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Welsh Government Director awarded Distinguished Visiting Fellowship

10 April 2017

Director of Environment and Sustainable Development for Welsh Government, Matthew Quinn has been awarded the honorary title of Distinguished Visiting Fellow and will be developing a new research collaboration while on secondment to the Sustainable Places Research Institute.

Matthew has been a significant innovator both in the UK and internationally in the field of sustainability over a thirty year public service career, including 18 years for Welsh Government helping to establish Wales' leading position on environment and sustainability.

Speaking about his award Matthew said: ‘I’m delighted and honoured to receive this honorary position from Cardiff University. I’m going to be using my time while on secondment to the Sustainable Places Research Institute to examine the relationship between sustainability and ecology narratives and practice, and prevailing wider public policy and academic discourse.  I hope to be able to identify opportunities for, and addressing barriers to change and innovation.”

Co-Director of the Sustainable Places Research Institute Professor Susan Baker said: “We are delighted to be able to welcome Matthew to the Institute as Distinguished Visiting Fellow and to benefiting from his vast experience of the world of policy and practice.  We look forward to working with him over the next few years as the Institute continues to develop its links between the work of academia and policy.”

At the 2002 Earth Summit, he co-founded the international Network of Regional Governments for Sustainable Development and led subsequent work towards its formal UN recognition.  In collaboration with Oxfam and WWF, he also established the Wales for Africa development programme. As Director of Environment and Sustainable Development for Welsh Government, Matthew has overseen delivery of the pioneering carrier-bag charge, the all-Wales Coast Path and Wales's Europe-leading position on recycling and established Natural Resources Wales, the first combined delivery agency based on the internationally-adopted ecosystem approach.  Most recently, he led the development and passage of the Well-being of Future Generations and Environment Acts, cited by the UN as exemplars.

In his early career in the Department of the Environment in the 1990s, he co-authored the first UK Environment White Paper, This Common Inheritance, and led planning policy changes (PPG13) that stimulated the move to in-town food retail and brownfield housing development. Subsequently working in the new Government Office South West, he founded Sustainability South West with Jonathon Porritt.

He has been a member of the Economic and Social Research Council's Research Priorities Board, a non-executive director of The Carbon Trust and is currently a Director of the Gregynog Festival. Matthew has contributed to a range of edited books, academic publications and international conferences to promote understanding of sustainability governance.