Dr Neil Simcock

School of Biological and Environmental Sciences

I am a social geographer, interested in how the social and physical environment has often unequal impacts on people's health and well-being, the underpinning causes of such inequalities, and their implications for questions of social and environmental justice. Within this broad area, I particularly specialize in the issue of 'energy poverty' (often termed fuel poverty in the UK). Specific strands of research interests include:

• The physical, mental and emotional impacts of various forms of poverty and material deprivation, with a particular emphasis on issues relating to poor housing quality and lack of sufficient domestic energy services (e.g. heating, cooling, lighting etc.) – the latter issue is commonly termed ‘energy poverty’ or ‘fuel poverty’. For example, see my paper co-authored with Dr Saska Petrova on the gendered experiences of energy poverty, and the H2020-funded ‘STEP-IN’ project that investigates the role of home energy advice in alleviating the negative impacts of energy poverty.
• The driving forces of material inequality and deprivation, in particular through the development of the concept of ‘energy vulnerability’ via in-depth investigations of the lived-experiences of vulnerable households. This formed the major part of my work on ‘Energy Vulnerability and Urban Transitions’ project from 2015-2018, working alongside Prof Stefan Bouzarovski, Dr Saska Petrova and Dr Harriet Thomson at the University of Manchester. It also resulted in an edited book, as well as papers on ‘Spatializing Energy Justice’ and applying energy vulnerability theory to the issue of heatwaves and inadequate indoor cooling.
• Energy justice and the moral and ethical implications of energy transitions, with a particular focus on unpacking what ‘justice’ means in these scenarios and how it becomes entwined with conflicts and contestations. My PhD focused on local interpretations of justice in relation to ‘community-led’ wind energy developments (see publications in Land Use Policy, Local Environment, and a book chapter). I also worked at the DEMAND Centre alongside Prof Gordon Walker and Dr Rosie Day, conducting research on how energy-use should be positioned within normative theory, and how notions of ‘essential’ energy use shift over time (see publications in the journals Energy Policy, Energy Research & Social Science, and People, Place & Policy).


2012, Lancaster University, United Kingdom, PhD
2008, Lancaster University, United Kingdom, MSc Environmental Informatics
2007, Lancaster University, United Kingdom, BA Hons Human Geography

Academic appointments

Lecturer in Geography, Liverpool John Moores University, 2018 - present
Lecturer, Geography, University of Manchester, 2018 - 2018
Senior Research Associate, Geography, University of Manchester, 2015 - 2018
Researcher, British Academy, 2015 - 2015
Research Associate, DEMAND Centre, Lancaster University, 2013 - 2015
Research Assistant, Keele University, 2012 - 2013

Journal article

Pellicer-Sifres V, Simcock N, Boni A. 2021. Understanding the multiple harms of energy poverty through Nussbaum’s theory of central capabilities Local Environment, 26 :1026-1042 DOI Publisher Url Public Url

Simcock N, Frankowski J, Bouzarovski S. 2021. Rendered invisible: Institutional misrecognition and the reproduction of energy poverty Geoforum, 124 :1-9 DOI Public Url

Calver P, Simcock N. 2021. Demand response and energy justice: A critical overview of ethical risks and opportunities within digital, decentralised, and decarbonised futures Energy Policy, 151 :112198-112198 DOI Publisher Url Public Url

Martiskainen M, Sovacool BK, Lacey-Barnacle M, Hopkins D, Jenkins KEH, Simcock N, Mattioli G, Bouzarovski S. 2020. New Dimensions of Vulnerability to Energy and Transport Poverty Joule, DOI Publisher Url Public Url

Petrova S, Simcock N. 2019. Gender and energy: domestic inequities reconsidered Social and Cultural Geography, :1-19 DOI Author Url Publisher Url Public Url

Thomson H, Simcock N, Bouzarovski S, Petrova S. 2019. Energy poverty and indoor cooling: an overlooked issue in Europe Energy and Buildings, 196 :21-29 DOI Author Url Publisher Url Public Url

Bouzarovski S, Simcock N. 2017. Spatializing energy justice Energy Policy, 107 :640-648 DOI Publisher Url Public Url

Simcock N. 2016. Procedural justice and the implementation of community wind energy projects: A case study from South Yorkshire, UK Land Use Policy, 59 :467-477 DOI

Simcock N, Mullen C. 2016. Energy demand for everyday mobility and domestic life: Exploring the justice implications ENERGY RESEARCH & SOCIAL SCIENCE, 18 :1-6 DOI Author Url Public Url

