UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose


Ryan Bellinson

Ryan Bellinson is a Senior Research Fellow in Cities, Climate and Innovation at the UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose (IIPP).

Ryan Bellinson
Ryan Bellinson is an action-oriented urban researcher whose work intersects cities, climate change, community engagement, and governance innovation. He is also interested in how participative research approaches can advance theoretical understanding, achieve practical impact, and help create more just cities.

Ryan has worked at the crossroads of research and policy in multiple contexts. In 2014, he held a policy fellowship in the United States with the Governor of Oregon’s Natural Resource Policy Office. During his graduate studies, he led a research project exploring the mechanisms sustainable city networks use to facilitate governance innovations within their member cities. This work particularly explored the policy and governance changes in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and Berkeley, USA, facilitated by the cities membership in the 100 Resilient Cities network supported by the Rockefeller Foundation.

Before joining IIPP, Ryan was a PhD candidate at the University of Sheffield in the Urban Institute. He led an embedded research project with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority exploring how innovative public participation methods could support meaningful and just local climate policy development. This research helped build new capabilities in the organisation to engage Greater Manchester’s diverse population and created new mechanisms for citizens and practitioners to participate in policy development.

Research Summary

Ryan’s research explores the methods and practices local governments use to develop climate policy. Specifically, he is interested in analysing the complex governance structures that local governments develop climate policy through, the set of relationships involved in these governance approaches, and how governance innovations are facilitated within and through these arrangements used to determine climate policy. Ryan has examined how different pressures from international sustainable city networks to grassroots activism are contested and become internalised within local government climate policy development processes, creating the potential for novel policy outcomes.

Through his work, Ryan has also explored how different research methods can produce rigorous theoretical findings and achieve practical impact. Ryan led an embedded research project with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority during his PhD studies. This work enabled him to investigate the research alongside those he was analysing, as a participant in the study. Ryan produced policy impact through this work, creating new forums for communities in Greater Manchester to engage and contribute to climate policy development. He was also able to reach robust theoretical insights about how the concept of co-production can be applied as a policy development approach and its consequences.

Journal articles
In the media
Policy briefs and reports