Catherine Mitchell

Catherine Mitchell

Catherine Mitchell is Professor of Energy Policy in Geography at the Penryn Campus. She is interested in finding ways of transitioning into a more sustainable energy system, so as to solve problems associated with climate change and energy security. Catherine is currently an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Established Career Fellow, and sits on the Advisory Board of the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) and the Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP). She writes regularly at the IGov website, which seeks to provide widely accessible information about the relationships between governance and innovation, and how these impact energy policy.

Catherine comes from a long line of independent and highly successful women, and says that her mother is one of her key role models. She was also influenced by Dr Margaret Sharp, the only senior female academic at the University of Sussex’s Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU), where Catherine undertook her PhD. Though Sharp was never given a professorship, she did eventually become a baroness. Catherine said: “SPRU was all abuzz on that day, and when I saw her I curtsied and said, ‘Well done; who cares about being a stupid professor.’ She laughed and told me, ‘We all have to live our own way.’” This encounter, Catherine says, emphasized to her the importance of being yourself even if the world wants you to be something else.

Accordingly, Catherine advises others to challenge conventional wisdom and avoid doing things simply because they suit the status quo. Catherine adds: “Do whatever it is that you want to do and—as long as you do not harm others—that’s fine.” She believes that “all people can help to make the world a more progressive and equitable place. It does not matter where or who they are; everyone fits into a spectrum…and no one is more or less important.”

She is proud of the energy policy degree that she has established at the Penryn Campus, and of the talented and dedicated students who have successfully completed the programme. Catherine says that the things that make her happiest are those that cannot be bought by money: “A beautiful blue sky, the sea, a magnificent tree, calm, peace, a bird song, flowers, and acts of generosity and kindness.”