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Dr Nils Markusson


Nils Markusson

LEC Building

Lancaster University


Lancaster LA1 4YQ

United Kingdom

Tel: +441524 510017


Research overview


Nils wants to understand how technology is implicated in causing and solving environmental problems, and how we can use technology with as little environmental impact as possible. And, perhaps more profoundly, what we mean by ‘technology’ anyway, in relation to environmental issues.

He is a social scientist, with a background in engineering, innovation policy, innovation studies and science & technology studies (STS). Much of his work is done in multi- and interdisciplinary collaborations, spanning social science, natural science, engineering and the humanities.

He is a qualitative researcher, and favoured data sources include documents and interviews, analysed as case studies. He also has experience of statistical analysis, foresight methodologies and recently digital methods.


Published research

Nils has published on cleaner technology innovations in process industries and the organisational dynamics behind them, analysed through the theoretical lenses of the ‘company social constitution’, ‘environmental championing’ and ‘reification’/’black boxing’.

He has also built up a substantial body of work on carbon dioxide capture and storage technology (CCS), seeking to expand this strand of research beyond public perception related studies. Specific pieces of work has included analysing ‘lock-in ‘ dynamics in relation to capture ready designs as well as biomass CCS, relating demonstration of CCS technology to notions including ‘social learning’, and explorations of CCS technology development to different ways of conceptualising and representing ‘learning’. He used historical technological analogues to explore uncertainties relating to CCS in a project funded by UK Energy Research Centre. He led a book project, resulting in an edited volume published by Routledge.

He has recently started working on climate geoengineering, including a study of how geoengineering has been justified with reference to expected climate emergency.


Current research

Nils is currently working on a range of research strands having grown out of his work on CCS and geoengineering:

  • mechanisms of ‘scaling up’ of technology with relevance for CO2 capture.
  • the ‘linear model of innovation’ in geoengineering discourse
  • using data on geoengineering from Wikipedia to understand discursive definitions and classifications of science and technology
  • understanding the role of ambivalence in geoengineering discourse



Nils teaches on modules across first to third year of undergraduate geography studies:

  1. The history, philosophy and sociology of science for a first year module
  2. Environmental conflicts in the second year
  3. Sociotechnical urban change in a third year module

He also contributes to a range of postgrad geography modules, some in collaboration with sociology: Research Methods, Climate Change and Society, and Interdisciplinarities.

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