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School of Social and Political Science: Staff profiles


Ronan Bolton

Ronan Bolton
Dr Ronan Bolton
Science Technology and Innovation Studies School of Social and Political Science University of Edinburgh
2.29 Chisholm House High School Yards Edinburgh UK EH1 1LZ
+44 (0)131 650 6366
Research Interests
Climate change and energy policy, energy policy and politics, Technology and society, sociology of markets, Sustainability


I am an interdisciplinary energy researcher with a background in mechanical engineering and environmental social science. My work examines the interconnected policy, market and regulatory challenges of transforming carbon based energy systems and enabling the development of lower carbon energy infrastructure. I have a particular interest in sustainability transitions research and the study of electricity market design processes.

I am a member of the School's Energy and Society Research Group which brings together energy research in sociology, science, technology and innovation studies (STIS), social anthropology and political science.


PhD, Energy Policy, University of Leeds

MSc, Environmental Sustainability, University of Edinburgh

BEng, Mechanical Engineering, National University of Ireland Galway


Research Interests

Climate change and energy policy, energy policy and politics, Technology and society, sociology of markets, Sustainability

Current Projects

Reframing Energy Demand: Innovation for Sustainable Heat: An EPSRC funded project investigating the politics of sustainable heat pathways in the UK, Germany and Denmark. We collaborate with the Centre for Innovation in Energy Demand based at SPRU

European Energy Policy and Markets: A study of the emergence and development of the the EU’s Internal Electricity Market (IEM), with a particular focus on implications for Scottish and UK energy system transitions. The project is funded by the Scottish Government through  ClimateXChange

InGrid - Integration of Power Transmission Grids: Researching Integration of Power Transmission Grids - Prospects and Challenges at National and European Levels in advancing the energy transition. Funded by the Norwegian Research Council through the ENERGIX programme

PhD Supervision

PhD Topics

I am interested in supervising PhDs in: Socio-technical Systems, UK and International Energy Policy, Future of Energy Markets, Infrastructure Governance and Climate Change

Find out more about the programmes that I am involved with:

PhD in Science and Technology Studies


My full publication list is available online.

Recent Publications 

Hall, S., Foxon, T. & Bolton, R. Financing the Civic Energy Sector: How financial institutions affect ownership models in Germany and the United Kingdom. Energy Research and Social Science (forthcoming)

Bolton, R., Foxon, T. & Hall, S. Energy transitions and uncertainty: Creating low carbon investment opportunities in the UK electricity sector. Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy (forthcoming)

Hall, S., Foxon, T. & Bolton, R. Investing in low carbon transitions: Energy finance as an Adaptive Market. Climate Policy (forthcoming)

Bolton, R. & Foxon, T. (2015) Infrastructure transformation as a socio-technical process: Implications for the governance of energy distribution networks in the UK. Technological Forecasting and Social Change. 90, Part B

Bolton, R. & Foxon, T. (2015) A socio-technical perspective on low carbon investment challenges - Insights for UK energy policy. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions. 14, p. 165-181

Bolton, R. & Foxon, T. (2013) Urban Infrastructure Dynamics: Market Regulation and the Shaping of District Energy in UK Cities. Environment and Planning A. 45, 9, p. 2194-2211