Professor Patrick Devine-Wright
Professor in Human Geography


Patrick Devine-Wright is an environmental social scientist who draws from disciplines such as Human Geography and Environmental Psychology. He specialises in researching significant, policy-relevant environmental problems using an interdisciplinary collaborative approach that is theoretically informed and has clear pathways to impact.

Broad research specialisms:

  • understanding the symbolic and affective dimensions of people-place relations, particularly concepts of place attachment and place identity
  • investigating social and psychological aspects of siting new energy infrastructure such as wind farms and power lines, including 'NIMBYism’ and public engagement
  • understanding the motivation for pro-environmental and pro-social actions, particularly conceptions of citizenship applied to energy and environmental problems

Prof. Devine-Wright held posts at the University of Manchester‘s School of Environment and Development (Senior Lecturer, then Reader) and DeMontfort University‘s Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development (Research Fellow, then Senior Research Fellow) before joining the University of Exeter to take up a Chair in Human Geography in 2009. 

He acted as Principle Investigator for the ‘Beyond Nimbyism‘ interdisciplinary project, researching public engagement with renewable energy technologies, evaluated as ‘outstanding‘ in the end of grant peer review by ESRC and acted as Co-Investigator on research projects funded by ESPRC (CLUES and Conditioning Demand), the Norwegian Research Council (Sustainable Grid Development) and the European Union (EuTrace: a transdisciplinary assessment of climate engineering).

He sat on the Social Science Expert Panel advising two UK Government departments: DEFRA and DECC, as well as the National Advisory Group on Community Engagement for EirGrid (the Irish electricity grid operator). In 2014, he sat on the steering committee for the Sciencewise public dialogue on shale gas community engagement; and provided advice to a European Union funded project on public acceptance of powerlines, organised by the European Network of Transmission System Operators. He was an invited member of the National Advisory Group steering the UK Community Renewables Initiatives between 2001 and 2006; and acted as Lead Expert to the Office of Science and Technology’s Foresight Project on Sustainable Energy and the Built Environment (2008). 

He sits on the board of several academic journals: Global Environmental Change, Energy Research and Social Science, Environment and Behavior, Local Environment and PsyEcology; was guest editor of the 2010 special issue of the Journal of Environmental Psychology on ‘Place, Identity and Environmental Behaviour‘. He edited a book on ‘Public Engagement with Renewable Energy: From NIMBY to Participation' published by Earthscan in 2011. A book on 'Place Attachment', co-edited with Dr. Lynne Manzo (University of Washington), was published by Routledge in 2013, for which we received the annual 2014 Achievement Award from the US Environmental Design Research Association. 

Institutional memberships

Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society

Chartered Environmental Psychologist and member of the British Psychological Society

International Association for People-Environment Studies



BSc Psychology (Trinity College, Dublin),
MSc in Environmental Psychology (Surrey),
PhD in Social Psychology (Surrey)


Office hours: These vary from week to week and will be displayed on my door. To arrange to see me, please send me an email.

Contact details

Internal tel2298
Tel+44 (0) 1392 722298
AddressAmory Building
University of Exeter
Rennes Drive

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