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Kathryn Colley

Staff picture: Kathryn Colley
Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences
Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences
Social Scientist - Person-Environment Interactions
+44 (0)344 928 5428 (*)

The James Hutton Institute
Aberdeen AB15 8QH
Scotland UK


Kathryn is an environmental psychologist in the Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences department.  Her work focuses on person-environment interactions and their role in shaping individual behaviour and wellbeing. 

Kathryn joined The James Hutton Institute in 2013.  Prior to this she worked as a Research Officer in the Scottish Government’s Rural & Environment Science and Analytical Services (RESAS) Division focusing on social research in a range of environmental policy areas including low carbon behaviours, greenspace and health, waste, biodiversity and natural resources.  Kathryn holds a PhD in Urban Studies and an MSc in Urban and Regional Planning (both from Heriot-Watt University) and a BSc in Ecological Sciences (from Edinburgh University).

Current research interests

Kathryn’s current research interests focus around:

  • People’s interactions with their everyday home, work and leisure environments, particularly in relation to contact with nature and low carbon lifestyles.
  • Life course perspectives on individual behaviour, including the impact of life course transitions on outdoor activity and pro-environmental behaviour.
  • Environmental justice in relation to outdoor access inequality and just transitions, with a particular interest in gender and intersectional analyses.  
  • Attitudes and behaviours around the adoption of low carbon social and technical innovations

Current and recent projects include: SMARTEES (Social Innovation Modelling Approaches to Realizing Transition to Energy Efficiency and Sustainability) EU Horizon 2020; RD 3.4.3 (Landscapes and Wellbeing) and RD 1.3.2 (Cultural Ecosystem Services) in the Scottish Government’s Rural, Agriculture, Food & Environment Strategic Research Programme 2016-22; ‘Creating Natural Connections in Cumbernauld’ (National Lottery Heritage Fund); ‘Pathways to Nature in Childhood’ (Macaulay Development Trust); NERC Valuing Nature Programme review on Environmental Science and Mental Health; Waste Recycling Behaviour evidence review (Scottish Government).

Past research

Previous projects have included EU projects LOCAW (Low Carbon at Work) and GLAMURS (Green Lifestyles, Alternative Models and Upscaling Regional Sustainability); WP 4.2 (Low Carbon Rural Economy) and Theme 8 (Vibrant Rural Communities) of the Scottish Government 2011-16 Strategic Research Programme; various calldown projects under the ClimateXChange Centre of Expertise on Climate Change.  


  • Colley, K.; Brown, C.; Nicholson, H.; Conniff, A.; Hinder, B. (2022) Encouraging sustainable travel behaviour in children, young people and their families, ClimateXChange.
  • Dumitru, A.; Lema Blanco, I.; Albulescu, P.; Antosz, P.; Bouman, L.; Colley, K.; Craig, T.; Jager, W.; Macsinga, I.; Meskovic, E.; Mischkowski, N.; Pellegrini Masini, G.; Polhill, G.; Quinti, G.; Salt, D.; Somervail, P.; Wilson, R. (2021) Policy recommendations for each cluster of casestudies Insights from policy scenario workshops, SMARTEES Deliverable 5.2.
  • Wilson R.; Colley, K.; Somervail, P.; Polhill, J.G.; Craig, T.; Salt, D.; Scalco, A.; Tiru, L-G.; Albulescu, P.; Macsinga, I.; Pellegrini-Masini, G.; Löfström, E.; Jager, W.; Antosz, P.; Bouman, L.; Dumitru, A. (2021) Integrated overview of choice behaviour and energy transitions in SMARTEES case studies, Report for SMARTEES Deliverable 4.2
  • Arthur, J.; Ferguson, J.; Murray, K.; Rae, G.; Hague, A.; Colley, K. (2021) Community-based social research - Year 2 evaluation of Cumbernauld Living Landscape project., Internal Report to Cumbernauld Living Landscape and National Lottery Heritage Fund.
  • Pinker, A.; Colley, K (2019) Co-ordinated, tailored and inclusive energy efficiency schemes for fighting fuel poverty: Aberdeen., SMARTEES Report.
  • Polhill, J.G.; Craig, T.; Colley, K.; Ge, J.; Sat, D. (2018) The SMARTEES Project and The James Hutton Institute’s potential contribution to the Torry Heat Network project., Appendix 10.4 in support of Torry Heat Network, Report to be presented to Aberdeen City Council.
  • Irvine, K.N.; Colley, K.; Currie, M. (2018) Capabilities for engagement with landscapes for wellbeing., RESAS RD 3.4.3 Working Paper, 31 March 2018.
  • Colley, K.; Currie, M.; Hopkins, J.; Melo, P. (2016) Access to outdoor recreation by older people in Scotland, Report for Rural Communities Research, Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services (RESAS) Division, The Scottish Government. Social Research Series, 85pp
  • Holstead, K.L.; Colley, K.; Waylen, K.A. (2016) Tackling the barriers to implementing natural flood management: summary report., Summary Report presented at Workshop Meeting, Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation, 11 February 2016.
  • Gilchrist, K.; Irvine, K.N. (2014) Scotland 2030: Picturing life in a low carbon Scotland., ClimateXChange Calldown from Low Carbon Behaviours Policy Team - Narrative for 2030.
  • Gilchrist, K.; Craig, T. (2014) Home energy efficiency - a review of evidence of attitudes and behaviours., ClimateXChange website.

  • Hague, A.; Stevenson, T.; Craig, T.; Colley, K.; Somervail, P. (2022) Acting locally intermediary actors and the transition to a low carbon economy, IAPS 2022 Conference, 4 - 8 July 2022, Lisbon, Portugal and Online
  • Salt, D.; Polhill, G.; Craig, T.; Wilson, R.; Colley, K.; Pinker, A.; Scalco, A.; Muhammad, M. (2021) Modelling coconstructed scnearios of district heat network adoption in Aberdeen, Social Simulation Conference 2021, Online, 20-24 September 2021.
  • Polhill, J.G.; Salt, D.; Craig. T.; Wilson, R.; Colley, K. (2021) Sensitivity analysis of an empirical agent-based model of district heating network adoption., International Work Conference on Artificial Neural Networks, Online, 16-18 June 2021.
  • Waylen, K.A.; Holstead, K.L.; Colley, K. (2016) Conceptualising human-nature relationships: Learning from experiences of 'Natural Flood Management' in Scotland., Presentation within the session 'Hydrosocial or socio-hydro' at the RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2016, London, 30 August -2 September 2016.
  • Holstead, K.L.; Waylen, K.A.; Colley, K.; Hopkins, J. (2015) Challenges of doing something new: barriers to natural flood management., Presentation at the World Water Conference, Edinburgh, 25-29 May 2015.
  • Gilchrist, K.; Brown, C.; Montarzino, A. (2014) Employee wellbeing and green workplace settings., IAPS Conference, Timisoara, Romania, 23-27 June 2014.

  • Colley, K.; Wilson, R.; Craig, T.; Polhill, G.; Salt, D.; Pinker, A.; Somervail, P. (2021) SMARTEES: Modelling household uptake of a city-wide district heat network in Aberdeen, Scotland. Virtual poster for Behavior, Environment and Climate Change Conference 2021, Virtual poster for Behavior, Environment and Climate Change Conference 2021, 8-10 November 2021, Online
  • Polhill, J.G.; Ge, J.; Craig, T.; Salt, D.; Colley, K. (2018) Modelling fuel poverty and market failures., WICI Conference on Modelling Complex Urban Environments, St. Jerome's College, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, 21-22 June 2018. Abstract

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The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.