UKERC Public Engagement Observatory Webinar: An Observatory for public engagement with energy and climate change

16 Jun 2022

The UKERC Public Engagement Observatory Webinar will take place on Tuesday the 5th of July from 2 pm to 3 pm.

Meaningful public engagement is now seen as crucial to addressing the challenges of energy transitions and climate change. While these are profoundly systemic problems, most approaches to public engagement are not, focusing on discrete and often one-off forms of participation in specific parts of wider systems. UKERC has been at the forefront of moves to develop more systemic approaches to public participation and engagement, including through its Public Engagement Observatory.

The Public Engagement Observatory maps the many different ways that people are engaging with energy, climate change and net zero on an ongoing basis. It openly shares and undertakes these mappings with others to help make energy and climate-related decisions, innovations and participation more just, responsible and responsive to society. Through its network, the Observatory makes connections and encourages learning across wider systems of public engagement in the UK and internationally.

This webinar marks the launch of the Public Engagement Observatory’s new dedicated website and open access database, which allows everyone to openly access, explore and contribute to its mappings of diverse public engagement with energy and climate change.

An introduction to the Public Engagement Observatory and its website will be followed by responses from specialists in public engagement, energy and climate change, before opening up to wider questions and answers.


• Prof Jason Chilvers – Professor of Environment and Society at UEA, UKERC Co-Director and Public Engagement Observatory lead

• Prof Becky Willis – Professor in Energy and Climate Governance, University of Lancaster

• Prof Jim Watson – Professor of Energy Policy, Director of the UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources

• Simon Burall – Senior Associate of Involve and Programme Director of Sciencewise

• Dr Helen Pallett – Lecturer in Human Geography of the Environment at UEA and UKERC Public Engagement Observatory deputy-lead

Register for this event here.

Speaker profiles:

Prof Jason Chilvers (Email:; Twitter: @jasondchilvers)

Jason is Professor of Environment and Society and Chair of the Science, Society and Sustainability (3S) Research Group at the University of East Anglia. He is a Co-Director of UKERC and leads the Public Engagement Observatory. As a science and technology studies (STS) scholar and geographer, he is concerned with the changing relations between science, democracy and society, particularly in relation to energy, climate change, sustainability and emerging technologies. A key focus of his work is on remaking participation, including new approaches to mapping diverse forms of participation in these contexts.

Prof Becky Willis (Email:; Twitter: @bankfieldbecky)

Rebecca is Professor in Energy and Climate Governance at the University of Lancaster. She works on environment, climate and energy policy, looking at the relationship between the citizen and state in climate governance. She currently runs the Climate Citizens project, which examines the role of public engagement in energy and climate governance. In 2019-2020, Rebecca was an Expert Lead to Climate Assembly UK, the first national Citizens’ Assembly on Climate Change. She has previously been involved in the Scientific Advisory Committee of UKRI’s Energy Programme, and has served as a Vice-Chair of the UK Sustainable Development Commission, advising the Prime Minister and First Ministers of the devolved administrations.

Prof Jim Watson (Email:; Twitter: @watsonjim2)

Jim is Professor of Energy Policy and Director of the UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources, and Research Director of the FCDO Climate Compatible Growth programme. He has over twenty years of research experience on climate change, energy and innovation policy and, amongst others, he has been a specialist adviser to three Parliamentary committees: the House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee on energy security; the House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee on climate change; and the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee on the resilience of electricity infrastructure.

Simon Burall (Email:; Twitter: @sburall)

Simon is a Senior Associate of Involve and Programme Director of Sciencewise. He has extensive experience in the fields of democratic reform, open government, public participation, stakeholder engagement, accountability and transparency, scientific and technology innovation, and organisational change. His current role sees him leading an expansion of Involve’s work on science and technology, focusing on developing more effective ways for citizens to be involved in the development and application of new technological innovations.

Dr Helen Pallett (Email:; Twitter: @HelenPallett)

Helen is a Lecturer in Human Geography of the Environment, and deputy lead of the Public Engagement Observatory. As a human geographer and STS scholar, her work focuses interactions between democracy and developments in science and technology. She is particularly interested in mapping diverse forms of participation in relation to technical systems and policy issues, including low carbon transitions, and the innovation of algorithms and related technologies.