Dr Catherine (Frin) Bale

Dr Catherine (Frin) Bale


I am an Associate Professor jointly appointed between the School of Chemical and Process Engineering and the School of Earth and Environment, which reflects my interdisciplinary approach to research in energy across the disciplines of engineering, economics and social science.

I am a physical scientist by training. I have studied complex systems at the prestigious Santa Fe Institute, and completed Masters-level courses at SOAS in environmental economics and policy. Before joining the university in 2010, I worked in the public sector, developing strategic programmes to support the energy and environmental sectors.

I work extensively with local, national and international partners including Leeds City Council, the Committee on Climate Change, and the International Energy Agency. I am currently a member of the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) Whole-Systems Network advisory group.  



  • Co-lead Energy and Climate Change Mitigation Research Group
  • Management board member of the Priestley International Centre for Climate Change

Research interests

My research interests are centred on:

  • The application of complexity science modelling methods to energy challenges at the technology-policy interface.
  • The delivery of national energy policy at the local level and the role of local authorities in city-level energy decision-making.
  • Participatory modelling approaches to support energy decision-making.
  • Heat decarbonisation in cities.

Current projects:

  • From 2019 Principal Investigator, EPSRC Early Career Fellowship 'Co-creating visions and pathways for integrated urban heat systems' EP/R024197/1

Recent projects:

  • 2015 2018 Co-Investigator, EPSRC Consortium for Modelling and Analysis of Decentralised Energy Storage (C-MADEnS; EP/N001745/1), led a work-package (WP) on public perceptions of decentralised storage technologies and co-led an integrative WP that applied findings from across the project in case-study cities.
  • 2017 2018 Co-Investigator, EPSRC Across Scales in Energy Decision-Making (ASCEND EP/R002231/1), a project on the use of whole energy system analysis in decision-making across scales in which I contributed on heat systems and local actors in energy decision-making.
  • 2013 2016 Principal Investigator, EPSRC Post-doctoral Fellowship 'Reducing heat demand in UK cities: Using complexity science to enable effective decision-making' (EP/K022288/1).
  • 2013 2014 Principal Investigator, Chesshire-Lehmann Fund entitled 'Spatial mapping tools for district heating: helping local authorities tackle fuel poverty' resulting in the Leeds Heat Planning Tool.
  • 2013 2018 Researcher, EPSRC & ESRC iBUILD consortium (EP/K012398/1)
  • 2010 2013 Research fellow, City Energy Futures 
<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://environment.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • DPhil, Atmospheric Chemisty, University of Oxford
  • MChem, University of Oxford

Professional memberships

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Associate Member of the Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy
  • Alumni of 2014 Santa Fe Institute Complex Systems Summer School

Student education

I teach on Energy Transitions, and supervise a number of undergraduate and masters projects.

I also teach in the School of Chemical and Process Engineering and lead a module for the Leeds International Summer School on Renewable Energy Futures.

I co-supervise several PhD students across topics in energy transitions, including those related to bioenergy, urban energy, and heating and cooling.

Research groups and institutes

  • Energy and Climate Change Mitigation
  • Sustainable Cities
  • Sustainability Research Institute
<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>