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.
- Co-Investigator for UKERC Flexible Fund project to develop a climate Co-benefits Tracker to support policy design and engagement (Win-Window: Tracking the co-benefits of a green recovery - https://ukerc.ac.uk/project/win-window/).
- Behaviour/engagement Expert or Project Advisor for several BEIS-funded projects related to consumers and Net Zero including:
- 'Energy and Climate Change Behavioural Science Framework' with BIT and Energy Systems Catapult (2021-ongoing)
- 'Net Zero Societal Change Evidence and Analysis' delivered by Energy Systems Catapult (2020-21)
- Greener and Cleaner Bromley & Beyond community sustainability hub (2020-ongoing)
- Expert Advisory Group member for Government Office for Science project, ‘A Net Zero Society: Scenarios and Pathways’ (ongoing).
- Clean Growth Leadership Network Fellow
- Member of the British Psychological Society’s Climate and Environmental Crisis Steering Group.
A Chartered Psychologist, Richard has a broad social science background with 14 years post-doctoral research experience in behaviour change, consumer engagement and policy, working within interdisciplinary multi-partner projects and as a researcher and consultant collaborating with academic and industry partners and government (including BEIS, Ofgem, Defra and the CCC). His research interests are in action-oriented and policy-relevant work for accelerating societal and system change for Net Zero. Particular interests include: energy (flexibility, heat, electric vehicles...), technology adoption, diet, data-led ICT/digital tools, real world data, peer-to-peer learning and positive feedback effects.
In 2018-19 he was seconded to the Climate Change Committee, providing social science analysis and authoring Behaviour change, public engagement and Net Zero (Oct 2019), an independent report for the CCC with 48 policy recommendations for 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 (May 2019) and demand-side recommendations in their Letter: International aviation and shipping and net zero (Sept 2019) and Land use: Policies for a Net Zero UK report (Jan 2020), as well as the Scottish Government's Net Zero Nation draft public engagement strategy for climate change. The following year he was invited and delivered one of the 2020 Beesley Lectures.
Recommendations in the report included an Air Miles Levy (since supported by 81% of members of the Climate Assembly UK) and developing several data-led digital tools for behaviour change and system change for Net Zero. He has since worked on projects to implement several of these recommendations including:
- BEIS-funded Smarter Tariffs - Smarter Comparisons project (2020-21) which developed an open-source smarter price comparison tool for smart electricity tariffs and end-user technologies;
- UKERC-funded Win-Window: Tracking the co-benefits of a green recovery project (2022-2023), which is developing a climate Co-benefits Tracker to support policy design and engagement; and
- BEIS Heat Pump Ready Programme-funded ‘Glow Heat Pump Community’ project (2022-24) led by Hildebrand Technology, which will improve the heat pump adoption customer journey, installer expertise, and outcomes by leveraging data from installations and enabling peer-to-peer learning and transparency.
He has produced several high-impact briefing papers for Energy Futures Lab and Grantham Institute, on energy and policy areas including:
- Accelerating the transition to heat pumps: measuring real world performance and enabling peer-to-peer learning
- Unlocking the potential of residential electricity consumer engagement with Demand Response
- Smart and Flexible Electric Heat
- Paying for UK Net Zero: principles for a cost-effective and fair transition
Richard has worked on several projects that explored residential consumer engagement with smart time-varying electricity tariffs and Demand Side Response technologies. These include: an Energy Futures Lab briefing paper (presented at House of Commons, BEIS, Ofgem, and Smart Energy GB); leading the research and analysis of consumer engagement on the UK's first trial of 'wind-following' dynamic pricing for residential electricity within the 'Low Carbon London' project; being part of a small team that successfully tendered for and 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, where he was responsible for user and industry research across three EC-funded (FP6) ICT/digital media technology research projects, including technology adoption, user experience, market segmentations and industry consultations.
He is a Chartered Psychologist (CPsychol) and holds an MA Hons (I) 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 self-narrative, drawing on discursive psychology and rhetorical social psychology.
Outside of academia, Richard has worked in publishing, TEFL (France) and chimpanzee and elephant conservation in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Specialities/expertise: Behaviour change, public engagement, policy and system change for Net Zero, especially energy, transport, aviation demand | Positive feedback loops for Net Zero | Peer-to-peer learning | Technology adoption (especially smart energy tariffs and end-user technologies for demand response, incl., heat pumps and EVs) | Data-led digital tools for behaviour and system change | Co-benefits of climate action | sustainable diets/vegetarian/veganism | social identity/self-narrative | advertising.
et al., 2021, The Demand Response Technology Cluster: accelerating UK residential consumer engagement with time-of-use tariffs, electric vehicles and smart meters via digital comparison tools, Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews, Vol:139, ISSN:1364-0321
Carmichael R, 2022, Accelerating the transition to heat pumps: measuring real-world performance and enabling peer-to-peer learning - An Energy Futures Lab Briefing Paper, Accelerating the transition to heat pumps: measuring real-world performance and enabling peer-to-peer learning
et al., 2021, Paying for UK Net Zero: principles for a cost-effective and fair transition
et al., 2020, Smart and flexible electric heat: an energy futures lab briefing paper, Smart and Flexible Electric Heat: An Energy Futures Lab Briefing Paper
Carmichael R, 2019, Behaviour change, public engagement and Net Zero, a report for the Committee on Climate Change, London, UK, Centre for Energy Policy and Technology (ICEPT) and Centre for Environmental Policy (CEP)
Carmichael R, 2002, Becoming vegetarian and vegan: rhetoric, ambivalence and repression in self-narrative