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Dr Emily Judson

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Global Sustainability Institute

Faculty of Science and Engineering
Areas of Expertise:

Emily is a sociotechnical researcher who is interested in the interplay between technology, sustainability, and social domains. Her work examines factors shaping the coevolution of emerging technologies and society, with a focus on how this can influence sustainability goals and pathways. She specialises in the use of qualitative and participatory research methods.

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Emily joined the GSI in 2023 and currently works as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow examining public engagement in the PUSH-IT project - trialling smart seasonal heat storage using geothermal reservoirs.

Emily’s PhD explored governance of the GB digital energy revolution for net zero by 2050 and was conducted at the University of Exeter. Her thesis examined governance challenges emerging from GB energy system digitalisation, potential institutional responses, and how differential framings of digitalisation interact with net zero policy goals.

Beyond academia, Emily is an experienced research consultant who has worked on a range of energy and technology projects including Open Energy (winner of the UKRI MEDA Competition). Prior to her PhD Emily worked on international research and innovation policy with a regional focus on the Middle East and North Africa.

In her spare time Emily enjoys outdoor sports and is a keen open water swimmer.

Research interests

Emerging technologies: What emerging technologies are being used within sustainability transitions and why? How are technologies designed and in whose interests? How should emerging technologies by governed to ensure positive environmental and social outcomes?

Digitalisation: How and where can the digitalisation of key infrastructures and sectors (e.g. energy, water, transport) support the transition to net zero? What are the risks or negative consequences? How should data and digital technologies be governed in a manner that balances the need for innovation with appropriate safeguards?

Public engagement: How is the public currently conceptualised and engaged during technology development processes? How and why could this be changed to improve social and environmental outcomes? What good practice is generalisable and what is context-specific?

Democracy: How does sociotechnical change affect scope or possibilities for democratic activities, particularly in ‘non-traditional’ domains (e.g. energy democracy)? What are the effects of digitalisation on democratic praxis? What types of democratic activity emerge, or are constricted, alongside sociotechnical changes in the sustainability field?

  • PhD, Geography, University of Exeter (submitted 2023 – awaiting viva voce)
  • BA, Politics, Soas
Selected recent publications

Robison, R. et al. (2023) Shifts in the smart research agenda? 100 priority questions to accelerate sustainable energy futures, Journal of Cleaner Production, Volume 419, 137946, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2023.137946 

Judson, E., Fitch-Roy, O., and Soutar, I. (2022) Energy Democracy: A Digital Future?, Energy Research and Social Science, Volume 91, 102732, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.erss.2022.102732 

van Veelen, B., et al. (2021) Interventions on Democratizing Infrastructure, Political Geography, Volume 87 102378, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.polgeo.2021.102378 

Judson, E. et al. (2020) The centre cannot (always) hold: Examining pathways towards energy system de-centralisation, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Volume 118, 109499, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rser.2019.109499 

Recent presentations and conferences

Governing the GB digital energy revolution for net zero by 2050. Presentation to the Energy Systems Catapult, October 2023.

Code green: is digitalisation the way forward? Panel discussion for Ofgem’s People Development Programme, October 2023.

Towards smarter power systems – how and when to engage consumers? Participation in closed expert roundtable, International Energy Agency, May 2022.

UK Energy Data Governance: Considerations, Challenges, Responses. Energy Systems Digitalisation and Cybersecurity Workshop, Centre for Energy workshop, Newcastle University, November 2021. Recorded here.

Energy Democracy: A Digital Future? Oral presentation to International Science and Technology Studies Conference, Graz, May 2021.

Energy Democracy: A Digital Future? Oral presentation to International Science and Technology Studies Conference, Graz, May 2021.

Smart, Sustainable, Resilient Cities. Participation in closed expert roundtable, International Energy Agency, April 2021. Review of output report here.

Digitalisation and Energy Democracy. Paper presentation to International Early Career Researcher Forum on Infrastructures, Durham University, January 2020.