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Dr Kate O'Sullivan

Dr Kate O'Sullivan

Research Associate, FLEXIS

+44 (0)29 2087 6262
Tower Building


My research interests are on the interplay between environmental, spatial and energy justice. I am concerned with how the sustainable and equitable use of natural resources is influenced by various economic, political and socio-spatial structures and how this manifests geographically. Research in this area is increasingly important as decarbonisation progresses and opportunities are presented that could enable emerging systems and structures become more just. My PhD research (2015-20) has highlighted the connections between political power, recognition, socio-economic development and the distribution of costs and benefits emerging from low carbon transition.

I am currently working as a Research Associate on the Active Building Centre research project. As a part of the Work Package 9 research team, I am exploring variegated experiences of living in Active or Zero Carbon Homes in and through space and time. Our research aims to unpack how well active building projects fare in achieving their own goals, and how effective they are in transforming practice and enabling socio-technical energy transitions. We also aim to understand how technical and social innovations in building design need to be capable of maintaining changes in built energy infrastructure at different scales (household, neighbourhoods, local community networks) taking into account emergent changes in regulatory regimes and decarbonisation of whole energy systems in the medium and longer term.


O'Sullivan, K., Golubchikov, O. and Mehmood, A. 2020. Uneven energy transitions: Understanding continued energy peripheralization in rural communities. Energy Policy 138, article number: 111288. (10.1016/j.enpol.2020.111288)

Golubchikov, O. and O'Sullivan, K. 2020. Energy periphery: uneven development and the precarious geographies of low-carbon transition. Energy and Buildings (10.1016/j.enbuild.2020.109818)

Marquand, J., O’ Sullivan, K., & Pearce, S.  2019. Factors influencing local and community engagement in renewable energy in Wales. Cardiff: The Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research, Data and Methods for the Institute of Welsh Affairs. (final project report available at: