School of GeoSciences

Teaching staff

Expert teaching staff will meet with you virtually each week.

Teaching is delivered by a variety of experts in the area of Climate Change.

James Paterson

Programme Director

James Paterson is a University Teacher for the campus and online Carbon Management courses as well as the Programme Director of the online MSc in Carbon Management. James’s research background is in forest ecology, adaptation (particularly ecosystem-based adaptation), ecosystem services and modelling climate change impacts on biodiversity. In between his academic life, he’s worked as a forester, farmer and an environmental consultant. James studied Rural Environment Studies at Wye College, University of London and graduated in 1997. He went on to do a MSc in Forestry and a PhD in climate change impacts on woodlands at the University of Oxford. After gaining his doctorate he continued working as a post-doc (and lecturer) at Oxford, before working on the UK National Ecosystem Assessment at the University of Nottingham. In 2012 he moved up to Edinburgh to pursue post-doctoral studies on land use change and scenario development. He’s now involved full-time on the Carbon Management MSc courses at Edinburgh. James enjoys hiking, mountains, rugby (just watching these days...), cooking and playing bass. University Teacher in Carbon Management School of GeoSciences University of Edinburgh Room 3.13 Institute of Geography Drummond Street Edinburgh EH8 9XP Tel: 0131 650 7728 Skype: jspaterson


Matthew Brander

Matthew Brander is a Senior Research Fellow in Business and Climate Change at the University of Edinburgh. He has moved to academia from a career in consultancy, with over seven years' experience in greenhouse gas accounting and climate change policy appraisal. Matthew has worked on projects for the UK's Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC), the Department for Transport, the Scottish Government, and the Government of Norway, as well as numerous corporate clients. He is on the peer-review panel for Defra's conversion factors for company reporting and is also a member of two GHG Protocol technical working groups, one for the forthcoming Policy and Actions Standard, and the second on green power accounting.

Matthew has a MSc in Environmental Sustainability from the University of Edinburgh, an MSc by research in philosophy, and an MA in philosophy. He is currently researching for a PhD. His research interests are in greenhouse gas (carbon) accounting, focusing on the variety of methods available, and the applicability of those methods for supporting corporate decision making. He has a particular interest in exploring the distinction between attributional and consequential methods, and the applicability of consequential methods to corporate greenhouse gas accounting. He is also interested in the issue of green power accounting, and the importance of additionality for ensuring corporate greenhouse gas accounts are accurate and relevant to decision making.

Dr Janet Fisher

Janet Fisher is an environmental social scientist who examines the links between environmental change, environmental management and human development. She have two strands of research. In the first, she uses ecosystem services (concepts that focus on the various benefits humans derive from nature) to do interdisciplinary work with natural scientists, to understand how the environment supports human wellbeing. In the second research strand, she is interested in understanding how the increasing use of ecosystem services concepts, and associated policies, which are often market-based, are changing conservation practice.

Janet completed her PhD at the University of East Anglia. Her PhD analysed how international tropical forest conservation interest groups adopt ecosystem services concepts and the implications these have for their priorities, the arguments they engage in, and their practice: how they do conservation. As part of this, she studied their uptake of policy mechanisms such as Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES). Through fieldwork in Uganda, she took a particular focus on the implications that PES involves for local people. She analysed the implications of conditionality and monetary incentives, looking particularly at distributional equity, adaptability and flexibility under a contractual approach and the temporal sustainability of PES.

Janet's profile

Frances Cossar

Frances Cossar is a Postdoctoral Researcher in Land Use and Food Security.  She has a background in applied development and agricultural economics, with interests evolving to consider the trade-offs between social, economic, and environmental objectives in agriculture and food systems. She joined the School of Geosciences after completing a PhD which looked at the adoption of mechanized technology in cereal farming systems of northern Ghana. She studied at London School of Economics and Political Science, School of Oriental and African Studies, and most recently University of Oxford. Previously, she spent several years working in policy research at the World Bank and the International Food Policy Institute on private sector development and agricultural policy at a national and global scale. She has co-authored work on cross-country comparison of value chains for simple manufactured goods in China, Vietnam, and Ethiopia; and on supply models for agricultural machinery in Ghana.  She enjoys being outdoors, playing the violin, Edinburgh during the festivals, and the challenge of teaching economic perspectives to interdisciplinary audiences!