David Edwards

Email: d.edwards.2@research.gla.ac.uk

PhD in Geography and Earth Sciences (Human Geography)

Research title: Towards a Postcolonial Ecology: Governance of Environment and Health in China

Research Summary

My original academic training was in Chinese, China studies and political science. After several years working in the UK and China in political risk analysis, I returned to academia to pursue an MSc in Nature, Society and Environmental Governance at the University of Oxford, from which I graduated with distinction, and subsequently applied to the University of Glasgow to undertake doctoral study in Human Geography. My current research is theoretically informed by Science and Technology Studies (STS) as well as governmentality, postcolonial and feminist studies. I have two primary interests.

International collaboration in critical zone science

Building on my MSc dissertation, and time spent as a research assistant for the UK-China Critical Zone Observatory, I investigate processes of international collaboration in critical zone science (interdisciplinary study of the earth’s ‘critical zone’, the area between the bottom of water aquifers and the top of the tree canopy). My work uses textual analysis of environmental science, policy analysis, and interviews to reflect on the spatial politics, conceptual framings, and development paradigms of critical zone science collaborations in China.

The governance of environment and health in China after Covid-19

In my doctoral research, I am focusing on the relations between environment and health governance in China as they evolve in response to Covid-19.


  • 2020-2023: Scottish Graduate School of Social Science Studentship in Human Geography 
  • 2008-2009: Stephen D. Hassenfeld fellowship, Johns Hopkins University - Nanjing University Center for Chinese and American Studies
  • 2007-2008: HSBC scholarship, School of Oriental and African Studies


  • 2020: Accepted speaker at the 5th Interdisciplinary Desert Conference, the University of Oxford: “How does ‘rocky desertification’ frame people and place in the People’s Republic of China?” (Conference postponed due to Covid-19)
  • 2019: Co-organizer, China Health, Environment and Welfare network annual conference at the University of Oxford: ‘Chinese techno-futures’

Additional Information

  • 2018-2019: Awarded MSc in Nature, Society, and Environmental Governance, with distinction, at the University of Oxford
  • 2008-2009 Awarded Post-Graduate Certificate in Chinese Studies, at the Johns Hopkins University - Nanjing University Center for Chinese and American Studies
  • 2007-2008: Awarded MA in Sinology at the School of Oriental and African Studies
  • 2003-2007: Awarded BA in Chinese and Politics at the School of Oriental and African Studies