Imperial College London


Faculty of Natural SciencesCentre for Environmental Policy

Research Associate







Energy Futures LabElectrical EngineeringSouth Kensington Campus





Richard Carmichael is Research Associate within the Centre for Environmental Policy, Imperial College London and Co-Leader of the Behaviour change in Energy and Environment Policy (‘BEEP’) Research Network ( with responsibility for liaising with Government/industry with an interest in behaviour change and climate/energy/environmental policy.

Richard has a broad social science background with twelve years post-doctoral research experience in behaviour change, technology adoption and consumer engagement working in interdisciplinary collaborative projects and as a researcher and consultant collaborating with academic and industry partners and government. His research interests are in action-oriented and policy-relevant research on promoting sustainable behaviour, lifestyles and wellbeing, with particular interests in energy, technology, ICT and diet.

In 2018-19 he was seconded to the Committee on Climate Change working within the central analytical team in the CCC Secretariat providing social science analysis to support the Committee’s advice on the UK’s Net Zero emissions target. He authored the independent report, Behaviour change, public engagement and Net Zero (Oct 2019) with policy recommendations for engagement and high-impact shifts in household behaviour across transport, aviation, heating and diet. This high-impact report received considerable media attention and the work helped to inform the Committee’s report on Net Zero – The UK’s contribution to stopping global warming, published in May 2019 and their Land use: Policies for a Net Zero UK report (Jan 2020).

He is currently working on high-impact briefing papers on energy policy areas, including residential consumer engagement with demand response services and technologies and smart and flexible electric heat. He is also leading research and preparation of a policy briefing note with recommendations for HM Treasury’s review into the cost of Net Zero (working with the Grantham Institute). Also exploring the potential of various digital tools for behaviour change and engagement for Net Zero, including: personalised feedback for food shopping choices; overcoming barriers to low-carbon heat technology adoption; and part of a consortium that successfully bid to develop a smarter price comparison tool for smart electricity tariffs Smarter Tariffs - Smarter Comparisons project May 2020-March 2021).

Richard has worked on several projects exploring residential consumer engagement with smart time-varying electricity tariffs and Demand Side Response technologies, including a recent Energy Futures Lab briefing paper (presented at House of Commons, BEIS, Ofgem, and Smart Energy GB). He led research and analysis of consumer engagement on the UK's first trial of 'wind-following' dynamic pricing for residential electricity within the LCNF-supported 'Low Carbon London' project and was part of a small team which delivered a consultation for Ofgem on the distributional impacts of time-of-use tariffs

Prior to working at Imperial College, he was Research Fellow in Psychology at Goldsmiths, responsible for user and industry research across three EC-funded (FP6) ICT/media technology research projects including technology adoption, user experience and market segmentations.

He is a Chartered Psychologist (CPsychol) and holds an MA (Hons) in Psychology (Dundee), an MSc (Dist) in Critical Social Psychology (Lancaster) and a PG Cert (Dist) in coaching psychology and career coaching (UEL). His PhD (Loughborough, 2002) looked at becoming vegetarian/vegan from the perspective of social identity and discursive and rhetorical psychology.

Outside of academia, Richard has worked in publishing and wildlife conservation in Africa.

Specialities/expertise: behaviour change and public engagement for Net Zero | consumer behaviour, engagement and technology adoption (especially smart energy tariffs and demand response technologies) | ICT & Digital Behaviour Change Interventions social psychology of food and dietary change (vegetarian/vegan identity) | trial design | consumer identity and advertising | rhetorical social psychology and discursive psychology, especially with respect to identity/self-narrative | coaching psychology and evidence-based coaching practice | 

Selected Publications


Carmichael R, Schofield J, Bilton M, et al., Dynamic pricing of electricity for wind-following?: Understanding demand-response and consumer engagement on the UK’s first trial of a dynamic time-of-use tariff for residential electricity, BEHAVE 2014 Conference


Carmichael R, Schofield J, Woolf M, et al., 2014, Residential consumer attitudes to time-varying pricing, Report A2 for the 'Low Carbon London' LCNF project, A2, London, Imperial College

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