Projects per year
I am a Senior Lecturer and member of the Science, Society and Sustainability (3S) Research Group in the School of Environmental Science at the University of East Anglia.
I am interested in the challenge of making everyday life and society more sustainable. Accordingly, my research focuses on how different types of sustainability innovation – from ‘smart’ home technologies to grassroots social innovations like community energy initiatives – operate in everyday settings and situations, and how attempts to govern everyday life impact on patterns of societal engagement.
A key focus of my research has been to explore how social relations and dynamics shape, and are shaped by, the adoption, use and impacts of sustainability innovations. I have developed this theme across a number of different topics, with a particular focus on sustainable energy transitions. This has included work on: how energy feedback from smart meters is shaped by household social dynamics, and what might be done to move beyond energy feedback and open up new forms of social engagement with energy; how workplace behaviour change initiatives operate within and can struggle against existing social practices, social interactions, office politics and power relations; how community energy initiatives can benefit from relations with one another and with intermediary organisations, but can struggle against narrow energy system priorities that don’t always align with local wants and needs; how social relations and emotions can impact on the capabilities of energy vulnerable households in asking for and receiving support; how household roles and relations shape the domestication of smart home technologies; how different forms of public engagement with energy transitions are inter-related in wider ecologies of participation; how different academic disciplines might experiment with new ways of relating to one another in interdisciplinary collaborations.
In pursuing this research, I draw on methods and concepts from human geography, sociology and science and technology studies. I am particularly inspired by in-depth, qualitative and ethnographic research methods, but have also used methods such as surveys, social network analysis, Q method, content analysis, secondary qualitative analysis, systematic mapping and comparative case study analysis. Theoretically, I enjoy working with approaches that develop and encourage a focus on situated and grounded social relations and dynamics. As such, my work to date has drawn on and sought to develop a variety of theoretical approaches including: social practice theory, governmentality, social interaction, domestication, socio-technical transitions, grassroots innovations, capabilities approaches, geography of emotions, phronetic social science, and ecologies of participation.
My research is of direct relevance to a wide range of audiences outside academia and I am always keen to develop new partnerships and collaborations beyond the academy. This has included giving presentations on my research, as well as conducting research consultancy and advisory work with a range of organisations including: BEIS, Defra; the European Commission, E.On UK; British Gas; Anglian Water; Adapt Low Carbon; Green Energy Options; E.On UK, and Marketforce.
I teach on a number of different modules across both Undergraduate and Masters degree programmes at UEA. I am also the module convenor for ‘Energy and People’ a third year undergraduate module that explores the social science of sustainable energy transitions. Since 2018 I have served as the External Examiner for the M.Sc in ‘Energy, Society and Sustainability’ in the School of Geosciences at the University of Edinburgh.
I welcome email enquiries from any potential PhD students.
I am especially keen to hear from people interested in researching the roles played by social relations and dynamics in shaping sustainability transitions, but am open to enquiries from any applicants wanting to work in relation to my other areas of interest. I will work with you to secure funding from the ESRC (UEA is a partner in the SeNSS DTP) and/or help with applications for internal or external funding. Recent PhD students have been funded by the ESRC, UEA Science Faculty, Marie Sklodowska Curie Innovative Training Networks, and Norfolk County Council.
Click here for current PhD opportunities in the School of Environmental Sciences.
