Professor Jan Webb MBE

Current Member

Janette Webb is Professor of Sociology of Organisations at Edinburgh University, Co-Director of the UK Energy Research Centre, member of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Energy Scientific Advisory Committee and Fellow of the Energy Institute.  Her research concerns comparative European policy and practice for sustainable heat and low energy buildings, and analysis of the contribution of local and regional energy to net zero economy and society.  She is a Co-Investigator in a number of UK multi-disciplinary energy research consortia, contributor to ClimateXChange (CXC) Scotland, and collaborates in capacity building with leading edge local authorities, central and devolved governments and Energy Service Companies.


Her research contributes to policy: she is a commissioner for the Infrastructure Commission for Scotland; has advised Scottish Government on Fuel Poverty, Low Carbon Infrastructure and the Climate Change Plan. She is a member of UK Government BEIS research evaluation group, and Adviser to UKRI Industrial Strategy Challenge Prospering from the Energy Revolution, and recently served on the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) committee of inquiry into Scotland’s Energy Future. She is currently a member of Scottish Power Energy Networks business planning challenge group


During her career at the University of Edinburgh, Jan has been Director of the Graduate School in Social and Political Science, and played a leading role in development and launch of the University of Edinburgh MA Honours Degree in Sustainable Development. Between 2003 and 2011, she was a Non-Executive Director, and Sustainability Lead, NHS Health Scotland and a founder member of NHS Scotland Public Health and Sustainability Network.


Jan has a first degree in psychology and a PhD in social psychology; from 1980-81 she held a research post in social psychology at the University of Kent, prior to academic appointments in Business Schools at the Universities of Aston (1981-86) and Edinburgh (1986-1992). She moved to Edinburgh University Sociology Department in 1992, and is now part of the School of Social and Political Science. Between 1978 and 1980 she was co-developer and co-director of a Housing Insulation business start-up, based at Nottingham Friends of the Earth. With initial funding from UK Manpower Services Commission, the business employed six adults who had experienced long-term unemployment, and was subsequently developed as a worker cooperative.  Jan is committed to collaborative research to support participative democracy and egalitarian, sustainable society, and holds to the view that the job of sociology is to engage the public in debate about its institutions. 

Professor Webb was awarded an MBE for her services to energy transition in the Queen's Birthday Honours List in November 2020.