Imperial College London

Dr Richard Carmichael (CPsychol)

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 on behaviour change and climate/energy/environmental policy. Member of the British Psychological Society’s Climate and Environmental Crisis Steering Group.

A Chartered Psychologist, Richard has a broad social science background with 13 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 including BEIS, Ofgem, Defra. 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 Climate Change Committee 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. Working with the Grantham Institute, he recently led preparation of a policy briefing note with recommendations for HM Treasury’s review into the cost of Net ZeroAlso 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 is part of a consortium that successfully bid and developed an open-source smarter price comparison tool for smart electricity tariffs and end-user technologies (Smarter Tariffs - Smarter Comparisons project, May 2020-March 2021). Richard is Project Advisor & Behaviour Expert for several BEIS-funded projects related to Net Zero (Net Zero Societal Change Evidence and Analysis delivered by Energy Systems Catapult (July 2020 to end March 2021); and Energy and Climate Change Behavioural Science Framework (with BIT and Energy Systems Catapult).

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 that 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 (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 and policy for Net Zero | consumer behaviour, engagement and technology adoption (especially smart energy tariffs and end-user technologies for demand response) | ICT & Digital Behaviour Change Interventions social psychology of shifting to sustainable diets/vegetarian/veganism/animal food avoidance | trial design | consumer identities in advertising | rhetorical social psychology and discursive psychology, especially with respect to identity/self-narrative | coaching psychology and evidence-based coaching practice | 

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

Carmichael R, Gross R, Hanna R, 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 RICHARD, Halttunen KRISTA, Palazzo Corner SOFIA, et al., 2021, Paying for UK Net Zero: principles for a cost-effective and fair transition

Carmichael R, Rhodes A, Hanna R, 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)

More Publications