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SILCI – Social Influence & disruptive Low Carbon Innovation

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September 2016 to September 2020

PI: Charlie Wilson

Funded by: European Research Council (ERC)


Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, University of East Anglia

Partners and stakeholders:

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Simon Fraser University



Disruptive innovations offer novel attributes to consumers and challenge mainstream goods and services. The SILCI project explores disruptive consumer innovations which may also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.


The SILCI project has three main aims and workstreams. SILCI’s first aim is to explore the novel attributes offered to consumers by potentially disruptive low-carbon innovations. We are doing this in four domains – transport, food, homes, energy – using systematic review, structured elicitation workshops, and a large-scale questionnaire survey. The main outcome of this workstream will be to identify inter-related clusters of innovations which are attractive to early adopters and other market segments.

SILCI’s second aim is to evaluate whether processes of social influence are important for diffusing potentially disruptive low-carbon innovations among a population of potential adopters. We are doing this using social network analysis, structured interviews, and agent-based modelling. The main outcome of this workstream will be to identify how inter-personal communication and other mechanisms social influence can be harnessed to accelerate diffusion.

SILCI’s third aim is to assess whether potentially disruptive low-carbon innovations would lead to significant greenhouse gas emission reductions if they become widespread. We are doing this using scenario analysis, systems modelling, and lifecycle assessment. The main outcome of this workstream will be to identify the contribution of consumer-led transformation to climate change mitigation targets.

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