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Ms Caroline Bird

Ms Caroline Bird

Ms Caroline Bird
BSc, MSc, PGCert

Research Associate

Office Room 3.37 Merchant Venturers Building
Merchant Venturers Building,
Woodland Road, Bristol BS8 1UB
(See a map)


Broadly, my professional and research interests are in the interdisciplinary, cross-sectoral issues of environmental sustainability and, more specifically, community action, energy and climate change, and sustainable urban environments.

Over the past few years my research has focussed on grassroots and collaborative activity in response to issues of environmental sustainability, particularly at the city scale.  

Currently, I am working with colleagues in Computer Science to explore how household energy management can be supported through peer-to-peer trading platforms and automated demand shifting services to reduce peak loads.

Previously, I have been exploring the role of informal governance in the context of a wider approach to city leadership by non-state actors in Promoting ‘informal governance’ as a leadership asset: A case study of Bristol Pound

During Bristol’s year as European Green Capital in 2015, as ‘Future Cities and Communities Knowledge Exchange Manager' working with the Cabot Institute and the Bristol Green Capital Partnership, I set up a series of conversations bringing together academic and city expertise to address 'Delivering the Future City' through changing governance, austerity and new partnerships and engagement.

I carried out the UK comparative elements of 'Between Social Activism and Social Enterprise: Socio-legal support structures for grassroots responses to climate change' (2013-16) which explored the regulatory issues of a spectrum of grassroots organisations in different sectors (food, energy, resources, transport, work space) in the UK and Australia. The project was led by Professor Bronwen Morgan, Australian Research Council Future Fellow at the University of New South Wales. A Bristol workshop was held in March 2015 to discuss the UK findings.

In the 'Maintaining Momentum' project (2012-13), I explored how community groups can maintain the momentum generated by seed grants for local energy and the roles of intermediaries in brokering and translating between top-down policy and bottom-up action. The project culminated in the 'Energised Communities' seminar in Bristol's BIG Green Week which linked with the launch of the Bristol Community Strategy for Energy. I then worked with the Bristol Energy Network on a Connected Communities seed funded project (2014) to understand how the university and community energy groups can constructively work together.




Since 2012, Caroline has been working on a semi-freelance, part-time basis as a researcher in various schools and faculties across the University of Bristol, building a portfolio of experience and knowledge based on core social sciences expertise. Her work is interdisciplinary, collaborative and outward facing; working with social enterprises, community groups and local government within and beyond the city of Bristol to explore different facets of urban sustainability.

From 2009-2012, she worked as a Research Fellow in the WHO Collaborating Centre for Healthy Urban Environments at the University of the West of England, bringing together academics and practitioners in planning and public health to understand and develop healthy, sustainable cities in the UK and Europe through research, consultancy and training.

After completing an MSc in Integrated Environmental Studies at the University of Southampton in 1999, Caroline worked for Hampshire County Council managing multi-partner environmental research and action projects which helped to inform the strategic planning process and county council and regional policy. Issues explored through internal and external (local and EU) collaborations included climate change, renewable energy, carbon management, water resources and management of the natural environment.

Initially trained as a Civil Engineer, she worked on a range of major and local construction projects including port developments on the South coast, major road constructions and upgrades and town centre improvements - managing the construction process and carrying out temporary works design, project planning and risk assessments.

Recent publications

View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

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