Professor Patrick Devine-Wright
Professor in Human Geography


NEWS: I have been called to give evidence at a Parliamentary Inquiry on carbon monoxide poisoning in domestic contexts, with a specific interest in behavioural aspects of appliance use and servicing. This builds on previous research on public engagement with sustainable thermal technologies such as heat pumps, wood stoves and biomass boilers conducted as part of the Conditioning Demand research project.  


Prof. Patrick Devine-Wright 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 is an environmental social scientist who draws from disciplines such as Human Geography and Environmental Psychology. He held posts at the University of Manchester‘s School of Environment and Development (Senior Lecturer, then Reader) and De Montfort 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 is currently a 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 sits on the Social Science Expert Panel advising two UK Government departments: DEFRA and DECC. He also currently gives advice to a DECC/Sciencewise public dialogue on unconventional hydrocarbons, and to a European Union funded project on public acceptance of powerlines, organised by the European Network of Transmission System Operators.

In the past, he was an invited member of EirGrid's (the Irish electricity grid operator) National Advisory Group on Community Engagement in 2012/13; a 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 the academic journals 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.

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: Monday Sept 30th 1-2pm and Friday Oct 4th 3-4pm (note these will vary across term - please check my door weekly)

Contact details

Internal tel2298
Tel+44 (0) 1392 722298
AddressAmory Building
College of Life and Environmental Sciences
University of Exeter
Rennes Drive

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