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Dr. John Whitton

Director, UCLan Energy & Co-Director, UCLan Institute for Citizenship, Society and Change

School of Engineering

Kirkham Building, KM003

+44 (0) 1772 89 4211

John is research active within the area of energy and power management and is a member of the Centre for Energy and Power Management.

Full Profile

John has a multi-disciplinary background in Earth Science, Engineering and Social Science and joined UCLan in 2014, following a career in the energy industry as a research scientist. He established UCLan Energy soon after, a research group that carries out social research to better understand what is understood by the term ‘community’. This particularly relates to how community is conceptualized by academics and understood by those who live and work in place based or imagined communities - based on social networks. This research is carried out with reference to some of the most important engineering and scientific challenges of our time; finite energy resources, industrialization and asset based community development in a time of economic austerity.

The group currently holds a Horizon 2020 research grant in the “History of Nuclear Energy and Society”, led by Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona with academic partners from across the EU. John leads the social science work packages with his Spanish counterpart. John is also a Director of Local Trust, overseer of the £220m, 15 year resident-led National Lottery community regeneration programme, Big Local.


Whitton, John , Brasier, Kathryn, Parry, Ioan Mihangel and Cotton, Matthew (2017). Shale Gas Governance in the United Kingdom and the United States: Opportunities for Public Participation and the Implications for Social Justice. Energy Research and Social Science, 26 (April). pp. 11-22. ISSN 2214-6296.

Whitton, J., Parry, I., Grundy, C., Lillycrop, A. and Ross, D., (2016). A Review of the Generic Design Assessment (GDA) Dialogue Pilot (2015) for New Nuclear Build in the UK: Lessons for Engagement Theory and Practice. Journal of Radiological Protection 36 (2): pp 23 - 44

Whitton, John, Parry, Ioan Mihangel, Akiyoshi, Mito and Lawless, William (2015) Conceptualizing a Social Sustainability Framework for Energy Infrastructure Decisions. Energy Research & Social Science, 8 . pp. 127-138

Whitton, John, Parry, Ioan Mihangel and Howe, Joseph Mark (2014) Social Sustainability: Participant-led Dialogue as a Basis for the Development of a Conceptual Framework for Energy Infrastructure Decisions. The International Journal of Sustainability Policy and Practice, 9 (3). pp. 1-13.

Lawless, William, Akiyoshi, Mito, Fjorentina, Angjellari-Dajci and Whitton, John (2014) Public Consent for the Geological Disposal of Highly Radioactive Waste and Spent Nuclear Fuel. International Journal of Environmental Studies, 1 (1). pp. 41-62.

More publications


PhD - Participant Perceptions on the Nature of Stakeholder Dialogue Carried Out by the UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), University of Manchester. 2010.

MSc Geotechnical Engineering, University Of Glasgow. 1997.

B.Sc(Hons), Earth Science (Environmental Science / Geology), Liverpool John Moores University. 1994.


Graduate Information Systems Programme (Business Management), University of Liverpool & Merseyside Innovation Centre. 1994.


Full Member of the Institution of Environmental Sciences

European Geologist, European Federation of Geologists Chartered Scientist, Science Council (C.Sci. A). 2004.

Chartered Fellow of the Geological Society of London (C.Geol. FGS). 2002

Full Profile


2015: Histories of Nuclear Energy and Society (HoNESt), Horizon 2020/Euratom Nuclear Fission Research Program, led by Dr Albert Presas i Puig, Universitat Pompeu Fabra – €3,052,269 (Co-Investigator, October 2015-September 2018)

2013: Manufacturing and Process Skills for the Future Group - Future Skills Requirements for the Advanced Manufacturing and Energy Sectors on the Fylde.

Other Roles

2015 – Present: Advisory Group member, School for Public Health Research (SPHR) Health Inequalities Programme, Communities in Control Project.
2014: Advisory Group member, NCVO Early Years Evaluation of Big Local Trust.
2012 – Present: Trustee/Director, Local Trust.

PhD Students

2015: Assessing homeowners' attitudes towards reducing energy consumptions.

2012: EPSRC CASE Award with BAE SYSTEMS: Private Carbon Governance Initiatives to Encourage Climate Change Mitigation via the Defence Sector . (Complete 2017)

2012: EPSRC CASE Award with National Nuclear Laboratory: Strategic Decision Making for a Sustainable Nuclear Fuel Cycle. (Complete 2015)

2012: EPSRC CASE Award with BAE SYSTEMS Human Science Aspects of Intelligent Energy Management Systems. (Complete 2015)