I am Professor of Environmental Psychology and Director of the Understanding Risk Research Group within the School. I work on risk, risk perception, and risk communication and as such my research is interdisciplinary at the interface of social psychology, environmental sciences and geography, and science and technology studies. I am currently researching public responses to energy technologies, climate change risks, nanotechnologies and climate geoengineering.
I have in the past led numerous policy oriented projects on issues of public responses to environmental and technological risk issues and on ‘science in society’ for UK Government Departments, the Research Councils, the Royal Society, and Charities. It currently serve as a social sciences advisor to the UK Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and to the Department of Energy and Climate Change.
I was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the British Science Association in 2011, and an MBE in the 2014 Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to climate change awareness and energy security policy. In 2006 I chaired a Parliamentary inquiry whose report ‘Is a Cross-Party Consensus on Climate Change Possible – or Desirable?’ recommended the setting up of the UK Climate Change Committee, an institutional innovation subsequently enacted in the 2008 Climate Change Act.
Research in my group spans a number of broad topics under the headings of: Risk Perception and Communication; the Environment; Science, Technology and Public Policy; and Sustainability. Current topics studied include –
Public and stakeholder perceptions of climate change and energy futures
Attitudes to sustainable energy systems and scenarios
Energy biographies’ and energy use in everyday life
Public engagement with and governance of climate engineering proposals
Nanotechnology in society
Perceptions of radiological risks (e.g. radon, nuclear power)