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Dr Phil Northall BSc (Hons), MA, PhD

Research Associate


Phil’s research interests are in urban transitions to sustainability, with a particular focus on the governance of innovations for sustainability and the implications of a transition to low carbon economies. This requires investigation of place-based and multi-actor approaches to sustainability, helping to identify, and maximise the impact of, local levers of change. His previous research projects include a study of how local authorities in the UK developed sharing economy platforms to achieve social and environmental goals, and the creation of a resilience framework to understand how to deliver slavery-free communities.


Dr Phil Northall is a Research Associate in the Centre for Regional Economic & Social Research (CRESR) at Sheffield Hallam University, and in the Department of Architecture and Built Environment at the University of Nottingham.

At CRESR, Phil is a member of the Sustainable Futures cluster and is engaged on a range of projects investigating the transition to low carbon economies. This includes an assessment of employment and skills opportunities in low carbon energy supply chains, such as hydrogen, as well as research to understand how we deliver just transitions to more sustainable societies. At the University of Nottingham, Phil is involved in a feasibility study of a novel district heating technology, engaging with a variety of community, industry, and public sector stakeholders to understand how this can be implemented. Phil's background is in urban geography and he utilises qualitative research methods to engage with stakeholders, primarily interviews, workshops, case studies, and surveys, with particular expertise in working with local authorities and statutory stakeholders.

Prior to this, Phil was a Research Fellow at the Rights Lab, one of six interdisciplinary beacons of excellence at the University of Nottingham. Phil's interest in place-based approaches and the local governance of sustainability led him to investigate the role of multi-agency partnerships in responding to modern slavery, and to the production of a resilience framework for building slavery-free communities. This work involved engaging with all local stakeholders from the community, private and public sectors, and Phil also provided the secretariat for the Nottinghamshire Modern Slavery Partnership during this time. Phil recently completed his PhD research looking at how local authorities in the UK developed sharing economy platforms to deliver social and environmental goals, and the implications this had on nurturing innovation for sustainability.

Phil's earlier work was outside of academia and includes, delivering behaviour change programmes and regional development for the national active and sustainable travel charity, Sustrans; the creation of a creative industries networking and skills development organisation, CING; running a capacity building programme for community leaders in the Black & Minority Ethnic (BME) Network in Manchester; and local government policy research for the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES).

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