Social Influence and disruptive Low Carbon Innovations (SILCI)


Disruptive innovations offer something new and different to users, rather than incrementally improving upon what is already available. In so doing, disruptive innovations shake up incumbent firms, markets, and regulations. Disruptive low carbon innovations are an exciting new area of innovation activity, business strategy, and regulatory reform. The convergence of information and communication technologies with traditional energy infrastructure is particularly exciting. But other non-digital and even low-tech innovations are equally promising, across energy, buildings, transport and food sectors.

The SILCI project is interested in where low carbon innovations and disruptive innovations meet. SILCI researchers are asking: what are potentially disruptive low carbon innovations? what novel attributes do they offer users? what impact might their widespread adoption have on emissions?

SILCI is also interested in how and why disruptive low carbon innovations are adopted, and so how they spread. Information exchanged through social networks, through online activity, and through physical activity in neighbourhoods influences people’s behaviour. Social influence plays an important role in diffusing innovations. But does this also apply to disruptive innovations? SILCI researchers are asking: what role does social influence play in the diffusion of disruptive low carbon innovations? can these diffusion processes be accelerated to help reduce emissions?

Other Information


Charlie Wilson

Hazel Pettifor

September 2016 - September 2020

European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant

Related Energy & Emissions Sub-Theme
energy & emission scenarios and pathways
energy transitions
low carbon growth & technology transfer




Research areas