Architectural Science Group (ASG)

Nick Hacking

Nick Hacking's academic background is in Geography (BA Hons) and Sustainability, Planning and Environmental Policy (MSc). He is currently studying full-time to complete a PhD on modelling low-carbon energy transitions. Previously, he undertook interdisciplinary research into attempts to improve sustainability outcomes in the UK planning system via greater public engagement.

Nick's research interests centre on sustainability transitions towards low-carbon energy use especially in the built environment. His work focuses on the empirical testing of models of managed transitions and their policy implications. Between 2010 and 2013, he was involved in a socio-economic analysis for the EPSRC's Supergen XIV 'Delivery of Sustainable Hydrogen' consortium of a managed transition towards greater use of hydrogen and fuel cells in national economies. This work involved collaborating with colleagues at the Low Carbon Research Institute (LCRI) in Wales, Supergen XIV consortium partners in the UK and others in the international hydrogen and fuel cell research community.

Nick is a member of The European Association for the Study of Science and Technology (EASST) as well as the Sustainability Transitions Research Network (STRN).

Nick Hacking

PhD Abstract:
Fuelling the Motors of Sustainable Innovation?: A Comparative German-UK Study of Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Innovative Activity

The overall aim of this research is to better understand the relative levels of governance that are achievable for those institutions pursuing hydrogen and fuel cell (HFC) innovation pathways in Germany and the UK. This will be done by comparing the relative levels of agency that institutional HFC stakeholders have in each country. The analysis begins by characterising communities of scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs into actor-networks who are involved in national technological innovation systems (TISs). Key events in each TIS are then plotted longitudinally and labelled using seven entrepreneurial 'functions of innovation systems' (Hekkert et al, 2007). In a process of cumulative causation, these functions are said to have the potential to act as 'motors of sustainable innovation'. Evidence for and against this approach in the case of hydrogen and fuel cells (HFCs) in Germany and the UK will be based on a number of regional-level case studies from each country supported by 49 semi-structured interviews. From this comparative analysis, potential improvements to the TIS model are suggested. These focus in particular on delineating the appropriate territorial boundaries for TISs. In practical terms, a contribution towards a more advanced assessment of the character of low-carbon energy policymaking for HFCs will be made for those policy-makers wishing to know how, when and where similar such low-carbon innovation can be encouraged and supported.

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