Walker G, Simcock N, Day R. 2016. Necessary energy uses and a minimum standard of living in the United Kingdom: Energy justice or escalating expectations? Energy Research & Social Science, 18 :129-138 DOI

Day R, Walker G, Simcock N. 2016. Conceptualising energy use and energy poverty using a capabilities framework Energy Policy, 93 :255-264 DOI

Simcock N, Walker G, Day R. 2016. Fuel poverty in the UK: beyond heating? People Place and Policy Online, 10 :25-41 DOI

Simcock N. 2014. Exploring how stakeholders in two community wind projects use a “those affected” principle to evaluate the fairness of each project's spatial boundary Local Environment, 19 :241-258 DOI

Simcock N, MacGregor S, Catney P, Dobson A, Ormerod M, Robinson Z, Ross S, Royston S, Marie Hall S. 2014. Factors influencing perceptions of domestic energy information: Content, source and process Energy Policy, 65 :455-464 DOI


Simcock N. 2020. Energy Kobayashi A. International Encyclopedia of Human Geography (Second Edition) :123-135 Elsevier 978-0-08-102296-2 DOI

Willis R, Simcock N. 2019. Consumer (Co-)Ownership of Renewables in England and Wales (UK) Lowitzsch J. Energy Transition: Financing Consumer Co-Ownership in Renewables Palgrave MacMillan. Switzerland DOI

Simcock ND, Petrova S. 2017. Energy poverty and vulnerability: a geographical perspective Solomon , B.D. CKE. Handbook on the Geographies of Energy Edward Elgar Publishing 9781785365621

Walker G, Simcock ND. 2012. Community Energy Systems Smith SJ, Elsinga M, O'Mahony LF, Eng OS, Wachter S, Lovell H. International Encyclopedia of Housing and Home :194-198 Elsevier Science. Oxford 9780080471631 DOI

Jeong Y, Simcock ND, Walker GP. 2012. Making power differently: Exploring in motives and meanings of community renewable energy developments in cases from the UK and South Korea Davies A. Enterprising Communities Grassroots Sustainability Innovations :105-121 Emerald Group Publishing. Bingley 9781780524849 DOI

Membership of professional bodies:

Member, Energy Action Scotland. 2021

Fellow, Royal Geographical Society (with IBG).

Media Coverage:

https://theconversation.com/heatwaves-can-kill-research-uncovers-the-homes-most-vulnerable-to-overheating-138665, Article in The Conversation: "Heatwaves can kill – research uncovers the homes most vulnerable to overheating". Relates paper Thomson H, Simcock N, Bouzarovski S, Petrova S. 2019. Energy poverty and indoor cooling: an overlooked issue in Europe. Energy and Buildings, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enbuild.2019.05.014. 2020

https://www.whatstheproblem.org.uk/blog/energy-poverty-or-just-poverty-a-response-to-whats-the-problem, Blog post for the website "What's the problem": Middlemiss L and Simcock N (2019) Energy poverty or just poverty? A response to ‘what’s the problem?’.. 2019

https://soundcloud.com/user-443004419/energy-access-and-the-right-to-a-dignified-life, Podcast: "Energy Access and the Right to a Dignified Life". In this podcast, organised by the Energy Action Project, I contribute to a discussion around energy access and human dignity by explaining how the Capabilities Approach can further understandings of how energy poverty impacts people's wellbeing in multiple and complex ways..

Research Grants Awarded:

Centre for Research in Energy Demand Solutions, Fuel and transport poverty in the UK’s energy transition (FAIR), Grant value (£): 1,249,000, Duration of research project: 3 years. 2020

Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), Energy poverty in the private-rented sector: exploring the drivers of vulnerability via the lived-experiences of tenants, Grant value (£): 3000, Duration of research project: 18 months. 2019

European Commission (Horizon2020), Sustainable Strategies for Energy Poor Individuals (STEP-IN), Grant value (£): 310,363.10, Duration of research project: 30 months. 2018

British Academy, Community Energy Ownership and Generation, Grant value (£): 21,785, Duration of research project: 6 months. 2015

Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Evidence Review: Locality and community resilience to climate change, Grant value (£): 40,000, Duration of research project: 12 months. 2014

External committees:

Energy Geographies Research Group, Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), Chair, https://www.energygeographies.org/. 2017

Editorial boards:

Frontiers in Sustainable Cities, Reviews Editor.