Agenda-setting and the policy-making process: The case of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technologies in the UK

Grantham Scholar Dr Gloria Mensah is now a policy advisor at UK government department BEIS (Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy). At the Grantham Centre Gloria researched how lessons from CCS could help emerging technology designed to fight climate change.

Project description

As countries pursue efforts to curb climate change and move towards sustainable development, it has become increasingly important to consider not only what technology is available but also how social and political barriers to the advancement of technology can be overcome.

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technologies represent a broad range of technologies that have become prominent for attempts to tackle climate change. CCS involves the capture of carbon dioxide emissions from large point sources, for instance, power stations and industrial sectors (e.g. cement, steel and iron) combined with transport through pipelines and subsequent storage in geological reservoirs.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimate that CCS could lead to 19% reduction of global carbon dioxide emissions required by 2050. Despite the stated ambitions of CCS in effecting change, there have been variations in the levels of investment experienced in the UK over the past decade, with CCS projects often appearing to be frustrated in practice. This makes an interesting focus for an analysis of how ideas emerge on the government agenda to be taken seriously by policy makers and what leads to policy change.

This interdisciplinary project, therefore employs insights from policy theory to explore and understand the political process, to draw lessons from the CCS case which will be valuable to proponents of other emerging technology options designed to fight climate change.

Gloria Mensah’s outreach

Interview: Why scientists should think like policy makers

Gloria Mensah who says scientists should think like policy makers
Why should scientists think like policy makers? Gloria gives her expert insight into what does and does not grab policy makers’ attention.

You can find out more about Gloria in this interview with her: Why scientists should think like policy makers. Here, she explains why scientists and engineers should learn about the way policy is made. And she shows how insights from her own work into CCS reveals the ebb and flow of issues that make it into policy.

And this interview was republished by The Universities Policy Engagement Network – UPEN. UPEN is a community of UK universities and policy professionals committed to increasing the impact of research on public policy.

Sheffield Students’ Union

Gloria worked with Sheffield Students’ Union to make them more sustainable and produce less waste. She wrote a blog about her experiences. Read: Did you know that Sheffield Students’ Union plans to be Zero Waste?


After attending a conference of international experts trying to work out a new agenda for CCS technology, Gloria wrote a blog about her experiences: Talking of Carbon Capture and Storage: my experience at the UKCCSRC Spring conference.

Social media

You can find Gloria on LinkedIn.



Dr Chris Jones

Department of Psychology

Professor Peter Styring

Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering