Curtis ROLLINS (Canada)

Curtis is studying the drivers of environmentally friendly behaviour to better understand what governments can do to encourage positive behavioural change. To this end, he is integrating theories and methods from economics, psychology, and sociology to investigate the adoption of environmentally beneficial technology by households.

PhD Student in Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Western Australia, Australia

Research focus: adoption of environmentally beneficial technology and behaviour

Governments can take a wide range of approaches to achieve environmental goals, including economic instruments, regulations, and education or marketing programmes. Ongoing attempts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and biodiversity loss have highlighted that, for political, economic, and social reasons, a combination of policy initiatives is often required in order to meet these goals.

Curtis’ PhD research focuses on why households adopt new technology or behaviour that benefit the environment, and in turn, how governments can most efficiently encourage adoption. In urban settings, he is examining the adoption of renewable energy and energy-efficient technologies by Canadian and Australian households. In rural areas, Curtis is researching the adoption of practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, enhance biodiversity, or improve the environmental quality of land by farmers in Canada and Asia. His research addresses UN Sustainable Development Goal 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy) and Goal 13 (Climate Action).

For his research, Curtis combines theories and methods from economics, psychology, and sociology to understand how people make decisions that have major environmental implications. His data comes from a series of surveys, economic laboratory experiments, and technology adoption and installation records. This combination of data allows him to examine how numerous factors, such as market conditions, social dimensions, policy interventions, and psychological traits of people interact with each other when determining whether a behaviour or technology will be adopted.

In answering his research questions, Curtis is collaborating with researchers in North American, Europe, and Asia from a range of disciplines, including agricultural and climate scientists, geologists, engineers, and sociologists.

Governments can take a range of approaches to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or enhance biodiversity. Curtis is analysing which combination of measures works best. Because of this essential approach and his international engagement the jury voted for Curtis to become a Green Talent awardee.