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 Sarah Becker

Sarah Becker

Research Associate

Tower Building, 70 Park Place, Cardiff, CF10 3AT


Research summary

As part of the Understanding Risk Research Group I have been involved in research exploring people's views on the financing of the energy transition in the UK. The UK Government has committed to reaching net zero emissions by 2050, requiring a significant transformation of the energy system. Public acceptance and engagement will be crucial to support such a major shift. One major challenge is how to reduce emissions that arise from how we heat our homes, which currently is primarily done powered by natural gas. In our current research project we are exploring which low carbon heating technologies are preferred by members of the general public and why. This research will help to inform a heat decarbonisation process that is based on public preferences. In a previous project we examined what people think about who should be responsible to pay for the energy transition.

For my PhD I investigated people's views on climate change mitigation and to what extent individual behaviour change approaches may attenuate support for structural level change. Further, I looked at perceptions of drought and how these relate to views on climate change in California.

Previously I have been involved in work studying the successful uptake of solar home systems in Kenya.


Undergraduate education

2009 - 2012: BSc Psychology (Class I),  University of Sussex, UK

Postgraduate education

2012  - 2013: MRes in Psychological Methods (passed with distinction), University of  Sussex,            UK  (funded by the ESRC)

2013 - 2017: PhD in Environmental  Psychology "Exploring views on climate change and how it should be addressed" supervised by Dr. Paul  Sparks in Psychology and Dr. David  Ockwell  in Geography, University of Sussex, UK (funded by the ESRC)


April 2017 - present: Research Associate,  Understanding Risk Research Group, Cardiff University,  UK
Project: Transforming the UK energy system: Public views on responsibility and how to pay for 2050 (UKERC  funded)







Research topics and related papers

Transforming  the UK energy system: Public views on responsibility and how to pay for 2050

Building  on previous survey research focus groups were conducted to examine people’s  perceptions on energy transitions including questions about responsibility and  how transitions should be paid for. Five focus groups (between 6-9 participants  each) took place in Glasgow, Cardiff, Birmingham and London (2 groups in the  latter). Participants were recruited to represent a diverse spread in terms of  age, gender and socio-demographic background to capture diverse views. In the  focus groups the energy system was defined broadly exploring perspectives on production,  transmission and use. The analysis of the focus groups is looking at topics  around affordability and profits, distrust in institutions and views on social  justice.

Research group

I  work as part of the Understanding  Risk Research Group, which includes researchers from various disciplines  and methodological backgrounds. The group has members from within Cardiff  University and also works with institutions such as Nottingham University,  Sheffield University and the University of East Anglia.


Past projects

Media activities