Charlie Wilson


  • 1.18 ZICER Building

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Personal profile


Energy and climate change mitigation; historical and future energy transitions; pro-environmental behaviour.


I am a Professor in the School of Environmental Sciences at UEA. I am also a researcher in the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research for which I jointly coordinate the Accelerating Social Transformation research theme.

My research interests lie at the intersection between innovation, behaviour and policy in the field of energy and climate change mitigation. I work both at a systems level on scenarios and modelling of climate change mitigation transformation pathways, and at a micro level on consumer innovations, technology adoption and pro-environmental behaviour.

I joined the Tyndall Centre and UEA in September 2010 from the London School of Economics where I was a teaching fellow. I have a PhD from the University of British Columbia in Canada on the social and behavioural determinants of energy use. Prior to my PhD, I worked for a number of years in the private sector in both renewable energy finance and climate change policy.


  • 2010 - current: Professor (formerly Reader) in Energy and Climate Change, Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, University of East Anglia.
  • 2009 - 2010: Teaching Fellow, Department of Geography & Environment, London School of Economics.
  • 2008 - 2009: Post-Doctoral Researcher, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (Austria), and Chalmers University of Technology (Sweden).
  • 2004 - 2008: PhD in Resource Management and Environmental Sustainability, University of British Columbia (Canada).
  • 1994 - 2004: Various private sector roles in energy finance and climate policy. 

Additional Contacts

Fax: +44 (0)1603 591327

Key Research Interests and Expertise

Charlie's research interests lie at the intersection between innovation, behaviour and policy in the field of energy and climate change mitigation. He works at both a systems level and at a micro level.

At a systems level, Charlie works on long-term energy transitions both historically and into the future. He works in general meta-analytic terms across diverse samples of technologies, contexts, and change dynamics. He is particularly interested in using empirical evidence from historical patterns of change to inform and strengthen scenario narratives and modelling projections of future change towards net-zero targets. Charlie’s current projects in this field include an EU-H2020 project called ‘NAVIGATE’ on integrated assessment modelling for climate policy and the role of low-carbon lifestyles, and a UK-ESRC project called ‘CAST’ on social and governance transformations for climate change including the contribution of lifestyle change.

At a micro level, Charlie works on technology adoption and diffusion, low-carbon behaviours and lifestyles, and the effectiveness of behaviour change interventions. Charlie’s current projects include a UK-EPSRC project called ‘EnergyREV’ on the role of smart, local energy systems and spatial variation in UK uptake, and an EU-ERC Starting Grant called 'SILCI' on how social influence mechanisms help spread low-carbon consumer innovations. Charlie's research is either directly policy-relevant, or has clear implications for policy. He has collaborated with, advised, or provided input to national and global policy assessments including Mission Innovation, UNEP’s Emission Gap reports, the Exponential Carbon Roadmap, the International Energy Agency, and the UK Committee on Climate Change.

Charlie has written numerous peer-reviewed journal articles, as well as two books, one with Arnulf Grubler on energy technology innovation systems (published by CUP) and one with Tom Hargreaves on smart home users (published by Springer). Charlie has also contributed to IPCC assessment reports and the Global Energy Assessment.

Teaching Interests

I am interested in teaching on energy and climate change, at both a systems level and at a micro-level.  I currently organise and teach a postgraduate module on energy and climate change, and I contribute to various undergraduate modules on social science research methods, energy and people, and environmental field skills.

Administrative Posts

  • Accelerating Social Transitions research theme co-ordinator for the Tyndall Centre

PGR Opportunities

PhD applications

I welcome enquiries from potential PhD students interested in historical energy transitions, climate change mitigation scenarios, sociotechnical change, pro-environmental behaviour, smart technologies, or other research topics in which I am actively involved. Funding available for specific PhD studentships is advertised by UEA. Prospective students without funding should identify possible funding sources for which I can support applications.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Devlopment Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action


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