Dr. Garrett Richards

Garrett Richards

Assistant Professor

Office: FC 2024

Email: grichards@grenfell.mun.ca

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 cases of public deliberation as well as partnerships between academia, government, and community, usually around issues of energy or climate change. Garrett is a board member for the Environmental Studies Association of Canada, is passionate about public speaking and debating, and is the director of the Environmental Policy Innovation Lab (a policy and research shop that engages with EPI’s external partners).


  • PhD, Environmental Studies and Political Science, 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

  • renewable energy
  • science-policy interfaces and evidence-based policy
  • knowledge mobilization
  • interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary
  • deliberative democracy
  • science outreach


  • Coordinator – Environmental Policy Innovation Lab aka EPILab (Ongoing/Open-ended). This initiative integrates EPILab to study cause-effect scenarios and policy decision making.
  • Principal Investigator – Identifying Stakeholder Research Needs for Energy Planning and Development in Newfoundland and Labrador (not yet 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). This initiative will examine metrics for the social impact measurement of small grants.  
  • Principal Investigator – Knowledge Mobilization and Energy Debates in Newfoundland and Labrador: An Interdisciplinary Review (funded, exploratory stage)
  • Principal Investigator – Beyond Interdisciplinarity: Building Co-Productive Research Dialogues for Climate Change (funded, analysis stage)


Examples of Recent Courses Taught:

  • ENVP 6002: Research Design and Methods
  • ENVP 6001: Applied Environmental Problem-Solving

Supervised Students

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


  • Ali Mujahid (2-Year)
  • Genevieve Blankson (2-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)

Selected Publications

  • 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.