ACCESS - Advancing Capacity for Climate  and Environment Social Science
ACCESS - Advancing Capacity for Climate  and Environment Social Science
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Professor Nigel Gilbert

Last modified: November 27, 2023
ACCESS Co-Investigators

Professor of Sociology
University of Surrey


The sector(s) I work in: Academic

Professional qualifications:







About the organisation(s) I've worked for

Organisation name:

University of Surrey

About my experience and expertise

Personal statement:

My early academic training was in engineering, but I was drawn to the social sciences and obtained a doctorate in sociology from the University of Cambridge. This interdisciplinary background has been a hallmark of my career.

I have been a pioneer in the field of agent-based modelling, a powerful tool for simulating and understanding complex social phenomena.

My research interests span a wide range, including social norms, innovation diffusion, collective behaviour, and the development of public policy, especially in relation to the environment and energy.

I am Director of the ESRC Centre for the Evaluation of Complexity Across the Nexus.

Key topic areas of research or interest:

Public policy evaluation and appraisal
Environmental social science
Sociological methods
Computational social science


Castellani, B., Bartington, S., Wistow, J., Heckels, N., Ellison, A., Van Tongeren, M., Arnold, S. R., Barbrook-Johnson, P., Bicket, M., Pope, F. D., Russ, T. C., Clarke, C. L., Pirani, M., Schwannauer, M., Vieno, M., Turnbull, R., Gilbert, N., & Reis, S. (2022). Mitigating the impact of air pollution on dementia and brain health: Setting the policy agenda. Environmental Research, 215, 114362.

Oliver, T. H., Doherty, B., Dornelles, A., Gilbert, N., Greenwell, M. P., Harrison, L. J., Jones, I. M., Lewis, A. C., Moller, S. J., Pilley, V. J., Tovey, P., & Weinstein, N. (2022). A safe and just operating space for human identity: A systems perspective. The Lancet Planetary Health, 6(11), e919–e927.

Penn, A. S., Bartington, S. E., Moller, S. J., Hamilton, I., Levine, J. G., Hatcher, K., & Gilbert, N. (2022). Adopting a Whole Systems Approach to Transport Decarbonisation, Air Quality and Health: An Online Participatory Systems Mapping Case Study in the UK. Atmosphere, 13(3), Article 3.

Barbrook-Johnson, P., Castellani, B., Hills, D., Penn, A., & Gilbert, N. (2021). Policy evaluation for a complex world: Practical methods and reflections from the UK Centre for the Evaluation of Complexity across the Nexus. Evaluation, 27(1), 4–17.

Narasimhan, K., Gilbert, N., & Elsenbroich, C. (2020). An Integrated Model to Assess the Impacts of Dams in Transboundary River Basins. In H. Verhagen, M. Borit, G. Bravo, & N. Wijermans (Eds.), Advances in Social Simulation: Looking in the Mirror (pp. 321–327). Springer Nature Switzerland AG.

Calder, M., Craig, C., Culley, D., de Cani, R., Donnelly, C. A., Douglas, R., Edmonds, B., Gascoigne, J., Gilbert, N., Hargrove, C., Hinds, D., Lane, D. C., Mitchell, D., Pavey, G., Robertson, D., Rosewell, B., Sherwin, S., Walport, M., & Wilson, A. (2018). Computational modelling for decision-making: Where, why, what, who and how. Royal Society Open Science, 5(6), 172096.
Gilbert, N., Ahrweiler, P., Barbrook-Johnson, P., Narasimhan, K. P., & Wilkinson, H. (2018). Computational Modelling of Public Policy: Reflections on Practice. Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, 21(1), 14.

Skeldon, A. C., Schiller, F., Yang, A., Balke-Visser, T., Penn, A., & Gilbert, N. (2018). Agent-based modelling to predict policy outcomes: A food waste recycling example. Environmental Science & Policy, 87, 85–91.

Kolkman, D. A., Campo, P., Balke-Visser, T., & Gilbert, N. (2016). How to build models for government: Criteria driving model acceptance in policymaking. Policy Sciences, 49, 1–16.

Balke, T., Roberts, T., Gilbert, N., & Xenitidou, M. (2014). Modelling energy-consuming social practices as agents. Social Simulation Conference.

Conte, R., Bonelli, G., Gilbert, N., Cioffi-Revilla, C., Deffuant, G., Kertesz, J., Loreto, V., Moat, S., Nadal, J.-P., Sanchez, A., Nowak, A., Flache, A., San Miguel, M., & Helbing, D. (2012). Manifesto of computational social science. European Physical Journal: Special Topics, 214(1), 325–346.

Other projects and networks:

Co-investigator, Participatory systems mapping (PSM) approaches in population health research, funded by the Medical Research Council, 2020
Co-investigator, Systemic environmental risk analysis for threats to UK recovery from COVID-19, funded by the Natural Environmental Research Council, 2021
Co-investigator, TRANSITION: Optimising air quality and health benefits associated with a low-emission transport and mobility revolution in the UK, funded by the Natural Environmental Research Council, 2020 – 2023
Co-investigator, AI FORA: Artificial Intelligence for Assessment, funded by the Volkswagen Foundation, 2021 – 2024
Co-Investigator, ACCESS: Advancing Capacity for Climate and Environment Social Science, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, 2022 – 27
Co-investigator, EMPOWER: Empowering citizen and community adaptation to systemic risks from climate change, funded by the Natural Environmental Research Council, 2021 – 2022
Co-investigator, WM-Net Zero: A whole-systems approach towards net-zero emissions in the West Midlands: integrating air quality and health in climate mitigation policymaking, funded by the Wellcome Trust, 2023 – 2026

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