Centre on Innovation and Energy Demand

Centre on Innovation and Energy Demand


CIED Director and Co-Directors

Benjamin Sovacool photoProfessor Benjamin K. Sovacool, is Director of the Centre on Innovation and Energy Demand and of the Sussex Energy Group.  Benjamin is also Professor of Energy Policy at the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU). Professor Sovacool works as a researcher and consultant on issues pertaining to energy policy, energy security, climate change mitigation, and climate change adaptation. More specifically, his research focuses on renewable energy and energy efficiency, the politics of large-scale energy infrastructure, designing public policy to improve energy security and access to electricity, and building adaptive capacity to the consequences of climate change.

Frank GeelsProfessor Frank Geels (Co-Director, Theme leader, Diffusion) is Professor of System Innovation and Sustainability at the Sustainable Consumption Institute, University of Manchester and chairman of the international Sustainability Transitions Research Network. Frank is a world-leading scholar on socio-technical transitions and has published six books and more than forty peer- reviewed articles in this area, many of which are highly cited. Geels has extensive experience in research management, acting as PI on a prestigious ERC-funded project (‘Destabilisation of sociotechnical regimes as the key to transitions towards sustainability’, 2008-2012), a project funded by the Dutch TransForum programme (‘Historical and future transitions in agriculture and food’, 2007-2008), and a project funded by the Dutch Knowledge Network on System Innovation (‘Historical Transition Pathways’, 2004-2007). Geels has acted as consultant for DEFRA (two reports on sustainability transitions), The World Wildlife Fund (which has adopted his multi-level perspective to structure their strategic thinking), the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs (which adopted transition management in the energy sector), and Dutch practitioners working ‘on transition projects.

New profile picture of Tim SchwanenDr Tim Schwanen (Co-Director, Theme leader Emergence) is Associate Professor in Transport Studies and Director of the Transport Studies Unit at the University of Oxford. He is currently also a Visiting Professor in Human Geography at the School of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Gothenburg. Tim's research is international in outlook, interdisciplinary in scope and located at the intersection of urban, transport, cultural, political and economic geography. It covers a wide range of themes and topics relating to cities and the mobility of people, good and information, including processes of transition towards low-energy and just mobility systems. In 2013-2015 he was the editor-in-chief of Journal of Transport Geography and currently serves on the editorial advisory boards of nine academic journals in geography, transport studies and sustainability research. 

Steve SorrellProfessor Steven Sorrell (Co-Director, Theme Leader Impacts) is a Professor of Energy Policy in SPRU, member of the Sussex Energy Group (SEG) and Honorary Senior Fellow at the Centre for Environmental Policy, Imperial College. He has more than 20 years of experience in energy and climate policy research, with a particular focus on market based instruments, resource depletion, energy efficiency and rebound effects. Steve has (co)-authored three books, fortyy peer-reviewed papers, twelve book chapters and more than one hundred research reports on various aspects of energy and climate policy. He has extensive experience in leading multi-disciplinary, multi-partner research projects for RCUK and the European Commission and has acted as consultant to the European Commission, the UN, UK government departments, the Environment Agency, the Sustainable Development Commission, private sector organisations and NGOs.


CIED Researchers & Communications and Impact team (in alphabetical order)

Dr Lucy BakerDr Lucy Baker is a research fellow in the Centre on Innovation and Energy Demand (CIED) based at Sussex Energy Group (SEG) of SPRU, University of Sussex. She is also a visiting fellow at the Energy Research Centre, University of Cape Town. Prior to joining CIED, Lucy was a research fellow in the School of Global Studies, University of Sussex on an ESRC-funded project, Rising powers and the low carbon transition in Southern Africa. Within CIED Lucy’s research focuses on energy intensive users, particularly the UK steel economy. Her other areas of research include: the political economy of energy; energy finance; electricity policy in South Africa; and low carbon development in low & middle income countries.

