SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit

photo of Benjamin Sovacool

Prof Benjamin Sovacool

Post:Professor of Energy Policy (SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit)
Location:JUBILEE BUILDING JUB-367
Email:B.Sovacool@sussex.ac.uk

Telephone numbers
Internal:7128
UK:01273 877128
International:+44 1273 877128

Research expertise:
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Biography

Dr. Benjamin K. Sovacool is Professor of Energy Policy at the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) at the School of Business, Management, and Economics, part of the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom.  There he serves as Director of the Sussex Energy Group and Director of the Center on Innovation and Energy Demand which involves the University of Oxford and University of Manchester.  Professor Sovacool works as a researcher and consultant on issues pertaining to energy policy, energy security, climate change mitigation, and climate change adaptation. 

More specifically, his research focuses on renewable energy and energy efficiency, the politics of large-scale energy infrastructure, designing public policy to improve energy security and access to electricity, and building adaptive capacity to the consequences of climate change. He is a Lead Author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Sixth Assessment Report (AR6), due to be published in 2022, and an Advisor on Energy to the European Commission’s Directorate General for Research and Innovation in Brussels, Belgium.  With much coverage of his work in the international news media, he is one of the most highly-cited global researchers on issues bearing on controversies in energy and climate policy. 

Professor Sovacool is the author of numerous academic articles, book chapters, and reports, including solely authored pieces in Nature and Science, and the author, coauthor, editor, or coeditor of 20 books on energy and climate change topics.  His books have been endorsed by U.S. President Bill Clinton, the Prime Minister of Norway Gro Harlem Brundtland, and the late Nobel Laureate Elinor Ostrom.  He is also the recipient of 20 national and international awards and honors, including the 2015 “Dedication to Justice Award” given by the American Bar Association and a 2014 “Distinguished Visiting Energy Professorship” at the Environmental Law Center at Vermont Law School. 

He has played a leadership role in winning and managing collaborative research grants worth more than $19.6 million, including those from the U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. National Science Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, NordForsk, Energy Technology Development and Demonstration Program of Denmark, the Danish Council for Independent Research, the ESRC, NERC and EPSRC in the U.K., and the European Commission. 

Additionally, Professor Sovacool is the founding Editor-in-Chief for the international peer-reviewed journal Energy Research & Social Science, published by Elsevier, and he sits on the Editorial Advisory Panel of Nature Energy.  He also serves as a frequent peer reviewer for more than 40 journals including Science, Nature, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

He has presented research at more than 150 international conferences and symposia in 50 countries, including invited seminars at the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington DC, the United Nations headquarters in New York, and the Royal Society in London.  Professor Sovacool has submitted analysis and testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate, U.S. Supreme Court, the U.K House of Commons and U.K. House of Lords (among others).  He has served in research and advisory capacities for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in the United States, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, the Global Environment Facility, the World Bank Group’s International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the International Development Association, the International Institute for Applied Systems and Analysis, the International Energy Agency, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit.  Moreover, he has consulted for the Asian Development Bank, United Nations Capital Development Fund, United Nations Development Program, and United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific on energy poverty, governance, and security issues. 

At the National University of Singapore, he led a series of research projects investigating how to improve energy security for impoverished rural communities throughout Asia.  Before his time in Singapore, Professor Sovacool examined the barriers facing the commercialization and deployment of greenhouse gas reducing technologies in the United States in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Climate Change Technology Program.  Furthermore, while at Oak Ridge National Laboratory he was part of a U.S. National Academies of Science team looking at how to displace the use of nuclear power in New York through the use of energy efficiency practices and distributed solar energy. As a graduate student at Virginia Tech, he worked on a large grant from the NSF’s Electric Power Networks Efficiency and Security Program analyzing the barriers to small-scale renewable electricity sources and distributed generation in the United States. He received his PhD in science and technology studies from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University in Blacksburg, Virginia, where he also won the “Outstanding Dissertation of the Year” award from the College of Social Sciences and Humanities. 

Role

Professor of Energy Policy, Director of the Sussex Energy Group, and Director of the Center on Innovation and Energy Demand at the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU), part of the School of Business, Management, and Economics at the University of Sussex.