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Dr Femke Nijsse

Dr Femke Nijsse

Lecturer at Global Systems Institute


 Laver Building 706


Laver Building, University of Exeter, North Park Road, Exeter, EX4 4QE, UK


I'm a complexity scientist with experience modelling climate, energy systems and the economy.

Energy research

I'm working on innovation in the energy system and the transition towards sustainable energy. I have been involved in the Economics of Energy Innovation and System Transition project (EEIST) led previously by Jean-Francois Mercure. The project seeks to inform energy policy in China, Brazil and India, as well as the UK and the EU. As part of this project, I've improved the representation of the power sector in the energy-economy-environment model E3ME-FTT. Major energy technologies in E3ME-FTT are represented with evolutionary economics, so that the diffusion of a new technology follows an S-curve. I've improved the power sector model by improving the representation of learning, getting higher-quality data and improve the representation of energy storage.

I'm co-leading a follow-up project EEIST 2 with Tim Lenton. For this, I'm working on improving flexibility options in E3ME-FTT to better understand the intergration of high shares of variable renewables in electricity grids. In particular, I'm interested in energy storage innovation and sector coupling as means to deal with intermittency. This should inform what type of policies are effective now that the major barriers towards diffusion are changing (supply chain / grid stability rather than costs)

Climate research

I did my PhD within mathematics in the Exeter Climate Systems group with Peter Cox. It involved finding a theoretical basis for emergent constraints and improving (statistical) techniques. For some processes, a group of climate models shows a relationship between a past and future variable. Measurements of the first allows us to exploit this relationship and get a better estimate of our future climate. My focus was on decadal variability, historical warming and climate sensitivity.


PhD, Mathematics (2017–2020)
MSc, Meteorology, Physical Oceanography and Climate  (2014–2017)
BSc, Physics and Astronomy (honours), Utrecht University (2011–2014)

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Research interests

Femke and her research group work on two main areas:

  • The evolution of the energy transition in the power sector, heating and cooling and transport
  • to bring about transformative change

Research projects


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Journal articles

Pasqualino R, Peñasco C, Barbrook-Johnson P, Senra de Moura F, Kolesnikov S, Hafner S, Nijsse FJMM, Lamperti F, Hinder B, Melekh Y, et al (2024). Modelling induced innovation for the low-carbon energy transition: a menu of options. Environmental Research Letters
Qin J, Lynch C, Barbrook-Johnson P, Salas P, Yang G, Ferreira Cardia Haddad M, Nijsse F, Pasqualino R, Mercure J-F (2023). How are climate policies assessed in emerging economies? a study of ex-ante policy appraisal in Brazil, China, and India. Climate Policy, 1-17.
Nijsse FJMM, Mercure J-F, Ameli N, Larosa F, Kothari S, Rickman J, Vercoulen P, Pollitt H (2023). The momentum of the solar energy transition. Nat Commun, 14(1). Abstract.  Author URL.
Mercure J-F, Sharpe S, Vinuales JE, Ives M, Grubb M, Lam A, Drummond P, Pollitt H, Knobloch F, Nijsse FJMM, et al (2021). Risk-opportunity analysis for transformative policy design and appraisal. Global Environmental Change, 70, 102359-102359.
Nijsse FJMM, Cox PM, Williamson MS (2020). An emergent constraint on Transient Climate Response from simulated historical warming in CMIP6 models. Abstract.
Nijsse FJMM, Cox PM, Williamson MS (2020). An emergent constraint on transient warming from simulated historical warming in CMIP6 models. Abstract.
Huntingford C, Williamson MS, Nijsse FJMM (2020). CMIP6 climate models imply high committed warming. Climatic Change, 162(3), 1515-1520.
Williamson MS, Thackeray CW, Cox PM, Hall A, Huntingford C, Nijsse FJMM (2020). Emergent constraints on climate sensitivities. Abstract.  Author URL.
Nijsse FJMM, Cox PM, Williamson MS (2020). Emergent constraints on transient climate response. (TCR) and equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) from historical warming in CMIP5 and CMIP6 models. Earth System Dynamics, 11(3), 737-750. Abstract.
Nijsse F, Cox PM, Huntingford C, Williamson M (2019). Decadal global temperature variability increases strongly with climate sensitivity. Nature Climate Change, 9, 598-601.
Nijsse FJMM, Dijkstra HA (2018). A mathematical approach to understanding emergent constraints. Earth System Dynamics, 9(3), 999-1012. Abstract.
Cox PM, Williamson MS, Nijsse FJMM, Huntingford C (2018). Cox et al. reply. Nature, 563(7729), E10-E15.  Author URL.
Williamson MS, Cox PM, Nijsse FJMM (2018). Theoretical foundations of emergent constraints: relationships between. climate sensitivity and global temperature variability in conceptual models. Abstract.  Author URL.

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Postgraduate modules

  • GEOM144 Innovation and the Science-Policy Interface



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Supervision / Group

Postgraduate researchers

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Office Hours:

My office hours in term 2 are Thursday 10.00–12.00 online. You can book a meeting by sending a Teams invite.

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