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Mr Joshua Lait

Mr Joshua Lait

PhD Researcher



Joshua is a final year PhD researcher funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. His research aims to examine the impacts of non-energy policies (such as education, catering and procurement polices) on the governance, generation, and use of energy in the education sector. The project is supervised by Associate Professor Catherine Butler, Professor Stewart Barr and Associate Professor Antonio Olmedo.

He has also worked as a UKERC funded energy research fellow for the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology. The research fellowship explored the emerging role of longer duration energy storage in the UK’s power and heat sectors.

Broad research specialisms: 

Energy governance, energy demand, transportation, policymaking, social practices, collaborative research methods and energy storage.


MSc Environment, Politics and Society – University College London
BA Geography – University College London

Research group links

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Research interests

Energy governance, energy demand, transportation, policymaking, social practices, collaborative research methods and energy storage.

Research Projects and Grants

The role of policy coordination in supporting sustainable transitions in local and regional transportation (SSH Centre funded 2023-2024 Role: PI).

Policies far beyond those directed specifically toward transport can shape needs for travel and produce unsustainable patterns of mobility, such as peaks or long commutes. The research aims to tackle this urgent policy challenge and recommend policy coordination as a transformative strategy for governing sustainable mobility, using the policy context of education and schooling. The interdisciplinary team will examine existing quantitative transport datasets and models to identify impacts for mobilities related to schooling and build understanding of gaps where the influence of policy intersection is not yet recognised. To locate opportunities for better policy coordination, we will undertake analysis of schooling, transport, and other intersecting sectors by conducting semi-structured interviews with local/regional policymakers in two UK case study locations (Devon/rural and Bristol/urban). Significantly, the planned chapter will recommend the creation of bodies that can orchestrate how different sectors influence the configuration of local/regional mobilities, helping reduce demand for travel and advance just transitions in EU transport systems.

Longer duration energy storage (UKERC funded 2022 Role: PI).

This UKER funded project was conducted for the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology. It aimed to explore the future applications of emerging longer duration energy storage technology options in the UK’s power and heat sectors. Specifically, it examined a range of key issues including, different technology types, their suitability to longer duration output, energy system needs (such as power system flexibility), commercialisation and investment, location, operational risks, and government strategy. The published report aimed to inform decision makers in both houses of UK parliament on new longer duration energy storage technologies.

Invisible Energy and the Academies Programme: challenges and opportunities for energy demand reduction (EPSRC funded 2020-2024 Role: Studentship)

This research entailed examination of the inadvertent impacts of non-energy policies on energy issues (such as demand, transportation and generation) in secondary education in England. Specifically, it aimed to explore how experiences of energy use in secondary education were affected by substantial national education reforms, termed the Academies Programme. The project is informed by insights from social practice theory, the political sciences, and temporal qualitative research. A mixed-method approach was adopted, involving the investigation of the uses and limits of energy-related datasets, a document analysis, and in-depth interviews with stakeholders on their experiences of changing policies and practices in the sector.


SSH Centre ‘Strengthening European mobility policy: Governance recommendations from innovative interdisciplinary collaborations book’ (Lait Principle Investigator with Nijsse, F., Barr, S., Butler, C., Hall, D., Lynch, C., Olmedo, A.) 2023 – 2024. €7,500.

UKERC/POST Energy Research Fellowship ‘Longer Duration Energy Storage,’ September 2022 – December 2022. £7,500.

EPSRC ‘Invisible Energy and the Academies Programme: Challenges and Opportunities for energy demand reduction’ Doctoral Studentship 2020 – 2024.


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Journal articles

Lait J, Hayes H, Hayes S, Auster R, Fox E, Timmins M, Bauchot A (2024). Negotiating structural barriers to environmental collaborations in doctoral programmes. Geo: Geography and Environment, 11(1). Abstract.
Lait J (2023). Invisible energy policy and schools: how energy issues feature in the policies and documents of a UK secondary school. Energy Efficiency, 16(6).


Lait J (2024). Education Policy, Digital Learning and (Invisible) Energy Use in UK Schools. Applying Education in a Complex World: Teaching and Learning. 26th - 28th Apr 2023.


Lait J, Walker A (2022). Longer duration energy storage. London, Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology.

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