy, vol. 43(2), pp. 165-170 (and Policy Options, September 14).
  • Richards, G. and Lacroix, K. (2015). “An Alternative Policy Evaluation of the British Columbia Carbon Tax: Broadening the Application of Elinor Ostrom’s Design Principles for Managing Common-Pool Resources.” Ecology and Society, vol. 20(2), art. 38.
  • Richards, G., K. Belcher, and B. Noble. (2013). “Informational Barriers to Effective Policy-Public Communication: A Case Study of Wind Energy Planning in Saskatchewan, Canada.” Canadian Public Policy, vol. 39, pp. 431-450.
  • Richards, G., B. Noble, and K. Belcher. (2012). “Barriers to Renewable Energy Development: A Case Study of Large-Scale Wind Energy in Saskatchewan, Canada.” Energy Policy, vol. 42, pp. 691-698.