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Professor Simon Guy

Professor, Pro-Vice-Chancellor Global (Digital, International, Sustainability)

Simon Guy

The LICA Building



Tel: +44 1524 592760

PhD supervision

I have successfully supervised a variety of inter-disciplinary PhD projects in the field of urbanism and socio-technical-ecological change and am happy to discuss proposals that connect to my field.


Simon began his career as an engineer before beginning his academic life pursuing studies in the humanities and cultural sociology. Situated within schools of architecture and planning, Simon has focussed upon sustainable urbanism where his interdisciplinary and international research connects architecture with urban planning, the property sector with utilities, academia with industry. He has established links with academics in North America, Asia and Europe and has held research fellowships in Tokyo, Paris, Berlin, Graz, Leuven, California and Singapore.

Simon has published around sixty refereed article, over thirty book chapters and six books. He has been responsible as a principal or co-investigator for around £4.5 million of research income (£2.5 million as PI) derived from a variety of sources including RCUK, European and industry funds. These funds have been spread across the social sciences, the arts and humanities and engineering, as well as across both environmental (Global Environmental Change) and economic themes (Cities and Economic Competitiveness).

His collaborations, particularly with industry, have helped to secure:

£25 million from Tesco to establish the Sustainable Consumption Institute (SCI) at The University of Manchester.

£750, 000 from the Oglesby Charitable Trust to establish the EcoCities programme to deliver a blueprint for action on climate adaptation in Greater Manchester

Career Details

Professor Simon Guy’s remit is to develop, connect and lead Lancaster University’s digital, global and development strategy. He is leading on the establishment of the University’s new campus in Leipzig and continuing to develop our China campus, while also strengthening connections between all our international partnerships including Ghana and Malaysia. He also leads on our digital agenda, ensuring our infrastructure and operational processes are digitally enabled to promote agility and efficiency and that digital innovation underpins our academic practices. Simon also oversees the library and is the University lead on sustainability.

Simon’s previous role was the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) at Lancaster University (2014-19) and in 2017-18 he was seconded as Interim Principal/CEO for University Academy 92 to lead the establishment of the new campus and curriculum.

His management experience began at Newcastle University where, in 1998, he co-founded the Centre for Urban Technology (CUT) to develop interdisciplinary analysis on urban infrastructures. During his time there, he was a Research Director, Deputy Head of School and for three years was Dean of Research in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. 

Simon moved to The University of Manchester in 2005 to be the founding director of the Manchester Architecture Research Centre (MARC), a centre which connects design studies, engineering, planning and social sciences. He went on to become Head of the School of Environment, Education & Development (SEED) in 2009 and for five years managed the successful integration of a range of disciplines, united in their focus on cities, societies and spaces

Research Interests

Simon’s research agenda is underpinned by the development and application of theoretical and methodological insights (science and technology studies, cultural studies, urban and environmental sociology) to studies of architecture, urban planning, design and urban technical infrastructures in order to yield new perspectives, particularly around the issue of sustainable urbanism.

Simon was a pioneer in the application of a socio-technical methodological approach which treats the social and the technical, and nature and culture as inextricably linked in processes of co-evolution. As a result, his work has identified new forms of hybrid urbanism located in shifting design priorities and changing development and network management practices. His work has also increased the understanding of the path-dependency of low-carbon environmental innovation and identified the ways in which alternative logics of ecological design have their roots in competing interpretations of the environmental problem, imagined futures and suggested pathways to sustainable cities.

His work has enhanced the understanding of the contextual framing and contested nature of low-carbon, sustainable design and development. By examining the relationships between diverse technical design strategies and competing conceptions of ecological place-making, he has explored the conceptual and policy challenges involved in seeking to make buildings, networks and cities ‘greener’. 

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