Dr Nils Markusson


Research Overview


Nils wants to understand how technology is implicated in causing and solving environmental problems, and how we can use technology with as little environmental impact as possible. And, perhaps more profoundly, what we mean by ‘technology’ anyway, in relation to environmental issues.

He is a social scientist, with a background in engineering, innovation policy, innovation studies and science & technology studies (STS). Much of his work is done in multi- and interdisciplinary collaborations, spanning social science, natural science, engineering and the humanities.

He is a qualitative researcher, and favoured data sources include documents and interviews, analysed as case studies. He also has experience of statistical analysis, foresight methodologies and recently digital methods.

Published research

Nils has published on cleaner technology innovations in process industries and the organisational dynamics behind them, analysed through the theoretical lenses of the ‘company social constitution’, ‘environmental championing’ and ‘reification’/’black boxing’.

He has also built up a substantial body of work on carbon dioxide capture and storage technology (CCS), seeking to expand this strand of research beyond public perception related studies. Specific pieces of work has included analysing ‘lock-in ‘ dynamics in relation to capture ready designs as well as biomass CCS, relating demonstration of CCS technology to notions including ‘social learning’, and explorations of CCS technology development to different ways of conceptualising and representing ‘learning’. He used historical technological analogues to explore uncertainties relating to CCS in a project funded by UK Energy Research Centre. He led a book project, resulting in an edited volume published by Routledge.

He has recently started working on climate geoengineering, including a study of how geoengineering has been justified with reference to expected climate emergency.

Current research

Nils is currently working on a range of research strands having grown out of his work on CCS and geoengineering:

  • mechanisms of ‘scaling up’ of technology with relevance for CO2 capture.
  • the ‘linear model of innovation’ in geoengineering discourse
  • using data on geoengineering from Wikipedia to understand discursive definitions and classifications of science and technology
  • understanding the role of ambivalence in geoengineering discourse


Nils teaches on modules across first to third year of undergraduate geography studies:

  1. The history, philosophy and sociology of science for a first year module
  2. Environmental conflicts in the second year
  3. Sociotechnical urban change in a third year module

He also contributes to a range of postgrad geography modules, some in collaboration with sociology: Research Methods, Climate Change and Society, and Interdisciplinarities.

Contrasting medium and genre on Wikipedia to open up the dominating definition and classification of geoengineering
Markusson, N.O., Venturini, T., Laniado, D., Kaltenbrunner, A. 2/09/2016 In: Big Data and Society. 3, 2, p. 1-17. 17 p.
Journal article

‘In case of emergency press here’: framing geoengineering as a response to dangerous climate change
Markusson, N., Ginn, F., Ghaleigh, N., Scott, V. 02/2014 In: Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change. 5, 2, p. 281-290. 10 p.
Journal article

Learning pathways for energy supply technologies: bridging between innovation studies and learning rates
Winskel, M., Markusson, N., Jeffrey, H., Candelise, C., Dutton, G., Howarth, P., Jablonski, S., Kalyvas, C., Ward, D. 01/2014 In: Technological Forecasting and Social Change. 81, p. 96–114.
Journal article

Resolving or managing uncertainties for carbon capture and storage: lessons from historical analogues
Watson, J., Kern, F., Markusson, N. 01/2014 In: Technological Forecasting and Social Change. 81, p. 192–204.
Journal article

Review of 'A case for climate engineering' by David Keith
Markusson, N. 2014 In: Climate Law. 4, 3-4, 4 p.
Book/Film/Article review

Characterising CCS learning: the role of quantitative methods and alternative approaches
Markusson, N., Chalmers, H. 09/2013 In: Technological Forecasting and Social Change. 80, 7, p. 1409-1417.
Journal article

Last chance for carbon capture and storage
Scott, V., Gilfillan, S., Markusson, N., Chalmers, H., Haszeldine, S. 2013 In: Nature Climate Change. 3, 2, p. 105-111. 7 p.
Journal article

What will CCS demonstrations demonstrate?
Russell, S., Markusson, N., Scott, V. 08/2012 In: Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change. 17, 6, p. 651-668. 18 p.
Journal article

A socio-technical framework for assessing the viability of carbon capture and storage technology
Markusson, N., Kern, F., Watson, J., Arapostathis, S., Chalmers, H., Ghaleigh, N., Heptonstall, P., Pearson, P., Rossati, D., Russell, S. 06/2012 In: Technological Forecasting and Social Change. 79, 5, p. 903-918. 16 p.
Journal article

Born again: the debate on lock-in and CCS
Markusson, N. 05/2012 In: Energy and Environment. 23, 2-3, p. 389-394. 6 p.
Journal article

The social dynamics of carbon capture and storage: understanding CCS representations, governance and innovation
Markusson, N., Shackley, S., Evar, B. 2012 Abingdon : Earthscan. 318 p. ISBN: 978-1849713153.

CCS, BECCS and the escape from carbon lock-in
Vergragt, P., Markusson, N., Karlsson, H. 05/2011 In: Global Environmental Change. 21, 2, p. 282-292. 11 p.
Journal article

The social and political complexities of learning in carbon capture and storage demonstration projects
Markusson, N., Ishii, A., Stephens, J. 05/2011 In: Global Environmental Change. 21, 2, p. 293-302. 10 p.
Journal article

Unpacking the black box of cleaner innovation
Markusson, N. 03/2011 In: Journal of Cleaner Production. 19, 4, p. 294-302. 9 p.
Journal article

'Capture ready' regulation of fossil fuel power plants: betting the UK's carbon emissions on promises of future technology
Markusson, N., Haszeldine, S. 11/2010 In: Energy Policy. 38, 11, p. 6695-6702. 8 p.
Journal article

The championing of environmental improvements in technology investment projects
Markusson, N. 05/2010 In: Journal of Cleaner Production. 18, 8, p. 777-783. 7 p.
Journal article

The organisation of cleaner innovation: integrating environmental concerns into process technology investment projects
Markusson, N. 2009 Saarbrücken : VDM Verlag. ISBN: 978-3639192568.