Imperial College London


Faculty of EngineeringDyson School of Design Engineering

Research Associate







The Alan Turing Institute, British Library, Kings' CrossDyson BuildingSouth Kensington Campus





Kate is a Research Associate focused on user-experiences of energy and digital technology adaptations in the home.


Kate has interests in co-design, data ethics, decision-making and transitions to a sustainable and healthy built environment. Her previous research includes the use of data in housing energy upgrades (retrofit) design; builder perspectives and training requirements for retrofit; social, environmental and technology innovation in offsite housing and fuel poverty.

Kate holds a PhD in housing retrofit, with a focus on householder experiences, comfort and carbon impacts from the LoLo CDT in Energy Demand, Architecture, Civil and Building Engineering and the Design School, Loughborough University. This followed an an MRes with a focus on indoor air quality in schools and a BSc in Building Surveying.

Experience and engagement

Kate has worked for the Centre for Sustainable Energy on projects relating to energy efficiency, comfort, equality and smart city development; as a trainee building surveyor at Gascoyne-Cecil Estates in Hatfield and as a CAD technician at Making Plans in Leeds. She continues to engage the construction sector, practitioners and policy teams through her research.

Kate has experimented (and won awards!) with creative public engagement through short film creation, science festivals, academic comedy and more. Most recently co-hosting an immersive future workshop at the Museum of the Home. For practical experience, Kate has volunteered on home energy retrofit projects, undertaken DIY retrofit training and provided tours of low energy homes.

Teaching and inclusion

Kate holds Associate Fellowship for the Higher Education Academy. She provides sessions on sustainable housing within the MEng Design Engineering, MSc Environmental Technology Urban Sustainable Environments option and the MSc Sustainable Cities courses. She previously taught on construction and engineering units at the University Centre, Scunthorpe.

Kate enjoys working with students on research projects and is always open to discussing ideas. She is the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion representative for post-graduate groups across the School of Design Engineering. Kate has been both mentee and mentor on the Open Life Science programme.



Murtagh N, Owen A, Simpson K, 2021, Engaging UK repair-maintain-improve practitioners in improved building performance, International Journal of Building Pathology and Adaptation, ISSN:2398-4708

Simpson K, Murtagh N, Owen A, 2021, Domestic retrofit: understanding capabilities of micro enterprise building practitioners, Buildings & Cities, Vol:2, ISSN:2632-6655, Pages:449-466

Murtagh N, Owen A, Simpson K, 2021, What motivates building repair-maintenance practitioners to include or avoid energy efficiency measures? Evidence from three studies in the United Kingdom, Energy Research and Social Science

Simpson K, Whyte J, Childs P, 2020, Data-centric innovation in retrofit: A bibliometric review of dwelling retrofit across North Western Europe, Energy and Buildings, Vol:229, ISSN:0378-7788, Pages:1-9

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