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Oliver Taherzadeh

Oliver Taherzadeh

PhD Candidate

Oliver is interested in the integrated assessment of resource-related pressures. His PhD aims to systematically understand the interdependencies between water, energy, land, and greenhouse gas emissions in terms of the resource stocks, flows, and decisions that connect different actors within the global economy.


Prior to starting my PhD, I worked as a researcher at the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) within the Sustainable Consumption and Production Group. Here, my research involved policy analysis around the monitoring and implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, environmental risk assessment of business supply chains, and needs-based assessment of bilateral climate finance between the EU and ASEAN region. As a member of SEI's Policy Advisory Group I was responsible for investigating SEI's approaches to policy impact based on analysis of theories of science-policy interaction and learnt experiences from research projects across the institute. Between 2015 and 2016 I helped coordinate the development of a successful £3.4m research proposal to The Global Food Security Programme.


  • 2013-2014: Research Intern, Stockholm Environment Institute
  • 2015-2016: Researcher, Stockholm Environment Institute


  • 2016-present: PhD, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge. Funded via the Vice-Chancellor's Award (Cambridge Trust)
  • 2011-2014: Environmental Economics, University of York (Starred First)
    Dissertation: O. Taherzadeh, P. Howley, 'No net loss of what, for whom? stakeholder perspectives to biodiversity offsetting in England', Environment, Development and Sustainability, (2017). doi:10.1007/s10668-017-9967-z


Measures which address the degradation and over-exploitation of natural resources are urgently needed, in individual countries and globally. However, the extraction and use of natural resources is highly interconnected, spatially and sectorally, within a complex web of interactions and feedbacks. These interactions are poorly understood, but have major implications for the wider consequences of measures designed to target individual resource-related pressures. Understanding these interactions, and by implication the potential trade-offs and complementarities they create between different environmental goals, is critical to informing policies which guide development within planetary boundaries.

To date, integrated assessment of resource systems has only been conducted in an isolated number of cases, often with a narrowed focus on the food sector. However, modern consumption and production systems all produce a water, energy, land, and greenhouse gas footprint, domestically, and within a global context. As such, there is a strong case for extending such integrated assessment and decision-making to all sectors of the economy. My research, funded by the Vice-Chancellor's Award (Cambridge Trust), responds to this need, via the development of a framework for systematic analysis of sector- and country-level resource competition and use within the context of current and future environmental constraints. I will adopt a mixed-methods approach, combining techniques such as environmentally-extended input-output analysis with biophysical data derived from earth systems models and national accounts.

External activities

  • PhD representative: Graduate Student Committee, Department of Geography
  • Coordinator: Experience Cambridge 2017, Department of Geography
  • Article Reviewer: Case Studies in the Environment, UC press
  • Rower: Men's First Team, Darwin College