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Research Associate, Sustainable Consumption Institute, University of Manchester

Dr. Cameron Roberts is Research Associate at the Sustainable Consumption Institute (SCI) at the University of Manchester. His background is in the history of technology, and he uses this to investigate historical case studies of accelerated diffusion in order to determine what factors are most likely to lead to the rapid diffusion of a new innovation. His PhD, completed in 2015, developed an analytical model accounting for the development of discursive storylines during socio-technical transitions. This was tested with two historical case studies tracking the development of storylines about road and rail transport as the latter replaced the former in the United States and the United Kingdom during the twentieth century. Prior to that, Cameron completed a master’s degree in Science, Technology and International Development at the University of Edinburgh, and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and the history of science at the University of King’s College in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Cameron Roberts


highway seen from car window at night
Evidence from history: Deliberate acceleration of socio-technical transitions

The diffusion of low-energy systems needs to be accelerated to address climate change. What lessons can be learned from historical case studies about the technological, political, cultural and economic actions and mechanisms that accelerate diffusion?