Key Research Interests and Expertise
Key Research Interests
- Social relations and dynamics in sustainability transitions
- Sustainable consumption and the governance of everyday life
- The adoption and use of sustainability innovations
- Societal engagement in just and sustainable energy transitions
- Innovative and experimental methodologies for interdisciplinary research
Ongoing and previous research projects
National Observatory for Societal Engagement with Energy (SEE): developing new approaches for mapping diverse forms of societal engagement with energy and net-zero transitions (funded by UKERC; 2019-2024)
Equity and Justice in Energy Markets: researching the lived experience of energy vulnerability among social housing tenants (funded by UKERC; 2016-2019)
Systemic Participation and Decision Making: mapping diverse forms of public engagement with UK energy transitions (funded by UKERC; 2014-2019)
TILOS: researching public engagement in an innovative smart grid project on the Greek Island of Tilos (funded by EU H2020; 2015-2019)
Transformative Social Innovation (TRANSIT): developing and testing new theoretical approaches to social innovations (funded by EU FP7; 2014-2018)
Realising Transition Pathways (RTP): exploring ways of integrating qualitative and quantitative data on electricity use and demand response (funded by EPSRC; 2012-2016)
REFIT: exploring the domestication and use of smart home technologies in everyday life (funded by EPSRC; 2012-2015)
Publications: EPrints Digital Respository
I teach widely across the Geography and Environmental Science Undergraduate programmes at UEA, as well as on a number of Masters programmes. I am the module convenor for Energy and People – a third year undergraduate module that explores the social science of sustainable energy transitions.
I enjoy developing exciting, interactive and innovative approaches to teaching. For example, I am a key member of the team developing approaches to using Comedy in the Classroom which seeks to improve student understanding of and engagement with social science theory through performance-based teaching methods. I was awarded the UEA ‘Excellence in Teaching’ Award in 2015 and won the UEA Student Union’s ‘Most Innovative Teaching’ Award in 2018.
- ENV Placements Director and Year in Industry Coordinator
- Co-lead of the Science, Technology and Sustainability Pathway for SeNSS
- Member of ENV Teaching Committee
- Member of ENV Careers and Employability Committee
- External Examiner for M.Sc in Energy, Society and Sustainability in the School of Geosciences, University of Edinburgh (2018-2021)
- Editorial Board Member of Energy Research and Social Science (2014-Present)
- Treasurer of the British Sociological Association’s Climate Climate Change Study Group (2011-2017)
- Academic Advisory Panel Member for: Energy-SHIFTS ‘Smart Consumption Working Group’, New Energy Consumer Roles and Smart Technologies (eCAPE); Creating the Energy for Change (C-Tech)
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):
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1/02/21 → 31/01/24
Chalvatzis, K., Kaldellis, J., Bell, E., Daniels, K., Dobson, P., Finegan, A., Garyfalakis, S., Haack, D., Hahndorf, I., Hargreaves, T., Lettice, F., Magnor, D., Mantzaris, N., Markellos, R., Merten, J., Notton, G., Ortiz, B., Patsaka, T., Suarez, S. & Vona, M.
1/02/15 → 31/01/19
Chilvers, J., Bellamy, R., Pallett, H. & Hargreaves, T., Mar 2021, In: Nature Energy. 6, p. 250-259 10 p.
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › peer-review
From rational to relational: how energy poor households engage with the British retail energy marketAmbrosio-Albala, P., Middlemiss, L., Owen, A., Hargreaves, T., Emmel, N., Gilbertson, J., Tod, A., Snell, C., Mullen, C., Longhurst, N. & Gillard, R., Dec 2020, In: Energy Research & Social Science. 70, 101765.
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › peer-reviewOpen AccessFile6 Citations (Scopus)13 Downloads (Pure)
Hargreaves, T. & Middlemiss, L., Mar 2020, In: Nature Energy. 5, 3, p. 195-201 7 p.
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › peer-reviewOpen AccessFile14 Citations (Scopus)13 Downloads (Pure)
When activities connect: Sequencing, network analysis, and energy demand modelling in the United KingdomMckenna, E., Higginson, S., Hargreaves, T., Chilvers, J. & Thomson, M., 1 Nov 2020, In: Energy Research & Social Science. 69, 101572.
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › peer-reviewOpen AccessFile3 Citations (Scopus)5 Downloads (Pure)
Longhurst, N. & Hargreaves, T., Oct 2019, In: Energy Research & Social Science. 56, 101207.
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › peer-reviewOpen AccessFile32 Citations (Scopus)23 Downloads (Pure)