Ruth Townend

Senior Research Fellow, Environment and Society Centre

Headshot of Ruth Townend


Ruth Townend’s work at Chatham House focuses primarily on climate risk and diplomacy. Recently, this has included curating and developing recommendations for managing ‘cascading’ or transboundary climate risks, as part of the CASCADES EU project, and a study on what near-term climate risks most worry experts. Ruth’s climate diplomacy work explores the interplay of geopolitics, international affairs, public opinion and national and local political constraints.

Prior to joining Chatham House, Ruth worked extensively on global public opinion and understanding of sustainability, and on UK climate change policy. Between 2009 and 2013, this was with specialist sustainability research consultancy Brook Lyndhurst. Here Ruth’s research ranged from public understanding of ‘green’ terminology to the global potential of public action for climate mitigation.

From 2013 to 2021, Ruth was a Senior Researcher and Manager in Ipsos’s Energy and Environment Team, researching and evaluating UK energy policy and global public attitudes, alongside working on sustainable development projects. Ruth contributed extensively to Ipsos’s thought leadership on sustainability issues, including leading research design for Ipsos’s annual international Earth Day environmental research releases.

Ruth is experienced with a range of both qualitative and quantitative research methods, has conducted experimental and action-based research, and supports colleagues in research method application and innovation. She holds a degree in Social Anthropology from the University of Cambridge.

Past experience

2014-21Research Manager, Energy and Environment Team, Ipsos MORI
2013Senior Research Executive, Ipsos MORI
2009-13Senior Researcher, Brook Lyndhurst
2006-09Outreach and Fundraising Officer, Survival International