Liz Owen

Director of Policy and Strategy at Care Quality Commission


Director of Policy and Strategy, Care Quality Commission

Policy Fellow Alum, Centre for Science and Policy

Liz Owen

Previously, she was Head of Customer Insight for Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). This involved developing a robust understanding of customers’ attitudes, values and behaviours to inform effective policy development and delivery – critical given the ambition to reduce carbon emissions.

Prior to joining DECC, Liz worked as a research consultant, initially helping international blue chip companies to understand their brand image and inform new product development, moving on to focus on policy research for public sector clients including Defra, DECC, Energy Saving Trust, Carbon Trust and the Sustainable Development Commission. She has a BA in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from Brasenose College, Oxford.

Liz’s research interests include:

  • How do individuals, companies and communities make decisions about energy use and energy efficiency? What determines behaviour, and what mechanisms can be used to influence it?
  • How are messages about energy efficiency understood and interpreted? E.g., how might smart meters affect behaviour? How do people respond to tariff and cost information?
  • Can messages on long-term challenges (e.g. energy security, carbon reduction) be communic­ated alongside shorter-term messages, or do they require a fundamentally different approach?
  • What models other than “economic rationality” might be used to explain or predict behaviour?
  • Might new approaches to information engineering reveal greater understanding of behaviour?
  • How do communities affect individual behaviour? How can communities be influenced?
  • What factors will influence public acceptability of new energy-generation capacity? Or of other energy-efficient technology (electric cars, heat pumps…)
  • How can design influence behaviour and acceptance?
  • What does the latest physical science research suggest will be the drivers of change in energy production and sustainability over the longer term?
  • How can evidence from climate science be brought to bear on energy policy? How should public understanding of that evidence influence policy making?
  • In general, what new themes in social science and physical science research are likely to transform our thinking about energy usage in the coming years?