Lucy holds a PhD in the political economy of socio-technical transitions in South Africa’s electricity sector, from the University of East Anglia, an MSc in Development Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies and an MA in Hispanic Studies and French from the University of Edinburgh. Prior to joining academia she worked for ten years in the fields of environment, development and human rights as a policy officer and campaigner with the non-governmental organisations Amnesty International, Oxfam and Bretton Woods Project. Lucy is a native speaker of English and fluent in Spanish, Portuguese and French. 

Noam BergmanDr Noam Bergman joined SPRU in 2015 as a Research Fellow in CIED. His interests lie in systemic perspectives on energy use and societal shift to sustainability, often using transitions theory. His previous research includes microgeneration and its role in a shift to a low carbon future; local and community initiatives for energy and emission savings; and social innovation and its potential. He also has experience developing modelling tools, including agent-based models for assessing sustainability implications of future scenarios. He previously worked at the University of Oxford and the University of East Anglia, including work on the EU MATISSE project on integrated sustainability assessment. Noam trained as a natural scientist, and has a BSc in physics and an MSc in environmental sciences, both from the Hebrew University, and a PhD in Environmental Sciences from the University of East Anglia. 

Centre Manager Jenny BirdJenny Bird is the Centre Manager for CIED.  Prior to joining CIED, she was a Senior Specialist for the House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Select Committee. She has also worked as a Research Fellow for the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) and holds a Masters in Leadership for Sustainable Development from Forum for the Future.

Nora BlascsokNora Blascsok helps CIED researchers with administrative tasks as well as working with the Communications team on social media and web support. Nora has extensive experience organising events ranging from seminars to large conferences. In addition to her role at the Centre on Innovation and Energy Demand, Nora also works with the SPRU Communications team on events, web support and occasionally writing for the SPRU website. Nora’s background is in International Relations, with an MA from the School of Global Studies at Sussex.

Suzanne Fisher Murray photoSuzanne Fisher-Murray joined CIED in February 2016 as the Communications and Engagement Officer. Suzanne has worked as a journalist, editor and writer for over 16 years. She has helped non-governmental and research organisations share their research and demonstrate impact, written and edited policy reports and led website redesigns and edited hundreds of blogs and website pages. She has also produced features and documentaries for the BBC World Service and developed educational radio drama series from Burkina Faso and Rwanda in Africa. She has a Masters in Environment and Development (distinction) from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. 

Tim Foxon photoTim Foxon is Professor of Sustainability Transitions at the SPRU – Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex (2015-present). Tim’s research explores technological and social factors relating to the innovation of new energy technologies, the co-evolution of technologies and institutions for a transition to a sustainable low carbon economy, and relations and interdependencies between energy use and economic growth. Tim joined CIED in September 2016 to carry out research on Reorienting investments and divesting from fossil fuel assets divestment and Energy Demand and the UK Steel Economy. He was previously a Reader in Sustainability and Innovation and RCUK Academic Fellow, Sustainability Research Institute (SRI), School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds (2007-2015), a Research Associate, Cambridge Centre for Climate Change Mitigation Research, University of Cambridge (2005-2007) and a Research Associate/Lecturer, Centre for Environmental Policy and Centre for Energy Policy and Technology, Imperial College London (1996-2005).

Sabine HielscherSabine Hielscher joined SPRU as a Research Fellow in October 2010. Her work has focused on studying grassroots innovations, which are novel activities derived from groups in civil society, for instance, community energy initiatives (Community Innovation for Sustainable Energy 2010-2013) and community-based digital fabrication workshops (Transit 2013-2015, CIED 2013-2015 and Design Research Get Lost 2015). Within CIED, Sabine has been working on the following projects: The smart meter rollout in the UK: Dynamics of expectations and Grassroots innovation in low energ digital fabrication. Prior to joining SPRU, Sabine completed a EPSRC funded PhD in Art and Design at Nottingham Trent University, and before that, she completed a BA (Hons) in Eco-Design at Goldsmiths College, London, and worked for design studios (such as the Thomas Heatherwick Studio) and several research units. 


