About me

Hi, my name is Dr Stephen McGrail. I am an interdisciplinary researcher – based in Melbourne, Australia – with a diverse background in professional services (e.g. management consulting), academic research (applied social research), and other sustainability-oriented fields. I have been a Research Fellow at a number of universities, mostly recently at Monash University as a post-doctoral Research Fellow in Sociology (working on an ARC Discovery Grant-funded study), and previously at Swinburne University with the Institute for Social Research [now the Centre for Urban Transitions]), and as a Research Assistant at the Victorian Eco-Innovation Lab (which was based at the University of Melbourne). Prior to this I also worked as Sessional Lecturer at Swinburne University. 

My research/work (often as part of teams I’ve been grateful to be part of) has been published in a number of academic journals including the Journal of Cleaner Production, Sustainability, Futures, Evaluation Journal of Australasia, International Journal of Foresight and Innovation Policy, On the Horizon, and Journal of Futures Studies. I have also been an invited reviewer for a number of leading journals including Sustainability Science, Geographical Review and Environment, Systems and Decisions, as well as providing reviews as part of journal special issues (e.g. for the journal On the Horizon).

I bring to this work extensive management consulting and sustainability advisory work experience, as well as applied social research and evaluative inquiry experience, and a passion for learning. My early career experience in the advertising industry and as a freelance writer enables me to incorporate strategic communications.

Blog aims: This blog was originally used to reflect on my PhD journey, share emerging insights, and comment on related issues and events that emerge from time to time (most posts between 2013-2018/19 reflect this original focus). Currently, the blog has shifted to reflect my current research interests and activities. I have a particular interest in the use of forward-looking participatory processes (which I term ‘prospective exercises’) and related knowledge practices (which I term ‘prospective knowledge practices’), sociology of science (and scientific knowledge), and the emerging field of sustainability transition studies. The blog will also occasionally comment on broader topics relevant to sustainability-oriented action, such as debates related to climate policy and trends in environmental movements.

For further information on my research and writing see the ‘Research statement’ and ‘Key themes and publications’ pages.

Preferred contact via email: stephen.mcgrail@gmail.com

*One definition of ‘transitions’ is that “sustainability transitions are long-term, multi-dimensional, and fundamental transformation processes through which established socio-technical systems shift to more sustainable modes of production and consumption” (Markard et al., 2012, p.956)