School of Social and Political Science

Kirsten Jenkins

Job Title

Lecturer in Energy, Environment and Society

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Chisholm House

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High School Yards

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Programme Director for the Energy, Society and Sustainability MSc

Dr Kirsten Jenkins is an early career Lecturer in Energy, Environment and Society within the Science, Technology and Innovation Studies (STIS) group of the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Edinburgh. Kirsten is also the Programme Director for the cross-college Energy, Society and Sustainability MSc programme, which is run in partnership with the School of Geosciences.

Kirsten’s background is as a sustainable development and human geography scholar, with research and teaching interests that centre on energy justice; energy policy; science, technology and innovations studies; transitions theory and sustainable energy provision and use.

Prior to joining STIS, Kirsten held positions as a Lecturer in Human Geography and Sustainable Development within the School of Environment and Technology (SET) at the University of Brighton and as a Research Fellow in Energy Justice in the Centre on Innovation and Energy Demand (CIED), part of the Science and Policy Research Unit (SPRU) at the University of Sussex. Kirsten completed her Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)-funded Ph.D. at the University of St Andrews in December 2016.

As additional responsibilities, Kirsten coordinates the 1600-member Energy and Social Science Network and the Energy Justice JISC mailing list. She also serves as Managing Editor for the journal Energy Research & Social Science and associate fellow of the Durham Energy Institute at the University of Durham.

Kirsten has published extensively in the fields of energy and social science and has worked on projects funded by the RCUK Energy Programme, Norwegian Research Council, CREDS and the ESRC.

Undergraduate Teaching

My initial teaching responsibilities at undergraduate level are to convene the Science, Nature and Environment first year course and to co-convene the third year Energy Policy and Sustainability course.

Postgraduate Teaching

I am Programme Director for the MSc in Energy, Society and Sustainability, alongside Dr Laura Watts as Programme Co-Director.

You can find all of my publications on Google Scholar, ResearchGate or PURE. If you'd like access to a particular file, please do email me directly.

Research interests

Research interests

Environment, Technology and society, Energy justice, Climate change and energy policy, Renewable energy, Energy policy, Energy transitions

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.

Current Projects

Fuel and transport poverty in the UK’s energy transition (FAIR) (Starting January 2020): Through equity and justice investigations, this project will examine the intersections between fuel and transport poverty, and low carbon energy transitions, in the United Kingdom.

Project team:

  • Dr Mari Martiskainen, University of Sussex (PI)
  • Professor Stefan Bouzarovski, University of Manchester
  • Dr Debbie Hopkins, University of Oxford
  • Dr Kirsten Jenkins, University of Edinburgh
  • Dr Paul McKenzie, University of Ulster
  • Dr Neil Simcock, Liverpool John Moores University
  • Professor Benjamin Sovacool, University of Sussex

INCLUsive Decarbonization and Energy transition (INCLUDE) (Starting January 2020): The goal of INCLUDE is to develop knowledge-based solutions that can facilitate a just and socially inclusive low-carbon energy transition. Participatory processes involving municipalities, citizens and energy corporations – 23 different user-partners in total - will be a key part of the centre’s work. The centre will be led by Professor Tanja Winther of the University of Oslo (UiO), with six main research partners: The Fridtjof Nansen Institute (FNI), the Arctic University of Norway (UiT), CICERO Center for International Climate Research, The Institute of Transport Economics (TØI), OsloMet and Durham University, UK. I will be working with the Durham team.

PhD Topics

I am interested in supervising PhD applicants on topics related to energy justice, the Just Transition, energy policy and energy transitions, especially from a STIS (Science, Technology and Innovation Studies) analytical perspective.

Find out more about the programmes that I am involved with: (opening in new windows)

Current PhD Students

  • Adolfo Mejia-Montero, Ph.D. candidate. 'Energy justice and utility-scale wind power in the Isthmus: Context, Resistance and Identity'. (Second Supervisor)
  • Rebecca Grant, Ph.D. candidate. ‘The geographies of energy justice: assessing the implications of social update in Kenya’. ESRC 1+3 Studentship (Second Supervisor)
  • Alice Owen, Ph.D. candidate. ‘Drilling through the anthropocene: fracking, land and expertise in contemporary Britain’. Women’s environmental Global Organisation for community wellbeing (WeGO-ETN), Horizon 2020 consortium (External Supervisor for University of Brighton)
  • Lillian Sol Cueva, Ph.D. candidate. ‘Women's imaginaries: Futuring energy in Mexico City's Public Markets' (External Supervisor for Erasmus University of Rotterdam)

Staff Hours and Guidance

Semester 1 (2020/2021): Please email directly for an appointment (with or without bonus terrier).