Debbie Hopkins photoDr Debbie Hopkins is a Research Fellow in Low Carbon Mobility and Energy Demand at the Transport Studies Unit, and a Junior Research Fellow in Geography at Mansfield College, University of Oxford. Debbie has a master’s degree (with distinction) in geography from King’s College London,  Prior to joining TSU, Debbie was a Research Fellow on the Energy Cultures II research programme at the Centre for Sustainability (Otago). She also completed postdoctoral training at the Centre for Sustainability and the Otago Climate Change Network (OCCNet). Debbie is an environmental social scientist and human geographer, with research expertise in socio-spatial interpretations and experiences of environmental issues. Her research is broadly concerned with the social dimensions of climate change, the social practice of mobilities, and low-carbon mobility transitions. Her empirical research includes investigations of urban freight, adolescent mobility trends, virtual mobilities, collaborative consumption, and academic mobilities.


Photo of CIED Researcher Kirsten JenkinsDr Kirsten Jenkins is a Research Fellow at the Centre on Innovation and Energy Demand. Kirsten is joining SPRU in December 2016 and will work on a wide range of research projects focusing on energy justice and energy transitions. Kirsten completed a ESRC-funded PhD entitled "Discourses of Energy Justice: The Case of Nuclear Energy" at the University of St Andrews in 2016. She holds two previous degrees with specialisms in energy and society, an MRes in Sustainable Development and a BSc in Sustainable Development, both from the University of St Andrews also. Alongside her role at CIED Kirsten serves as the Early Career Representative for the Energy Geographies Research Group of the Royal Geographical Society with IBG.

Victoria JohnsonDr Victoria Johnson is Research Associate at the Sustainable Consumption Institute (SCI), University of Manchester. She is an experienced interdisciplinary and widely published researcher in the fields of climate change and energy policy at the domestic and international level. To date, she has led or contributed over 35 policy-relevant publications in these fields. Her principal research interests relate to the mechanisms and societal implications of socio-technical transitions across a range of spatial scales with a particular reference to power, agency, social justice and international development. Based at the SCI, she is primarily comparing patterns of diffusion of low-energy technologies (district heating, light-rail networks, and Passivhaus) in the UK with other European countries. Victoria joined the SCI and CIED in September 2014 from the Low Carbon Research Institute of Wales, based at the Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University. Here her work focussed historical transitions in the UK energy sector and institutional transformation necessary for distributed low-carbon electricity generation in the UK. Between 2007 and 2012 Victoria led the research programme on climate change and energy policy at leading independent think tank, NEF (New Economics Foundation). She holds a PhD in Atmospheric Physics from Imperial College, a MSc (awarded with distinction) in Climate Change and a BSc in Environmental Sciences, both from the University of East Anglia. 

Florian KernDr Florian Kern is a Senior Lecturer at SPRU and Co-Director of the Sussex Energy Group (SEG). He has more than ten years of experience in research, consulting and teaching in the area of energy, climate and innovation policy and socio-technical transitions. Florian’s research focusses on policies and policy processes aimed at stimulating the transition to a low carbon economy. His work draws on innovation studies as well as policy analysis and political science. He has published in journals such as Research Policy, Technological Forecasting & Social Change, Energy Policy, Policy & Politics, Environment & Planning C, Policy Sciences and Environmental Politics. Florian is leading a cross-cutting project of the Centre on policy synergies and trade-offs.

