Jasper joined the School in May 2019 supported by a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship. He holds a PhD in Geography from the University of Cambridge (King’s College); an MSc in Science, Technology, Medicine and Society awarded jointly by Imperial College, London, and University College London; as well as a BSc in Zoology and a Diploma in Creative Arts from the University of Melbourne. Jasper has previously been a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Politics at the University of Sheffield and a Visiting Research Fellow in the Program on Science, Technology and Society at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
In addition to academic work, Jasper has five years’ experience working in natural history documentary production for the BBC and National Geographic, as director, cameraman and researcher across land and underwater in remote locations. He has also spent time as an intern at the United Nations Environment Programme in Germany.
Jasper’s research interests encompass the geographies of science and expertise, the politics of Nature, and material-semiotic approaches to thinking about environmental governance. Jasper's research draws from and contributes to a broad range of scholarly traditions, including political ecology, science and technology studies, sustainability science, organisational studies, and the interdisciplinary environmental sciences.
Jasper’s current research focus is on the structure and function of governance systems for sustainability and conservation. In a project entitled ‘Grappling with Governance Systems: Biodiversity in the UK Overseas Territories’ funded by the Leverhulme Trust, Jasper is exploring how the objectives, knowledges, and collaborations that are being enacted for biodiversity in the UK Overseas Territories might inform approaches to sustainability and conservation more broadly.
There are 14 UK Overseas Territories stretching from the Antarctic to the Equator and the governance arrangements that operate across these territories are as diverse as they are distributed. As well as being home to diverse communities, these territories host a rich array of plant and animal species that are found nowhere else in the world. Working with social research methods, this project aims to develop theoretical and practical insights about who participates in governance and why; and how different contexts influence the purpose and design of governance activities.
Beyond this specific project, Jasper’s research develops across three broad areas:
- Science and policy relations
This strand of research explores fundamental questions about the ways that human societies ‘know’ with respect to societal challenges. Going beyond the practical considerations of ‘bridging’ science and policy, this research examines how the very production of knowledge is being re-imagined – through concepts such as co-production and institutions such as global environmental assessments – in order to better serve societal goals in the twenty-first century. It engages with the often-explicit politics of expertise, but also the more seemingly mundane – but arguably just as significant – organisational processes through which universities and scientific communities seek to stake their claims to truth in an increasingly noisy digital world.
- The Politics of Nature
This strand of research explores questions about what Nature is and why it matters. Rather than focusing on Nature as an object in itself, this research explores the politics of Nature as it plays out in the organisation of scientific communities seeking to understand it. With increased recognition of the need for interdisciplinary and international work to understand environmental change, related scientific communities are seemingly in a state of flux. This research seeks to apply empirical research and theoretical insight to consider the ways that environmental science communities can productively embrace this challenge, learn lessons from the past, and adapt for the future.
- Governance systems
This strand of research explores questions about cooperation and democracy, agency and authority, and meaning and matter in the making of prosperous social and environmental futures. Reflecting on the conceptualisation and design of governance institutions, this strand of research explores what social theory can offer the creation of scientific and policy institutions that are meaningful and responsive to diverse international communities.
Jasper runs an elective course on the Politics of Environmental Expertise for the School’s MSc/MPhil programmes.
- Montana, J., Sandbrook, C., Robertson, E. and Ryan, M. (forthcoming) Revealing research preferences in conservation science. Oryx.
- Wyborn, C., Datta, A., Montana, J., Ryan, M., Leith, P. Chaffin, B., Miller, C. and van Kerkhoff, L. (forthcoming) Co-Producing Sustainability: Re-Ordering the Governance of Science, Policy, and Practice. Annual Review of Environment and Resources, 44.
- Montana, J. (2018) Biodiversity: Ideas need time to mature. Nature, 561(309).
- Wyborn, C., Louder, E., Harrison, J., Montambault, J., Montana, J., Ryan, M., Bednarek, A.T., Nesshover, C., Pullin, A., Reed, M.S., Delleker, E., Kramer, J., Boyd, J., Dellecke, A. and Hutton, J. (2018) Understanding the impacts of research synthesis. Environmental Science and Policy, 86: 72-84.
- Timpte, M., Montana, J. Reuter, K., Apkes, J. and Borie, M. (2017) Engaging diverse experts in a global environmental assessment: Participation in the first work programme of IPBES and opportunities for improvement. Innovation: The European Journal of Social Science Research, 31. S15-S37.
- Montana, J. and Borie, M. (2016) IPBES and biodiversity expertise: Regional, gender and disciplinary balance in the composition of the interim and 2015 Multidisciplinary Expert Panel. Conservation Letters, 9(2): 138-142. (Authors contributed equally to this study.).
- Montana, J., Finn, J.K. and Norman, M.D. (2015) Liquid sand burrowing and mucus utilisation as novel adaptations to a structurally-simple environment in Octopus kaurna Stranks, 1990. Behaviour, 152(14): 1871-1881.
- Montana, J. et al. (2019) Mental models and the conservation science, policy and practice interface: Background report., Gland, Switzerland. Luc Hoffmann Institute.
- Montana, J. et al. (2018) A resource guide for doing co-production in conservation science., Gland, Switzerland. Luc Hoffmann Institute.
- Wyborn, C., Leith, P. et al. (2017) Doing science differently: co-producing conservation outcomes., Gland, Switzerland. Luc Hoffmann Institute.
- Wyborn, C., Leith, P. et al. (2017) The science, policy and practice interface: Synthesis report., Gland, Switzerland. Luc Hoffmann Institute.
- Montana, J. (2016) How IPBES Works: The Functions, Structures and Processes of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. C-EENRG Working Papers, 2016(2) Cambridge Centre for Environment, Energy and Natural Resource Governance, University of Cambridge.: 1-23.
- Montana, J. and Parker, M. (2014) Regulation in the context of new approaches to policy and governance, new enforcement technologies and issues in public engagement: A consulting report for Sciencewise., Cambridge. Centre for Science and Policy, University of Cambridge.