My overall research interest lies in making our socio-technical energy system more sustainable, fair and clean. I am particularly interested in how people and communities fit in and function in innovation processes linked to energy, be it building sustainable homes, alleviating fuel poverty, developing electric vehicles or scaling up small-scale renewables. I have examined these through concepts such as grassroots innovation, community leadership, innovation intermediation, and energy justice. My different ongoing and past research projects are listed below.  


Smart, sustainable and energy efficient homes 

User perceptions of smart homes (2019-2021). As part of the Centre for Research into Energy Demand Solutions (CREDS), this project investigates the motivations behind people’s choices and their expectations around the benefits and drawbacks of smart homes technologies. 

Solar-Biomass Reversible energy system for covering a large share of energy needs in buildings (Sol-Bio Rev) (2019-2023). The SolBio-Rev project examines building-integrated renewable energy systems that can be used for heating, cooling and variable electricity demand. The core objective is to combine promising renewable energy technologies based on solar, ambient and bioenergy, as well as heat pumps. This project is funded from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 814945.

Low Energy Housing Innovations and the role of Intermediaries (LEHII) (2015-2018). This project was part of the Centre on Innovation and Energy Demand and focuses on housing sector innovation in the UK. It paid particular attention to intermediation, in other words those actors and processes that connect suppliers and end users in innovation processes. By focusing on the development of whole house retrofits and zero carbon new built houses, the research also highlighted the importance of systemic innovation in the transition to sustainable buildings. 

Policy synergies and trade offs for low energy innovation (2014-2015). This research was part of an ongoing project by the Centre on Innovation and Energy Demand on analysing energy policy mixes in transitions. This part of the project focused on analysing the development of policy mixes related to building energy efficiency policies in Finland and the UK during 2000-2014. 

Energy Research Demand Project (EDRP) (2008-2010). This research was part of the UK government's large scale trials of smart meters and in house display units. The aim of the research was to understand how consumers react to improved information about their energy consumption. The research was jointly funded by the UK Government and EdF Energy.

Affecting Consumer Behaviour on Energy Demand (2006-2007). This research provided a review of the literature on household energy consuming behaviours and how those behaviours could best be influenced with the goal of reducing energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions. The research also examined whether and how measures to encourage behavioural change can be included within future phases of the UK's energy efficiency policies. The project was funded by EdF Energy.


Energy justice 

Innovation Pathways, Strategies and Policies for the Low-Carbon Transition in Europe (INNOPATHS) (2018-2019). INNOPATHS is a four year EU funded research project that aims to work with key economic and societal actors to generate new, state-of-the-art low-carbon pathways for the European Union. This is a European Union Horizon 2020 funded project consisting of 15 partners in 8 countries. My research centres around energy justice implication on low-carbon pathways.


Fuel/energy poverty

Energy deprivation in everyday living: Estimating, profiling, and escaping energy poverty in Canada (2018-2020). This project is led by Dr Runa Das, of Royal Roads Univeristy, Canada. In the modern world, energy is all around us. We use it to cook our food, heat our homes, and engage in important social practices. However, energy is not equally available to everyone, even in Canada. The "energy poor" are people with low access to the necessities afforded by reliable energy services in their everyday lives. This project adapts scholarly definitions of energy poverty to a Canadian context to measure the lived reality of this emerging form of social inequality, which has received very little attention from Canadian social scientists. The research is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. You can also follow project updates on Researchgate.

The Fuel Bill Drop Shop: an investigation in community action on fuel poverty (2015-2016). This project was conducted together with South East London Community Energy. The aim of the project was to analyse Energy Cafes, i.e. community initiatives largely based on volunteer action, which provide drop-in advice for people in relation to energy bills. Whilst Energy Cafes are mainly aimed at those vulnerable to fuel poverty and they could be well placed to work with local and health authorities to address the many issues and challenges linked to fuel poverty. See also a short video about the research on energy cafes produced by the University of Sussex. The research was funded by the Chesshire Lehmann Fund.


Community energy action

Community Innovation for Sustainable Energy (CISE) (2010-2013). This project was jointly led by the Universities of Sussex and East Anglia, researching the diffusion of community-led innovative energy projects in the UK. Dr Martiskainen completed a linked PhD study as part of the project, concentrating on analysing the development of community energy projects in Finland and the UK. The project drew on the concept of grassroots innovations, i.e. civil-society led innovations that address the sustainability of socio-technical systems such as energy. Grassroots innovations such as community energy reflect on the changing role of consumers in the wider energy system, where consumers become prosumers, leading innovative projects. This project was jointly funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the European Center Laboratories for Energy Efficiency Research (ECLEER).  


Nuclear energy 

Governance of "Nuclear Revival" (2007-2009). This project analysed the evolution of the debates, institutions and decisions concerning new nuclear power and nuclear waste management in Finland, France and the UK. As part of this project, Dr Martiskainen visited the Helsinki Institute of Science and Technology Studies (HIST), the focal point of STS studies in Finland. The project was part of the ESRC funded Sussex Energy Group.