Below are some of the current funded projects I am involved in or have recently completed:

Title: Energy precarity and reducing heat-related health risks from climate change in subtropical Asian cities

Funder: Wellcome Trust Seed Awards in Humanities and Social Sciences

Investigators: Dr Leslie Mabon (PI); Dr Wanyu Shih (Ming-Chuan University, Taiwan); Dr Minh Ha-Duong (University of Science and Technology Hanoi, Viet Nam); Dr Yuriko Hayabuchi (Kyushu University, Japan)

The research has the overall aim of assessing the effect of energy policy on health risks associated with urban heatwaves. This foundation-building project evaluates methods for integrating measures for physical exposure to heat, socio-economic vulnerability, and potential future energy pricing. This aim is evaluated through application to the subtropical Asian cities of Hanoi, Taipei and Fukuoka.


Title: Climate change adaptation for urban societies

Funder: Robert Gordon University Foundation

Investigator: Dr Leslie Mabon

This is a research- and postgraduate teaching-led foundation study. It arises out of collaboration between Dr Leslie Mabon (RGU) and Dr Wanyu Shih (Ming-Chuan University, Taiwan) on the theme of climate change adaptation for urban societies, with a specific focus on environmental and social dimensions of excess urban heat. RGU Foundation Funding will allow the undertaking of pilot interviews in Taipei and quantitative analysis of existing socio-economic datasets. These will form the basis of peer-reviewed publication, joint teaching materials, and identification of common areas for development into larger collaborative funding proposals between the institutions.


Title: Towards methodologies for assessing effects of climate change on coastal communities – Vietnam and Scotland

Funder: British Academy International Partnership and Mobility Scheme

Investigator: Dr Leslie Mabon (PI), Dr Natascha Mueller-Hirth, Dr Chris Yuill (with Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences, Hanoi, Vietnam)

Vietnam and Scotland illustrate the complexity and heterogeneity in how climate change may affect coastal societies – Vietnam has called for international support in capacity-building for adaptation, whereas in Scotland mitigation via transition to a low-carbon society is altering socio-economic structures. This proposal uses these extremes to assess potential for a common methodology for understanding climate impacts on coastal communities, connecting institutions working at these polar opposites – Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen and the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences in Hanoi. This pump-priming project facilitates bilateral exchange – RGU researchers combining intensive methods training for VASS early-career scholars with involvement in current research on the Vietnamese coast, and VASS scholars participating in researching UK policy and community engagement by return visit.


Title: Public and stakeholder perceptions of sub-seabed carbon dioxide storage in Tomakomai, Japan

Funder: UK CCS Research Centre International Collaboration Fund

Investigator: Dr Leslie Mabon (PI) (with Research Centre of Innovative Technology for the Earth, Kyoto, Japan)

This project focused on low-carbon energy deployment in Tomakomai City and the Iburi Subprefecture region of Hokkaido, Japan, involving Dr Leslie Mabon of Robert Gordon University and partners at the Research Institute of Innovative Technology for the Earth (RITE) in Kyoto. There was a particular focus on how informed citizens and key stakeholders in Tomakomai City and surrounding towns such as Muroran and Yubari viewed the decline of extractive industries such as oil and gas production, and on the potential for low-carbon energy technologies such as carbon dioxide capture and storage to facilitate the transition to a sustainable economic base. UK policy-makers, operators and scholars are commencing engagement with communities and other users of the environment as part of progress towards full-scale CCS deployment. Yet there are currently few global opportunities to study societal responses to actual large-scale CO2 storage projects – let alone existing examples of offshore CO2 storage of the kind planned for the UK. UKCCSRC funding allowed Dr Mabon to travel to Japan to work alongside researchers at RITE on the social dimensions of the Tomakomai project. Requested funding facilitated interviews with key stakeholders (e.g. fishing cooperatives, shipping companies, environmental organisations) and community members in Tomakomai itself, as well as participant observation in the community. Dr Mabon spent 2 months in Japan, to allow data processing, analysis and writing-up for publication alongside Japanese colleagues, as well as interchange on social science research methods for CCS across cultures. The timing of the proposed work – early 2016 – coincided with the commencement of CO2 injection at the Tomakomai site, meaning this research will also assess initial reactions to communication around storage monitoring.


Title: UK-Japan Network on Consensus-Based Environmental Governance

Funder: GB Sasakawa Foundation

Investigator: Dr Leslie Mabon (PI) (with Dr Natascha Mueller-Hirth (RGU); Dr Claire Haggett, Dr Mhairi Aitken, Dr Emily Creamer, Bregje van Veelen (University of Edinburgh); Dr Stephen Elstub (Newcastle University); Prof Taisuke Miyauchi, Dr Masatoshi Sasaoka, Dr Naoyuki Mikami (Hokkaido University); Dr Yasushi Maruyama (Nagoya University)).

GB Sasakawa Foundation funding initiated a network-based collaboration between academics in Scotland/northern England and Japan working on issues of environmental governance, with a common interest in consensus-based decision making. Two workshops were held, one in Sapporo in spring 2016 and one in Edinburgh in autumn 2016. Academics from the partner countries took part in exchange involving both presentation-based sessions and also visits to field sites in each other’s countries. Based on common themes and ideas – and interpersonal relations – established during the workshops, the aim is now to develop peer-reviewed publications and topics for larger funding applications.


Title: Stakeholder and public understandings of CO2-Enhanced Oil Recovery

Funder: SCCS Joint Industry Project

Investigator: Dr Leslie Mabon and Chris Littlecott

This project developed a series of policy scenarios for the future of the North Sea, and trialed them with relevant stakeholders and citizens in Aberdeen as well as other urban centres in the UK (Edinburgh, London). The overall aim was to assess the possibility for carbon dioxide enhanced oil recovery processes combined with carbon capture and storage technologies to balance up the challenges of North Sea oil production with meeting climate change objectives. In particular, the scenarios focused on the implications for Aberdeen and north-east Scotland in terms of industry, employment and the economy.