Tim Braunholtz-Speight  University of Manchester

Tim is currently working as a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Tyndall Centre at the University of Manchester, on a study of finance and business models for community energy projects. He previously researched the social and democratic potential of alternative finance (online crowdfunding, lending and community shares) at the University of Leeds’ Bauman Institute.  His PhD examined power relations around community land ownership in Scotland, combining in-depth case studies of two Community Land Initiatives with multi-level power analysis drawing on Gaventa’s “powercube” framework.  Tim has previously worked on local, regional and international development policy research at the Overseas Development Institute, the University of the Highlands and Islands, and both Leeds universities. His research interests centre on questions of power and empowerment, democracy and resources.

Amy Burnett  University of Reading

Amy’s research focuses on the role of civil society groups in promoting sustainable development in the context of planning and broader policy influence. Her current research explores notions of sustainability transitions and the role networks perform in fostering innovation in the context of Neighbourhood Planning.

Emily Creamer  University of Edinburgh

Emily is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Edinburgh.  Her research focuses on public participation in sustainability policy and the role of communities in low carbon transitions.  Emily has been involved in a variety of research projects, including: the use of smart meters and monitors in household energy management, the social aspects of local/community energy, the value of cross-sector dialogue in national energy transitions, and the local dynamics of community-led climate change action in remote rural Scotland.

Jennifer Dickie  University of Stirling

Jen became a lecturer in Environmental Geography at the University of Stirling in June 2015. Prior to this, she was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Leicester where she was involved in a number of interdisciplinary research projects that span the social and natural sciences. Most recently, she worked on a renewable energy project, Rural Hybrid Energy Enterprise Systems (RHEES) that forms part of the EPSRC’s ‘Bridging the Urban Rural Divide’ programme.  Jen specialises in using mixed method approaches in her research, including GIS techniques, to assess socio-environmental interactions of the energy landscape. Currently, her research interests are focused around the socio-technical assemblages of renewable energy systems, public perceptions and reaction to energy transitions, energy justice and the social challenges associated with the development of the shale gas industry.

Will Eadson  Sheffield Hallam University

Will is a Research Fellow in the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research (CRESR). His research interests lie broadly in the intersection between the move to a low carbon economy and spatial, social and economic inequalities. Much of Will’s academic work to date has focused on government policy on low carbon and energy transitions with an emphasis on community, local and regional responses to this. He is especially interested in the experiences of non-exceptional places, and what they might tell us about sustainability transitions. Will is currently attempting to develop areas of work exploring local/community action on environmental sustainability as a tool for economic and social regeneration, and on the variable nature of work (broadly conceived) in the low carbon economy. He is currently conducting research for Groundwork UK on engaging communities in sustainability initiatives through empowering young people as ‘green leaders’.

Michael Foden  Keele University

Mike is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the School of Social Science and Public Policy at Keele University on the EU Horizon2020-funded collaborative project, ‘SafeConsume’, seeking to better understand domestic food practices. He previously worked on the ESRC ‘Researching the Domestic Nexus’ project at the University of Sheffield and in the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research (CRESR) where he also completed his PhD.  Mike’s interests, broadly speaking, are in: what people normally do and how that changes, individually and collectively; everyday life as a political space; ‘capitalist’ and ‘alternative’ economic practices and the overlaps and interactions between them. More specifically he is interested in the environmental sustainability implications of each of these concerns, hoping to better understand the attempts of individuals and small groups to ‘green’ their own lives and influence others around them, as well as larger scale government- and NGO-led ‘behaviour change’ interventions.

Sioned Hâf  Bangor University

Sioned is a researcher and activist working in the field of local, community owned renewable energy projects. Based in Bangor University, Gwynedd, her current interest lie in exploring the relationship between the empowerment of communities through ownership and development of local renewable energy projects. She also has an interest in bridging the gap in knowledge between the economic sustainability of rural areas and the cultural resilience of communities, particularly those with minoritised languages, a nexus rarely explored in the field of renewable energy and sustainability research.

Kirsty Holstead  University of St Andrews 

Kirsty is currently completing a PhD in water governance at the University of St Andrews.  She previously worked as an environmental social scientist at the James Hutton Institute with an eclectic interdisciplinary background.  Her most recent work was as part of an EU FP7 project called TESS (Transition to European Societal Sustainability) which aimed to understand the contribution that community based initiatives make in bringing social change and reducing impacts of climate change. Whilst at the Hutton Institute she completed research on a range of topics, all focused on how to inform and enable equitable and sustainable natural resource management. Her PhD research will bring together her two research passions: communities and water management.

Max Lacey-Barnacle Cardiff University

Max’s academic background is in the Social Sciences, where he holds a BA in Politics and International Relations from the University of Sussex and a Masters in Environment, Politics and Globalisation from Kings College London. He has gained experience in environmental policy and local government, working in the policy events sector and on sustainability projects with Lambeth council. He has also worked with a community energy group as part of his MA thesis on an urban renewable energy co-operative in Brixton, London.  Having joined Cardiff University in 2014 and building on his research interest in a rapidly growing community energy sector, he is currently pursuing a highly interdisciplinary PhD using a comparative analysis of different organisational types around urban community energy and exploring the ‘energy justice’ implications of projects within Bristol City. He also has a growing interest in the role of both networks and intermediaries in shaping ‘community’ energy justice, with a particular reference to emerging decentralised renewable energy infrastructures and questions of ownership, governance and community benefit.

