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Professor Wouter Poortinga

Professor Wouter Poortinga


+44 (0)29 2087 4755
Tower Building, 70 Park Place, Cardiff, CF10 3AT


Research summary

I am a Professor of environmental psychology at the Welsh School of Architecture and the School of Psychology at Cardiff University. My research interests are in a wide variety of topics regarding human-environment interactions, including (1) environmental risk perception, (2) sustainable behaviours and lifestyles, and (3) housing, neighbourhoods and health.

I have organised a number of comprehensive surveys of public  opinion towards future energy options and climate change, and contributed to a  research synthesis of the literature on public attitudes to environmental  change. I am currently leading a project on public attitudes to nuclear power  and climate change in Britain two years after the Fukushima accident.

My work on sustainable behaviours and lifestyles examined  the role of environmental values and attitudes in household energy use, evaluated  the effectiveness and further attitudinal and behavioural impacts of the Welsh  carrier bag charge, and involved the development of a Welsh environmental  attitudes and behaviours segmentation model.

I am currently managing a portfolio for  research project on the topic of housing, neighbourhoods and health. This includes projects on the  health impacts of the Carmarthenshire Homes Standard (CHS) programme – based on  the Welsh Housing Quality Standard (WHQS), the health impacts and economic  value of meeting housing quality standards (in which we further develop the  Residential Environment Assessment Tool; REAT), and the evaluation of  structural energy-performance investments in low-income neighbourhood through  the Arbed programme.

Further research interests are in social capital and  cohesion and its role in community resilience and wellbeing, perceptions of  indoor air quality, and the clustering of lifestyle risk factors. Other  research helps to understand how social values get translated into action. This  research is being undertaken in collaboration with colleagues in the Values in  Action (ViA) Centre, at Cardiff University

Teaching summary

Level 1 (MEDIC): Health in Society: Stress, Health  and Coping lectures for the Health in Society module.

Level 2 (PSYCH): Social Psychology Practical (PS2007)  on the 'Asymmetry of Trust’

Level 3 (PSYCH): Coordinator and Lecturer on the Environmental  Psychology Module (PS3415) on the topics of Environmental Behaviour,  Environmental Risk Perception, Environmental Cognition, and Environmental  Influences on Attitudes, Behaviour, and Well-Being.

Level 3 (ARCHI): Social Aspects of Design lecture for  the Issues in Contemporary Architecture module.

M.Arch (ARCHI): Lectures and seminars on Social  Research Methods and Research Ethics for the Research Methods module (Part 2 of  Architectural Studies).

Masters (ARCHI): Lecture on Environmental Attitudes  and Behaviour for the Architecture Earth & Society module (MSc in Theory  and Practice of Sustainable Design; MSc in Sustainable Energy and Environment).

Masters (ARCHI): Tutoring and lecturing on Social  Research Methods for the Primitives module (MSc in Theory and Practice of  Sustainable Design; MSc in Sustainable Energy and Environment).



2002-2004: PhD  Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich.

1995-1997: Energy and Environmental  Studies, University of Groningen, the Netherlands (MSc level). Centre for  Energy and Environmental Studies (IVEM).

1990‑1995: MSc Social Psychology, University of Groningen,  the Netherlands.  Department of Social and Organisational Psychology


2014-present: Professor, Welsh School  of Architecture/ Department of Psychology, Cardiff  University, Cardiff

2010-2014: Senior  Lecturer, Welsh School  of Architecture/ Department of Psychology, Cardiff  University, Cardiff

2006-2010: RCUK  Academic Fellow, Welsh School of Architecture/ Department of Psychology, Cardiff University,  Cardiff

2001-2005: Senior  Research Associate. Centre for Environmental Risk (CER). University  of East Anglia, Norwich.

2000: Researcher.  Social and Cultural Planning Office (SCP), the Netherlands.

1999-2000: Researcher.  Centre for Environmental and Traffic Psychology (COV), University  of Groningen, the Netherlands.


























Research topics and related papers

I have a broad  interest spanning the topics of Environmental Attitudes and Behaviour,  Environmental Risk Perception, and Environmental Health. Current research topics  studied include:

  • Housing and health
  • The role of social  capital in community resilience and wellbeing
  • Public perceptions of  climate change and energy futures
  • Perceptions of  radiological risks (e.g. radon, nuclear power)
  • Sustainable lifestyles  and practices


National Institute of Health Research. Public Health Research programme (2013-2016)
Health impacts of structural  energy performance investments in Wales: An evaluation of the Arbed programme.

Carmarthenshire County Council (2009-2016)
Carmarthenshire homes standard  health impact scoping study.

National  Institute of Heath Research. Public Health Research programme (2011-2016)
Health impact, and economic value, of  meeting housing quality standards.
£ 525,361.

UK Energy Research Centre (2013)
Two Years On: How has the  Fukushima accident changed attitudes to nuclear power in Britain and Japan.

Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation and Great  Britain Sasakawa Foundation (2013)
Grant to organise public seminar  on Energy Policy, Media Representations, and Public Perceptions of Nuclear  Power after the Fukushima Disaster.

Japan Society for the Promotion of Science  (2012)
Invitation Fellowship for  Research in Japan (Short Term): Public Perceptions of Climate Change and Energy  Security, Preferences for Future Energy Technologies.

Welsh Government (2011)
Developing Narratives for a  Sustainable Wales.

Welsh Government (2011)
Evaluation of the Introduction of  a Charge on Single-Use Carrier Bags in Wales: Attitude Change and Behavioural  Spillover.

Welsh  Assembly Government: New Ideas Fund (2010-2011)
Community resilience and wellbeing in  Wales: A multilevel analysis of the 2007 and 2009 Citizenship Survey

Research  Councils UK (2010).
Public Attitudes to Low-Carbon Energy - Research Synthesis.

Welsh  Assembly Government (2010-2011)
Welsh environmental attitudes and  behaviour segmentation project.

Research  Councils UK, Living With Environmental Change (2009)
Research Synthesis. A review of public  attitudes to environmental change.£29,600.

Economic  and Social Research Council (2008-2010)
Public perceptions of climate change and  energy futures in Britain.

Department  of Health (2007-2009)
Awareness and perceptions of the risks of  exposure to radon in homes: a population based approach to examine the impacts  of local radon policies, trust, and social capital.£338,891

Leverhulme  Trust (2007-2010)
Energy futures and risk: exploring public  perceptions.

Economic  and Social Research Council (2005)
Public risk perceptions, climate change  and the reframing of UK energy policy

Research group

Understanding Risk


Postgraduate research interests

If you are interested in applying for a PhD, or for further information  regarding my postgraduate research, please contact me directly (contact details available on the 'Overview' page), or submit a formal application.

Current students

Ms  Christina Demski (Year 3)
Public  perceptions of energy choices and climate change.

Mr  Dan Venables (Staff Candidate)
Living  with nuclear power: A mixed methods study of local community perceptions.

Ms  Christine Suffolk (Year 1)
The  impacts of housing-led regeneration on energy practices of low income  households

Mr  Dan Rossiter (Year 1)
Classroom  environmental conditions and student performance