Paula KivimaaDr Paula Kivimaa is a Senior Research Fellow at SPRU, Senior Researcher at the Finnish Environment Institute and has an affiliation of Docent at Aalto University, Finland. She has over ten years’ experience in research dealing with the interface between environmental innovations and climate, energy, transport and environmental policies. Her recent research is focused on analysing transport and energy policy as well as intermediary organisations from the perspective of sustainability transitions. She has experience in managing several projects funded by Finnish research funding agencies. She has published scientific articles in journals such as Research Policy, Environmental Policy and Governance, Environmental Politics, Journal of Cleaner Production, and Transport Geography as well as research reports issued, for example, by the Nordic Council of Ministers and the Partnership for European Environmental Research.


Dr Mari Martiskainen is a Research Fellow at the Centre on Innovation and Energy Demand. Mari joined SPRU in 2006 and has worked on a range of research projects including topics such as building energy efficiency policies, innovation processes linked to community energy, influences on household energy consumption and the diffusion of small scale renewable energy technologies. Mari completed a PhD in Science and Technology Policy Studies at SPRU in 2014, she has an MSc in Environmental Technology from Imperial College London and a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Helsinki, Finland. 

Photo of Dr Cameron Roberts, CIED researcher working at SCIDr. Cameron Roberts is Research Associate at the Sustainable Consumption Institute (SCI) at the University of Manchester. His background is in the history of technology, and he uses this to investigate historical case studies of accelerated diffusion in order to determine what factors are most likely to lead to the rapid diffusion of a new innovation. His PhD, completed in 2015, developed an analytical model accounting for the development of discursive storylines during socio-technical transitions. This was tested with two historical case studies tracking the development of storylines about road and rail transport as the latter replaced the former in the United States and the United Kingdom during the twentieth century. Prior to that, Cameron completed a master’s degree in Science, Technology and International Development at the University of Edinburgh, and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and the history of science at the University of King’s College in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Karoline RoggeDr Karoline Rogge is Lecturer in Energy Policy and Sustainability in SPRU, and Senior Researcher at the Fraunhofer Institute of Systems and Innovation Research. Karoline’s interdisciplinary research focuses on the link between policy and innovation in the energy sector, and ranges from studying the innovation impact of single policy instruments, such as the EU emissions trading system, to evaluating the effects of comprehensive policy mixes for promoting the low carbon transition. Karoline has extensive project management experience and in-depth knowledge of German, European and international climate policy. She has advised the German government for ten years, including as a member of the scientific secretariat of the German Emissions Trading Stakeholder Group and has acted as a consultant to the OECD and World Bank. Karoline is currently leading the GRETCHEN project investigating the influence of the policy mix for renewables on technological and structural change in Germany.

Jan Rosenow photo newDr Jan Rosenow has been working on energy efficiency policy for more than 10 years. He is a Senior Fellow at the Centre on Innovation and Energy Demand (CIED) based at Sussex Energy Group (SEG) of SPRU, University of Sussex. He is also an Honorary Research Associate at the Lower Carbon Futures Group of Oxford University's Environmental Change Institute and at Freie Universität BerlinEnvironmental Policy Research Centre. Jan’s main interest lies with the politics of energy efficiency and what drives policy evolution using case studies, including energy efficiency obligations, on-bill finance and soft loans. He also has an interest in fuel poverty policy and the equity implications of energy policy in general. In the past, he lectured and supervised students on the MSc in Nature, Society and Environmental Policy at the School of Geography, Oxford University and the MSc in Economics and Policy of Energy and the Environment at University College London's Energy Institute. Jan also conducted research at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. In addition to his academic post at CIED, Jan leads the European energy efficiency team of the Regulatory Assistance Project, a global think tank working on a transition to a sustainable and fair energy system. 

