Kirsten Jenkins


Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

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 two 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 (External supervisor, University of Brighton) 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 (External supervisor, University of Brighton)

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Personal profile


Guidance and Feedback Hours


Autumn 2019 (during term time, 16 Sept - 29 Nov): 

  • Thursdays, 2-4pm (in Room 3.31 Chisholm House, which is in the attic) 
  • Fridays, 2-4pm (in Room 3.31 Chisholm House. Tiggy the border terrier will join me!)
  • You may also email for an appointment


Approach to teaching


I started at Edinburgh in Autumn 2019 and am initially involved in (1) convening the undergraduate Science, Nature and Environment course and (2) co-convening the Energy Policy and Sustainability course at honours level. 


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 yourself. 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.


I havepublished 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.As additional responsibilities, I coordinate the 1600-member Energy and Social Science Network and the Energy Justice JISC mailing list. I also serve as Managing Editor for the journal Energy Research & Social.

Education/Academic qualification

Sustainable Development, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), University of St Andrews

Award Date: 5 Dec 2016

Sustainable Development, Master of Research, University of St Andrews

Award Date: 30 Nov 2013

Sustainable Development, Bachelor of Science, University of St Andrews

Award Date: 19 Jun 2012

External positions

Associate Fellow, Durham Energy Institute (University of Durham)

1 Sep 2018 → …

Managing Editor, Energy Research & Social Science (Elsevier)

1 Jun 2017 → …


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