Marianna Markantoni  Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC)

Marianna is a social geographer and a rural society researcher at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) in Edinburgh. Her current research focuses on rural community development policies and strategies, as well as initiatives led by communities. In her work she researches issues of community resilience, capacity-building, and community empowerment.  Marianna is currently working on a five year Research Programme entitled: ‘Local Assets, Local Decisions and Community Resilience’ in rural locations and benefits arising for community driven development and growth, including implications for local democracy, community participation, inclusive and just governance (Rural and Environment Research Analysis Directorate – RESAS , Strategic Research Programme, 2016-21, WP 3.4).  Marianna’s previous work focused on the ‘Low Carbon Rural Economy’ and in particular on the governance and institutions involved in facilitating or hindering the transition to a low carbon economy in rural areas. She was the Working Package coordinator of the ‘Low Carbon Rural Economy’ at SRUC (WP 4.2, RESAS 2011-2016).  Prior moving to SRUC Marianna did her PhD on Rural entrepreneurship, lifestyle businesses and rural development at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands.

Annabel Pinker  James Hutton Institute

Annabel is a social anthropologist and Leverhulme Early Career Fellow (2015-18) at the James Hutton Institute in Aberdeen. Her Ph.D., which she completed at the University of Cambridge in 2010, explored missionaries, cooperativism, and state formation in the Ecuadorian Andes. Her early postdoctoral work (at CRESC, University of Manchester, and ILAS, University of London) explored how state power in Peru is being reconfigured through the emergent institutional and political spaces opened up by decentralisation.  She is currently developing research on the social, material, and political processes entailed by moves towards the decentralisation of energy in Scotland through the burgeoning of local renewable energy schemes.  The project will look at the new coalitions of power, technology, expertise and everyday life posed by on-grid, off-grid and micro-gridded renewable energy infrastructures, exploring the kinds of political spaces such socio-technical projects open up, and how local ‘community-based’ initiatives negotiate policy and state-based regulatory frameworks in attempting to implement them.

Phedeas Stephanides  University of East Anglia

Phedeas completed his PhD under the supervision of Dr Gill Seyfang and Dr Tom Hargreaves at the University of East Anglia (Science, Society and Sustainability (3S) Research Group, School of Environmental Sciences).  His interests centre on sustainable consumption, grassroots innovations and community currency movements. He is intrigued by the tense interaction between an unsustainable society and the capitalist politics of unsustainability on the one hand and inspiring grassroots innovations supporting life despite-yet-beyond this capitalist status-quo and striving for social change.  Phedeas is particularly interested in projects, movements, innovations and everyday practices defined by a radical ethos and the customary choice of seeking to avoid any relations with the mainstream. Through his PhD research he aims to critically assert the validity of consistent claims that the economic downturn may constitute an unprecedented opportunity for initiating grassroots social innovations capable of both: a) helping meet everyday needs in more sustainable manners, and b) of paving the way for broader social change.  In addition to his PhD research, Phedeas is also: serving as the editor of book reviews for the International Journal of Community Currency Research (IJCCR); a member of the Grassroots Innovations Research Group and the Community Economies Research Network; and an academic-activist involved in a number of grassroots movements for social change and anti-capitalism.

Gerald Taylor Aiken  University of Luxembourg

Gerald is an ‘assistant chercheur’, with the Geography department of the ‘Identités. Politiques, Sociétés, Espaces (IPSE)’ unit of the Université du Luxembourg. He is an Environmental Geographer with a particular obsession for community. His current position looks at Environmental Economic Geography in a european context. He has previously taught Geography at Leeds and Durham universities in England.

Mags Tingey  University of Edinburgh

Mags is a part-time PhD researcher in Sociology and Research Officer at the University of Edinburgh. Based in the Heat and the City research group, her research is about local government strategies for investment in low carbon energy. Using an economic sociology perspective her PhD examines the interactions of valuation frameworks in the development of local authority-led energy initiatives. Mags is also a researching local energy business structures as part of CREDS research on Multi-level Governance and Energy Demand. This builds on UKERC and ETI research on Local Engagement in UK Energy Systems. Mags has also co-convened the Scottish Heat Network Partnership Practitioner Group as well as supported the UK district energy vanguards network.

Bregje van Veelen  Durham University

Bregje is a Post Doctoral Research Associate in the Department of Geography at Durham University. There she works on the REINVENT project: Realising Innovation in Transitions for Decarbonisation, which looks at different economic sectors where low carbon transitions are still relatively unexplored. Part of Bregje’s work focuses on the role community groups play in driving innovation. Previously Bregje conducted her PhD research at the University of Edinburgh, where her research focused on the governance of community renewable energy projects. She is particularly interested in how these projects fit within a wider community/localism agenda, and what the democratic implications are of these emerging governance arrangements.  She has also worked on a project commissioned by the Scottish Government which looked at the potential for community investment in commercial renewable energy schemes, and spent six months working at the Scottish Government, where she helped to develop a new community landownership strategy.

Katy Wright  University of Leeds

Katy is a Lecturer at the University of Leeds.