Sarah Becker

Research Associate

Research group:
Social and Environmental Psychology
029 208 74007
Tower Building, Park Place

Research summary

As part of the Understanding Risk Research Group I am currently involved in research exploring people's views on the financing of the energy transition in the UK. The Climate Change Act 2008 committed the UK to reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2050 relative to 1990 levels requiring a renovation of the energy system. Public acceptance and engagement will be crucial to support such a major shift. We are examining what people think about who should be responsible and how to pay for the energy transition.

For my PhD I investigated people's views on climate change mitigation and to what extent individual behaviour change approaches may attenuate support for structural level change. Further, I looked at perceptions of drought and how these relate to views on climate change in California.

Previously I have been involved in work studying the successful uptake of solar home systems in Kenya.

Selected publications (2014 onwards)


Full list of publications


Media activities


Research topics and related papers

Transforming the UK energy system: Public views on responsibility and how to pay for 2050

Building on previous survey research focus groups were conducted to examine people’s perceptions on energy transitions including questions about responsibility and how transitions should be paid for. Five focus groups (between 6-9 participants each) took place in Glasgow, Cardiff, Birmingham and London (2 groups in the latter). Participants were recruited to represent a diverse spread in terms of age, gender and socio-demographic background to capture diverse views. In the focus groups the energy system was defined broadly exploring perspectives on production, transmission and use. The analysis of the focus groups is looking at topics around affordability and profits, distrust in institutions and views on social justice.

Research group

I work as part of the Understanding Risk Research Group, which includes researchers from various disciplines and methodological backgrounds. The group has members from within Cardiff University and also works with institutions such as Nottingham University, Sheffield University and the University of East Anglia.

Undergraduate education

2009 - 2012: BSc Psychology (Class I), University of Sussex, UK

Postgraduate education

2012 - 2013: MRes in Psychological Methods (passed with distinction), University of Sussex,            UK (funded by the ESRC)

2013 - 2017: PhD in Environmental Psychology "Exploring views on climate change and how it should be addressed" supervised by Dr. Paul Sparks in Psychology and Dr. David Ockwell in Geography, University of Sussex, UK (funded by the ESRC)


April 2017 - present: Research Associate, Understanding Risk Research Group, Cardiff University, UK
Project: Transforming the UK energy system: Public views on responsibility and how to pay for 2050 (UKERC funded)