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Dr Iain Soutar
Associate Research Fellow


My research centres on understanding forces of inertia and innovation in energy systems, and the implications thereof for meeting both policy and societal objectives. The focus of my Phd thesis was on the role of community energy – and of citizens more broadly – in influencing transformative change in the UK energy system. My research currently concerns the role of innovation processes in addressing challenges related to the water-energy-food nexus. I am a member of the Energy Policy Group.


Soutar I, 2017 (forthcoming). Community energy as a site for social and technological innovation. Chapter in J. Backhaus, A. Genus, S. Lorek, E. Vadovics & J. Wittmayer (2017 – in preparation) Social Innovation and Sustainable Consumption: Research and Action for Societal Change. Routledge, London

Soutar I (2016) From local to global value: The transformational nature of community energy. PhD Thesis. University of Exeter (Link)

Woodman B, Soutar I & Mitchell C. (2016) Response to Environmental Audit Committee’s inquiry into role of Treasury in relation to Sustainable Development. Feb 2016

Kuzemko C, Britton J, Soutar I & Woodman B. (2015) Written response: Inquiry into ‘A smarter energy future for Wales’. Nov 2015

Kuzemko C, Britton J, Hoggett R, Mitchell C, Soutar I. & Steward T. (2015) Ofgem Consultation Response: NTBMs: Supporting transformative change in the energy market. May 2015

Iain Soutar & Jessica Whiting (2013) Energy Security Policy in Britain: Markets, Complexity and Challenges. In Mitchell, C.; Watson, J. and Whiting, J. (eds.) New Challenges in Energy Security: The UK in a Multipolar World, Palgrave Macmillian (Link)

Soutar I, Hoggett R, Devine Wright P & Fudge S. (2013) Submission by the Energy Policy Group and Environment and Sustainability Research Group of the University of Exeter to the Call for Evidence concerning a Community Energy Strategy. 


Soutar I 2017 Balancing diversity and coherence in innovation space-making at the water-energy-food nexus.  Energy-water-climate change nexus (EWCN) in a transitional economy: sustainability and resilience. 22-26 May 2017, Nanjing University, Jiangsu, China (Link)

Soutar I & Mitchell C, 2017. Towards pragmatic narratives of societal engagement in the UK energy system. AAG Annual Meeting, Boston, USA. 6 April 2017 (Link)

Soutar I & Mitchell C (2016) 'Grappling with Wickedness: The articulation of WEF nexus governance in the UK'. RGS Annual Conference, London, September 2016 (Link)

Soutar I. Keeping up with the costs of energy system change. Yealm Community Energy. March 2017 (Link)

Soutar I. (2015) 'The role of social capital in energy systems transformation: Insights from community energy'. Paper presented at SCORAI Workshop, Vienna, November 2015 (Link)

Soutar I. (2015) 'The use (and abuse?) of evidence in the development of the UK Community Energy Strategy'. Talk given at the GSI Conference: The interface between sustainability research and policy. Anglia Ruskin University, 26-27 Jan 2015

Soutar I. (2014) 'Is small-scale beautiful (and how beautiful?): Understanding the role of community energy within the wider UK energy system'. Talk given at Norwich Conference on Earth Systems Governance, 1-3 July 2014, UEA

Soutar I. (2014) 'Moving the immovable: Is community energy a system changer?' EPG Seminar, Jan 2014, Penryn, UK

Soutar I. (2013) 'Evidencing value and the value of evidence: What role for small-scale energy in the UK?' Poster presented at the UKERC Summer School, 6-11 July 2013, Warwick University

Soutar I. (2013) 'Community energy in Cornwall: practice and policy'. Talk given at the Community energy workshop, Oct 2013, University of Exeter

Soutar I. (2013) 'What role for small-scale energy? Understanding the value of challenging large-scale lock-in'. Talk given at Facing the Future Symposium, 10-12 April 2013, Dundee


Soutar I (2017). Nexus-relevant innovations: Insects as a novel source of protein. Stepping Up Blog: 30th January 2017 (Link)

Soutar I (2016). Nexus-relevant innovations: Anaerobic digestion. Stepping Up Blog: 19th September 2016 (Link)

Soutar I (2015) ‘The strategic importance of democratising energy’. EPG Blog, 8th October, 2015 (Link)

Soutar I (2015) ‘Social capital: a key ingredient of energy system transformation’. EPG Blog, 16th June, 2015 (Link)

Soutar I (2015) ‘Forget the ‘trilemma’ – tackling the fourth challenge of inertia is the key to unlocking a sustainable energy future’. New Thinking Blog, 12th January, 2015 (Link)

Soutar I (2014) ‘Notes for an energy policy resolution’. EPG Blog, 14th January, 2014 (Link)

Soutar I (2013) ‘Honesty amid complexity: What role for evidence in energy policy?’. EPG Blog, 2nd September, 2013 (Link)


2016 PhD (Exeter) Thesis: 'From local to global value: The transformational nature of community energy' (Link)
2009 MSc Economics for Natural Resource and Environmental Management (Cranfield)
2004 BSc Environmental Science (Dundee)


Contact details

AddressTremough House
University of Exeter
Penryn Campus
TR10 9FE

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