Bruno TurnheimBruno Turnheim is a researcher with CIED, a Research Associate at the Sustainable Consumption Institute (University of Manchester), a Research Associate at King’s College London, and Associate Faculty at the Science Policy Research Unit (University of Sussex). He holds a PhD from SPRU (University of Sussex). Within CIED he is carrying out a comparative study of the development and deployment of modern tramways and light rail systems in France and in the UK (1980-present) as part of a project that aims to Learn about Diffusion from experiences in other countries. This comparison of very different developmental trajectories offers significant opportunities to better understand transitions related to infrastructure. His research focuses on various aspects related to sustainability transitions, including questions of governance, the influence of normative problems, the destabilisation of existing regimes, the role of innovation and experimentation, and conceptual integration of research approaches. He has taken an active part in EU-funded projects including DESTABLE, GREEN.EU, and PATHWAYS. His empirical research interests span historical, current and prospective transitions in the energy, mobility, and agri-food domains. 

Bettina ZenzBettina Zenz  joined CIED as Communications and Engagement Officer in August 2013, having previously worked as Project Co-Ordinator for The Sussex Energy Group. In addition to her current role within CIED, Bettina continues to support the Energy Group with a range of organisational duties. Bettina joined the University of Sussex in 2011, and has degrees in Humanities (BSc Honours, University of Brighton, 2011) and Geopolitics (MA, University of Sussex, 2012).

PhD Students

Donal BrownDonal Brown has 6 years experience in sustainable construction and consultancy, with an academic background including a First class BSc in Environmental Science and Distinction in Climate Change and Policy MSc. Donal has also recently undertaken a CIED research project, into the status and bariers to low energy buildings in the UK. A sustainable energy specialist with extensive experience in the low carbon housing sector, Donal has technical knowledge of renewable energy systems as well as Passivhaus and energy efficient design. His research background includes climate and environmental science, energy policy, innovation and energy economics. He is also Sustainability Director of a eco-housing design and build firm which provides consultancy services.

Duncan Edmondson photoDuncan Edmondson joined CIED in September 2015, working as a doctoral researcher on a project focusing on policy mixes for innovation and energy demand. With a background in Environmental Science (BSc; University of Leeds), Duncan previously completed an MSc at SPRU in Energy Policy for Sustainability for which he undertook a project researching Legitimacy in Technological Innovation Systems, applied empirically to the offshore wind sector in the UK. Duncan’s research engages with the politics of transitions, and the co-evolutionary dynamics of policy mixes and socio-technical systems. Empirically, the project investigates the Zero Carbon Homes target in the UK. The target (announced in 2007), mandated all new-build domestic buildings to achieve zero carbon by 2016, but was subsequently denounced in 2015. From such an instance of apparent policy ‘failure’, he aims to draw lessons for the design of policy mixes for sustainability transitions.   

SofiaSofia Kesidou joined SPRU as a doctoral researcher in September 2015 and her research focuses on supply chain integration within the construction industry and its impact on the delivery of low energy innovations in non-domestic buildings. Sofia has 14 years experience in sustainability consulting within the construction sector, having worked with major commercial, infrastructure and industrial developers and building owners in delivering sustainable and cost-effective solutions for their property portfolios. Through her roles as a sustainability specialist, a project sustainability champion, and a BREEAM/LEED advisor and assessor, Sofia has gained an understanding of the organisation and dynamics of project teams, the benefits of an integrated design process and integrated teams and the positive effects of collaboration  between disciplines in the delivery of project objectives. Sofia is a certified project manager and has managed a large number of sustainability consultancy projects working for one of the largest global multi-disciplinary consulting engineering firms.  She holds a BA(Hons) in Architectural Studies and an MRes in the Built Environment with Distinction.

Jack MillerJack Miller began his PhD with SPRU and CIED in September 2014, conducting research into the role of energy efficiency in economic growth.  His work centres upon the concepts of ‘exergy’ and ‘useful work’, or the portions of energy inputs into the economy which can prove useful to economic activity and societal needs.  He completed an MSc in Energy Policy for Sustainability with SPRU in 2014, having undertaken a project looking at the prospects for future shale gas development in the US.  He has a degree in Physics (MPhys hons, University of Sussex, 2013), and has previously taught maths and physics from KS3 to first-year undergraduate level.