Adjunct Professor Jane Dennett-Thorpe

1 Jan 2018

Jane was appointed as an Adjunct Professor at the UQ Energy Initiative in January 2018, bringing to our institution a deep understanding of energy efficiency, renewables and climate change, public policy making (regional and international), as well as excellent strategic and analytical capabilities. These skills bring yet further depth to the Adjunct Professorial team at the UQ Energy Initiative.

After some years undertaking postdoctoral astrophysics research, Jane dedicated herself to focussing on what she believed to be amongst the world's most pressing problems - addressing societies and the planet in the area of climate change. After a short stint in the non-profit sector, she spent thirteen years working in the UK government, predominantly on energy and climate change matters. She led high profile policy teams, notably on energy efficiency, and then led cross-cutting core evidence and science functions within the Department of Energy and Climate Change in the UK.

Jane's key achievements include:

  • Generating a step-change in energy efficiency behaviour in many large companies and public sector organisations, through successful introduction of a new and innovative energy efficiency policy. This contentious and high profile new regulatory measure affected all large businesses and the entire public sector; covered 10% of UK carbon emissions, and raised over £600m per annum for the Government. As a result of this scheme over 3Mt CO2 were saved in its first 2 years of operation (or around 0.5% of UK’s emissions p.a.).
  • Safeguarding carbon savings and ensuring continuity for business, despite substantial changes in political direction after a general election. She demonstrated personal leadership through developing a policy approach for UK’s commercial and industrial energy efficiency policies, and securing political and business agreement to this in an ambiguous political climate.
  • Promoted greater action on energy efficiency in the industrial sector through a developing an innovative transparent evidence-based approach to energy efficiency target setting for industrial users, which reduced the information asymmetry between Government and industry.
  • Significantly improved the use of evidence in decision making in energy policies through identifying existing shortcomings, and then working with different groups and leading a process of cultural change within the Department of Energy and Climate Change. A key outcome was the greater use of science and engineering input in key policy decisions.
  • Her work directly informed strategic high-level debates on Government energy funding priorities though developing a suite of internal ‘technology notes’ which provided a common and tested view on key features and expectations of all major energy technologies. This also ensured that both soft and hard assumptions were consistent in modelling and analysis across the Department.

Jane holds a first class degree in Natural Science, as well as a PhD in astrophysics (Cambridge UK), and has published in this field (H-index =11). She also hold a Masters degree in History and Philosophy of Science (Harvard), as well as an engineering Masters on Renewable Energy Systems Technologies (Loughborough).

Jane can be contacted via