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Personal profile

Research interests

Colin researches sustainable energy governance at the intersection of communities, demand, mobility, and climate change. He joined the University of Bristol as a Vice-Chancellor's Fellow in 2017. Since then, he has been promoted twice to Senior Research Fellow. Alongside his appointment at Bristol, he reseaches the politics of energy demand at the Centre for Reserach into Energy Demand Solutions (CREDS), Environmental Change Institute (ECI), University of Oxford. He also co-leads a module on the MSc Energy Systems, School of Engineering Science, University of Oxford.

At the University of Bristol, Colin leads a project on 'Finance and Procurment for Net Zero', funded by UK Research and Innovation through Phase 4 of the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC), as Principal Investigator. Together with colleagues in Politics and Computer Science, he is involved in several research projects on Bristol City Leap, Bristol City Council's flagship initiative to reach net zero. Since 2020, Colin has also been researching energy cultures in Amazonia with colleagues in Anthropology and Engineering.

Previous academic appointments include a Research Fellowship in Energy Efficiency and Innovation at the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU), University of Sussex, and a PhD in Energy Policy at the University of Exeter. Throughout his academic career, Colin has worked for schools of Geography, Politics, Business, Management and Technology, Law, and Engineering.

As a consultant, Colin has worked for Community Energy South (Lewes, UK), the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (London, UK), the former Department of Energy and Climate Change (London, UK), Climate-KIC (Frankfurt, Germany), Provadis School of International Management and Technology (Frankfurt, Germany), the Centre for Rural Policy Research at the University of Exeter (Exeter, UK), and BEKS EnergieEffizienz GmbH (Bremen, Germany). In between, Colin worked as a steelworker and a mussel farmer. As a non-executive director of Community Energy South, Colin is responsible for research and innovation. As a member of the Expert Peer-review Group of the Departmant of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, he regularly peer-reviews evidence reviews of energy policy.

Generally speaking, Colin's research falls under one of the five following themes:

  1. Community engagement in energy systems and transitions to sustainability

    This research seeks to understand the drivers and barriers of democratic control and community leadership in energy systems and the role of communities, cities and regions in the socio-ecological transformation towards a zero-carbon society.

  2. Organizational, institutional and legal governance of sustainable energy

    This research analyses how interactions between business models at the organizational level, science and technology policy at the institutional level, and entrenchment at the legal governance level affect the transaction costs of developing and diffusing sustainable energy innovations, especially on the demand side.

  3. Energy demand reduction, flexibility and demand response

    This research focuses on energy demand reductions as the main driver for carbon emissions reductions, the policy asymmetry between energy supply and demand, and the organizations and institutions creating value out of energy demand and emission reductions.

  4. Mobility/energy nexus

    This research is about powering trains with renewable energy and the organizational, institutional and legal governance arrangements necessary to maximise public value and ensure that lineside communities benefit from the diffusion of this innovation.

  5. Carbon clubs and climate alliances

    It involves research into the necessary components to establish carbon clubs/climate alliances based on Article 6 of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, including border carbon adjustments to protect carbon commons, to assign value to assetized carbon emission reductions.

External positions

Expert peer-reviewer, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

5 Apr 2021 → …

Researcher, Environmental Change Institute

6 Nov 2019 → …

Co-director, Community Energy South

1 Nov 2017 → …

Structured keywords and research groupings

  • Global Political Economy
  • Smart Networks for Sustainable Futures
  • Urban Research Cluster
  • Cabot Institute City Futures Research
  • Cabot Institute Low Carbon Energy Research
  • Cabot Institute Environmental Change Research


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