Ongoing Research


FutureDAMS is an interdisciplinary research consortium working to improve the planning and governance of integrated water-energy-food- environment systems. The project is developing the knowledge base, tools and approach to enable system interventions to better support resilient and sustainable development in a warming world. FutureDAMS is an £8 million project, funded by RCUK as part of the Global Challenges Research Fund. The programme is led by The University of Manchester (Global Development Institute) and the International Institute for Environment & Development (IIED) and is a consortium of over 30 researchers. The project runs until December 2021.

For a description of our work in the FutureDAMS project, see 


CECAN Limited offers access to innovative policy evaluation approaches and methods to support decision makers. Our team have tried and tested experience of complexity modelling, working mainly across Nexus domains such as food, energy, water and the environment. With the CECAN Limited team you can use our experience of delivering pioneering work on the testing of ‘real-life’ case study projects with UK Government Departments and leading organisations.


Local Institutions, Productivity, Sustainability and Inclusivity Trade-offs (LIPSIT) is an ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council) funded collaborative project. The aim of the project is to identify institutional and organisational arrangements at the regional level that tend to lead to the ‘good’ management of policy trade-offs associated with increasing productivity, and to make recommendations based on this.

Recommendations will cover:


Actively anticipating the unintended consequences on air quality of future public policies (ANTICIPATE) is a NERC (Natural Environment Research Council) funded project forming part of its Clean Air Programme. It will bring together policy analysts and policy makers from UK central government, devolved administrations and local and regional authorities, stakeholders from business and civil society organisations, and academics and researchers to explore forthcoming policy initiatives for their consequences (intended or unintended, positive or negative) on air quality.


Kristrún Gunnarsdóttir, Maria Xenitidou
CANDID explores how extended networks and peer communities are integrated (or not) in the development of 'smart' technology, and how various forms of knowledge may impact on framing and use scenarios. The project brings together researchers in the social sciences and humanities, practitioners from the ICT sector and a whole range of technology users, explorers and developers.
How can researchers in the social sciences and humanities contribute to the development of smart technologies? How are users configured and to what extent are they genuinely involved? Can rights such as privacy and data protection be built into digital systems and infrastructures? These are some of the questions CANDID researchers are focussing on while addressing the Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) agenda which is a key issue cutting across the Horizon 2020 Work Programmes. Surrey is responsible for extensive discourse-analytic work on 'smart', using purpose-built computational supports to present and organise the outcomes (David Rozas).

Centre for the Evaluation of Complexity Across the Nexus (CECAN)

The Centre for the Evaluation of Complexity Across the Nexus, a £3m research centre hosted by the University of Surrey, has brought together a unique coalition of experts to address some of the greatest issues in policy making and evaluation. Nexus issues are complex, with many diverse, interconnected factors involved. This presents a major challenge to policy making because changing one factor can often have unexpected knock-on effects in seemingly unrelated areas. We need new ways to evaluate policy in these situations.

CECAN will pioneer, test and promote innovative evaluation approaches and methods across nexus problem domains, such as biofuel production or climate change, where food, energy, water and environmental issues intersect. The Centre will promote ‘evidence based policymaking’ by finding ways for the results of evaluation to both inform policy, and reflect back onto future policy design. Embracing an 'open research' culture of knowledge exchange, CECAN benefits from a growing network of policymakers, practitioners and researchers and a core group of academic and non-academic experts, sharing years of experience in evaluation.


Nigel Gilbert, Klaus Moessner, Kristrún Gunnarsdóttir, Jie Jiang, Riccardo Pozza
HomeSense will develop and demonstrate how digital sensors can be used to advantage in social research. The project is a collaboration between the Centre for Research in Social Simulation (CRESS) and the 5G Innovation Centre. Drawing on recent developments in the use of fixed and mobile sensors to measure location, movement, noise levels, air quality, temperature, energy use and a range of physical states, the project team will trial the use of such sensors in a sample of UK households.
Households come in all sorts of configurations and they vary in their ways of organising the use of rooms, household devices and energy sources, as well as in the extent of communications amongst household members and the purposes for which members spend their time at home. Observations of households to-date have relied on self-reporting and on-site observations. With HomeSense we will demonstrate how to collect data from fixed and mobile sensors, and how to manage, technologically and responsibly, the intensive measuring of state, location, activity and interaction. We will show how this method affects respondent burden, consent, privacy and data security, and how the data can be converted into meaningful descriptions of socially relevant activities in conjunction with time-use diaries, questionnaires and walking interviews/observations.


Techno-social platform for sustainable models and value generation in commons-based peer production in the Future Internet (P2PValue):

Commons-based peer production (CBPP) is a new and increasingly significant model of social innovation based on collaborative production by citizens through the Internet. This project will foster the CBPP phenomenon by providing a techno-social software platform specifically designed to facilitate the creation of resilient and sustainable CBPP communities. The design of the P2Pvalue platform will be empirically and experimentally grounded. Through a triangulation of qualitative and quantitative methods, we will elaborate guidelines for the institutional and technical features that favour value creation in CBPP.


Whole Systems Energy Modelling Consortium (WholeSEM):

Energy models provide essential quantitative insights into the 21st Century challenges of decarbonisation, energy security and cost-effectiveness. Models provide the integrating language that assists energy policy makers to make improved decisions under conditions of pervasive uncertainty. Whole systems energy modelling also has a central role in helping industrial and wider stakeholders assess future energy technologies and infrastructures, and the potential role of societal and behavioural change.

The CRESS contribution is to the understanding and modelling of household energy demand.  There is an explanatory animation.