School of GeoSciences

Teaching staff

The Energy, Society & Sustainability MSc programme is taught by a number of energy and society experts from across the schools of Geosciences and Social & Political Sciences.

The teaching is energy-focused, but it cuts across traditional geographical (developed, developing countries) and thematic divisions (e.g. social and societal change, sustainable consumption, ICT, politics, markets). It is also unique in that we seek to situate much of the learning in dynamic, outward and problem-facing activities: ‘urban labs’, action-research and outreach activities with interested stakeholders (companies, local authorities, schools etc).

Whilst relevant optional courses are available from a range of different schools, the core courses are provided by the following members of the Energy & Society Research Group:

Programme Co-Director, Dan van der Horst

Dan van der Horst is a Senior Lecturer in Environment, Energy & Society. Focusing on scarce resources in crowded spaces, his interests include the governance of multifunctionality and shared value, and the tools, practices and politics of resource allocation and conflict management.  Dan has received funding from ESRC, NERC and EPSRC and various EU funds for his research on social entrepreneurs in renewable energy, siting controversies and energy landscapes, the water-energy-food nexus, ecosystem services and poverty alleviation for small scale farmers adopting energy crops. He is currently involved in an EU project on renewable energy and landscape quality and an EPSRC project on the use of serious games in household energy management. He is director of the UK wide research network on Transforming Energy Demand Through Digital Innovation (TEDDINET).

 Transforming Energy Demand Through Digital Innovation (TEDDINET)

Programme Co-Director, Jamie Cross

Jamie Cross is a Senior Lecturer in Social Anthropology and Development. His research and teaching brings social anthropology to bear on problems, projects and technologies of ‘development’. Jamie joined the University of Edinburgh in 2011 with a regional specialisation in South Asia and am co-Director of the University of Edinburgh's Global Development Academy. He has carried out ethnographic fieldwork in India, Papua New Guinea and Scotland with support from the Leverhulme Trust, the Economic and Social Research Council, and the Royal Anthropological Institute, among others.

Global Development Academy

Mark Winskel

Mark Winskel is Chancellor's Research Fellow on Energy Innovation, in the Science, Technology and Innovation Studies (STIS) group, part of the School of Social and Political Science at Edinburgh University. Mark also works for the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) and ClimateXChange (Scotland's national centre for expertise on climate change). His research addresses energy technology change, governance and policy. This involves combining together knowledge of technology systems, organisations and institutions, and the wider societal context for energy production, distribution and use. In his past role as UKERC’s national Research Co-ordinator, he initiated, supported and led collaborations between researchers from social sciences, engineering and environmental sciences. He recently led a review of UKERC’s interdisciplinary research achievements which has helped inform Phase 3 UKERC research. He has an interdisciplinary background, with degrees in physical, environmental and social sciences.

Science, Technology and Innovation Studies (STIS)

UK Energy Research Centre


Claire Haggett

Claire Haggett is Lecturer in the Sociology of Sustainability.  Her research focuses on the policy, planning and politics of renewable energy development, particularly the role of public perceptions, community engagement, and landscape impact.  She has been Project Manager for a series of research projects for the Scottish Government and ClimateXChange, the latest of which have explored community investment in commercial energy schemes, and community benefits for offshore renewables.  She is also currently working with Local Energy Scotland on the Good Practice Principles for Community Engagement for onshore wind, and for offshore wind. Claire is currently the co-investigator on an EU Framework 7 project on offshore energy, leading on social acceptance issues.  She works closely with the UK and Scottish Governments, Marine Scotland, the Crown Estate, key stakeholders and policy makers from the Northern Ireland and Danish governments on social responses to renewables, and is the invited expert for the International Energy Agency work on the social acceptance of wind energy.


Ronan Bolton

Ronan Bolton is Lecturer in Science, Technology and Innovation Studies (STIS) at the School of Social and Political Science. His research examines the policy, market and regulatory challenges of transforming high carbon energy systems and enabling the deployment and diffusion of low carbon technologies and practices. Drawing from science and technology studies, innovation studies, and governance perspectives, his work has examined the changing relationships between regulators, government, energy companies, users and local authorities in the governance of energy systems at both the national and urban scales in the UK and internationally. His PhD research at Leeds looked at the social shaping of electricity and heat distribution networks in the UK. More recently he has examined new investment patterns in the electricity generation sector and the development of a European integrated electricity market in collaboration with the Scottish Government and ClimateXChange (Scotland's national centre for expertise on climate change).