3S Research Topics


3S research is concerned with studying relations between science, innovation and society. This broad focus cuts across many different issues and contemporary challenges which we research at regional, national and international levels. Areas where we have a particular current focus include Energy, Climate Change, Innovation, and Hazards and Risk:


Our research on Energy predominately focuses on the multiple forms of societal and public engagement in energy systems and how this relates to the challenges of steering such systems towards more sustainable trajectories. Specific projects range include situated studies of different forms of social engagement with forms of energy innovation ranging from material technologies such as smart meters to social innovations such as the Transition Town movement. More broadly our work also seeks to deepen theoretical understandings of the role of civil society in energy system change. Much of our energy research is interdisciplinary and involves working in collaboration with engineers and natural scientists, in for example seeking to better represent the complexities of everyday life in energy modelling.

Climate Change 

Understandings of climate science, climate framings, and societal engagement with climate constitute the focus of 3S research in this area. We work constructively with stakeholders, policy makers, publics and other actors to open up areas for deeper understanding of environmental change. This includes how climate change relates to people’s daily lives, and how policy making may be better understood as exchanges and evolution of discourses over time. Through mixed methods and theoretical approaches, 3S explores the responses to extreme events, innovative policy developments, opened spaces for rethinking of mitigation options, and perceptions of climate in relation to the marine environment.


Our research on innovation understands innovation processes as socially embedded and subject to overall systemic societal relations and constraints. This area of work extends beyond primarily technological conceptions of the innovation process to encompass a diversity of forms of innovation including social, policy, democratic and grassroots innovation. In many cases this involves studying the way in which publics and civil society actors are actively involved in innovation processes. A particular strength of our research is that we adopt a range of different theoretical lenses to study innovations processes, and we are at the forefront of developing new approaches that are better suited to studying contemporary innovation processes in the context of societal challenges.

Hazards and Risk  

3S works collaboratively with a variety of stakeholders, affected communities, scientists and risk management authorities and across all levels of government, in a reflexive and interdisciplinary way that recognises multiple knowledges. We address challenges presented by human-made, technological and natural hazards and their associated risks across areas including climate change, radioactive waste and a range of environmental hazards such as flooding and volcanic. Our research draws on and contributes to different theoretical and methodological approaches including actor network theory, governance and behaviour change, multi-hazard perspectives, citizen science and participation.