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Personal profile

Scholarly biography

I am a Lecturer in Human Geography and Sustainable Development within the School of Environment and Technology (SET). My background is as a sustainable development and human geography scholar, with research interests that centre on science, technology and innovation studies, energy justice, energy policy, nuclear energy and sustainable energy provision and use. I also have a strong personal interest in Scottish and Arctic energy provision.

Prior to joining SET, I was a Research Fellow in the Centre on Innovation and Energy Demand (CIED), part of the Science and Policy Research Unit (SPRU) at the University of Sussex. I completed my ESRC-funded Ph.D. at the University of St Andrews in Scotland in 2017. Alongside my lectureship, I coordinate the European Energy Justice Network and associated energy justice mailing list as well as the Energy and Social Science Network. I also serves as Managing Editor for the journal Energy Research & Social Science and as Associate Fellow of the Durham Energy Institute at the University of Durham. I have published extensively in the fields of energy and social science.

Approach to teaching

The biggest lesson I learnt throughout my own degrees was how to question a subject, to formulate a line of argument about it, and to articulately express it. I believe that it is only through developing critical, enquiring minds that we truly learn, and that debate is a key part of that. For the vast majority of students, the beginning of a University career is a steep transition away from learning by rote to learning independently. It is, essentially, an adventure in learning for your self. I enjoy guiding students through this process and seeing them flourish as a result.

I also strongly believe in research-led teaching, especially in the context of Sustainable Development. As part of a world in flux – where we are transitioning our energy infrastructure away from fossil fuels to renewables, for example – it is necessary to teach the state-of-the-art, to learn from student experience, and to learn from colleagues out with academia. Therefore, my lectures will contain both real world examples and where possible, external voices.

Finally, I have come to know that each student (or indeed person!) is capable of learning in fundamentally different ways, be it through lectures, practical workshops, or personal reading, for example. Therefore, my method of delivery will be diverse and will aim to capture varied forms of knowledge and creativity. I expect each of my students to engage in this and to have fun!

Research interests

My research interests focus on all things “energy” and particularly, on the social justice issues created by its production and use. In the context of the energy transitions, I am interested in knowing how we can make ethically sound energy decisions that: (1) locate energy infrastructure equitably, where possible, (2) recognise the correct people and their needs, and (3) uses appropriate decision-making techniques. I believe that we should ask these questions across the energy system to ensure that no social groups are disadvantaged by our energy choices. To illustrate what I mean, do we acknowledge the rights of uranium mining and the impacts of it on foreign landscapes when we make the decision to proceed with nuclear energy in the UK? And given the comparatively high price for nuclear energy gained from the new Hinkley Point C reactor and others that will follow, have we considered how this will affect consumer affordability?


In order to ascertain the potential answers to these questions, I undertake both empirical and conceptual work looking at a range of case studies, including nuclear energy in the UK, Scottish wind energy and going forward, the implementation of smart technologies.

Supervisory Interests

I am interested in supervising postgraduate research students in (at least) the following areas: energy policy; energy transitions; energy justice issues; energy systems thinking. 


At present, I am involved in the supervision of three students:


Alice Owen, Ph.D. candidate. Provisional title: ‘Drilling through the anthropocene: fracking, land and expertise in contemporary Britain’. Women’s environmental Global Organisation for community wellbeing (WeGO-ETN), Horizon 2020 consortium (2nd Supervisor)


Lee Towers, Ph.D. candidate. Provisional title: ‘Transitioning to renewable energies: the role of local action in achieving energy justice’. ESRC and Community Energy South collaboration through the University of Brighton Green Growth Platform (2nd Supervisor)


Kelly Prime, Ph.D. candidate (starting September 2019). Provisional title: ‘Smart(er) energy justice’. ESRC South Coast Doctoral Training Partnership 1+3 studentship (1st Supervisor)

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, University of St Andrews

External positions

Associate Fellow, Durham Energy Institute, University of Durham

14 Sep 2018 → …

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Kirsten Jenkins is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

energy Social Sciences
justice Social Sciences
energy shortage Social Sciences
Electricity Engineering & Materials Science
climate Social Sciences
innovation Social Sciences
sociotechnical system Social Sciences
Energy security Engineering & Materials Science

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 2013 2019

An agenda for sustainability transitions research: State of the art and future directions

Kohler, J., Geels, F., Kern, F., Markard, J., Wieczorek, A., Alkemade, F., Avelion, F., Bergek, A., Boons, F., Funfschilling, L., Hess, D., Holtz, G., Hyysalo, S., Jenkins, K., Kivimaa, P., Martiskainen, M., McMeekin, A., Muhlemeier, M. S., Nykvist, B., Onsongo, E. & 9 othersPel, B., Raven, R., Rohracher, H., Sanden, B., Schot, J., Sovacool, B., Turnheim, B., Welch, D. & Wells, P., 31 Jan 2019, In : Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions. 31, p. 1-32 32 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Social Movements
everyday life
civil society

Implementing Just Transition after COP24

Jenkins, K., 30 Jan 2019, 9 p. Climate Strategies.

Research output: Other contributionResearchpeer-review

Open Access

Justice, poverty, and electricity decarbonization

Monyei, C., Sovacool, B., Brown, M., Jenkins, K., Serestina, V. & Li, Y., 22 Jan 2019, In : The Electricity Journal. 32, 1, p. 47-51 5 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

LSI circuits
Energy security

Book review: Energy poverty and vulnerability: A global perspective

Jenkins, K., 4 Feb 2018, Elsevier UK : Energy.

Research output: Other contributionResearchpeer-review

Open Access

Conclusion: Towards systematic reductions in energy demand

Jenkins, K., Hopkins, D. & Roberts, C., 20 Dec 2018, Transitions in Energy Efficiency and Demand: The Emergence, Diffusion and Impact of Low-Carbon Innovation. Jenkins, K. & Hopkins, D. (eds.). 1 ed. Routledge, Vol. 1. p. 261-274 (Routledge Studies in Energy Transitions).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapterResearchpeer-review

Open Access
Energy efficiency

Activities 2017 2019

  • 1 Consultancy
  • 1 Editorial work
  • 1 Representation of University on boards and bodies

Implementing Just Transition After COP24

Kirsten Jenkins (Consultant)
28 Jan 2019

Activity: Consultancy


Centre for Spatial, Environmental and Cultural Politics (Organisational unit)

Kirsten Jenkins (Member)
1 Mar 2017 → …

Activity: External boards and professional/academic bodiesRepresentation of University on boards and bodies

Energy Research and Social Science (Journal)

Kirsten Jenkins (Editor)
1 Jun 201731 Dec 2021

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workEditorial work