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Personal profile

Research interests

Nick McCullen is a Lecturer in the Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering.  He is interested in how the complex interactions between the various components, such as buildings, technology, the environment, and people, result in the energy consumption of the built environment.

Nick gained his undergraduate Master’s degree in Physics at the University of Manchester. He spent two years teaching English in rural Japan on the Japan Exchange Teaching (JET) programme before returning for his PhD in the Manchester Centre for Nonlinear Dynamics. On this he researched chaotic phenomena in coupled oscillators, with application to many complex behaviours arising from the interactions between simple systems. One application of the research was sensitive signal detection, related to the resonant coupling of oscillations found in insect hearing.

Nick's first post-doctoral research position was at the University of Bath, investigating electrical network models of composite materials in the Bath Institute for Complex Systems.This involved modelling the microstructure of these materials as many individual elements coupled via a network of interactions between them, to understand the macroscopic, system level 'emergent properties' observed in physical experiments.

This line of research led him to the University of Leeds as part of the multi-disciplinary project Future energy decision—making for cities: Can complexity science rise to the challenge. Nick's work involved mathematical and computational modelling of the influence of various factors affecting the uptake of energy efficiency innovations by individual households in a city, including the influence of peers via their personal social network.


Nick is currently involved in research proposals related to the modelling of the vastly complex city energy systems and end users to better understand energy use in cities and homes.

A part of this is working out what measures will be necessary to address the twin challenge of making cities capable of both remaining habitable by adapting to the possible effects of future climate change, and also mitigating further change by providing the energy needs of their citizens more sustainably.

Teaching interests

Low Carbon Design

Willing to supervise doctoral students

Interested in supervising students studying:

  • Energy use in buildings and cities
  • Complex interactions and behaviours involved in energy consumption
  • Distributed generation in cities 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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