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Dr Sally Caird

Profile summary

Professional biography

Dr. Sally Caird BA (Hons) MEd PhD FHEA

Before joining the OU, Sally worked in research and teaching roles at Durham University and the University of Stirling. Since joining the OU, Sally has worked as a Research Fellow on several research projects in the area of low energy/carbon sociotechnical systems, supported by teaching and external activities. Sally has an extensive research and publication record examining processes associated with the design, implementation, diffusion, evaluation and impact of low energy/carbon systems, including research on domestic energy systems, sustainable higher education systems, and smart city innovation programmes. Her research encompasses social, environmental and economic themes, spans citizen, institutional and city levels, and involves collaborations with public and private sectors. This research has led to substantial contributions to curriculum across undergraduate and postgraduate modules, OpenLearn, public education resources, external enterprise and innovation programmes, and has contributed to government consultations.

In 2017, Sally became a Lecturer in ‘Technological Innovation and Sustainability’ in the School of Engineering and Innovation and took on the role of Presentation Chair of  the capstone module T847 ' The MSc Professional Project'  2018-2021.  Later in 2019, Sally became a Senior Lecturer and the Production Chair of TB801 'Technology and Innovation Management ' (a postgraduate module) and has been working as the TB801 Presentation Chair since its launch in 2021. She is also the OU-Lead on the Doctoral Training Alliance (DTA3) PhD Fellowship programme funded by the EU MSC COFUND scheme.

Research interests

In general, Sally's research interests are focused on low energy/carbon sociotechnical systems. She has an extensive research and publication record examining processes associated with the design, implementation, diffusion, evaluation and impact of low energy/carbon systems, including research on domestic energy systems, sustainable higher education systems, and smart city innovation programmes. Her research encompasses social, environmental and economic themes, spans citizen, institutional and city levels, and involves collaborations with public and private sectors. This research has led to substantial contributions to curriculum across undergraduate and postgraduate modules, OpenLearn, public education resources, external enterprise and innovation programmes, and has contributed to government consultations.

Sally has strong interests in designing and developing research-informed open educational tools and resources based on her research. This includes: the OpenLearn teaching unit ‘The environmental impact of teaching and learning’; the SusTEACH HE toolkit supporting sustainable Higher Education; the ‘Postcards from the Future’ ecoquiz accompanying the BBC/OU Coast series; and the schools eco-quiz  on the Defra-funded soil education website. It also includes the Open2-Innova8ion Tool and the popular online, open educational website, GET2test.net with the General Enterprising Tendency (GET) test. Now working with  Oxford Innovation (e.g. the Ignite Cornwall Business Competition) and the Gazelle Colleges initiative, her get2test.net website has nearly 2,000 users per month and has been widely adopted by over 80 institutions across over 30 countries for education, research, development and training.

For more details on the research projects:

2018- 2022 University Alliance DTA3 programme –  Doctoral Training Alliance (DTA) in Energy, Applied Biosciences for Health and Social Policy (DTA3) PhD Fellowship programme funded by the EU Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie COFUND scheme.

2014-2018 SmartDframe (OU Smart Cities Open Challenge Competition funding linked to the OU flagship MK:Smart initiative). This examines city approaches to the evaluation of smart city projects and programmes and their outcomes for cities and citizens. This led to the report  A Tale of Evaluation and Reporting in UK Smart Cities which includes an analysis of smart city case studies in the UK – Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester, Milton Keynes and Peterborough. http://www.open.ac.uk/research/main/news/evaluating-smart-city-success 

2011-2013 SusTEACH (Sustainable Tools for the Environmental Appraisal of the Carbon Impacts of Higher Education (HE) Teaching Models using ICTs) (Jisc-funded). This features analysis of environmental audit data gathered via online surveys and energy databases to analyse carbon impacts of 30 HE courses in 15 HE institutions, and examine the transformative impact of ICTs on sustainability, plus development of online tools. This led to the ‘Green Gown Award 2012 - Research & Development Finalist’. Several research papers followed, including a research paper published in International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, which was selected as Winner of the ‘Outstanding Paper Award in the Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence 2016.’ http://www.emeraldgrouppublishing.com/authors/literati/awards.htm?year=2016. This work also led to a publication in The Conversation, with the article ‘'Plug the university finance gap by turning teaching greener’, which contributed to debate on financial sustainability of England’s Higher Education System.

2008 -2011 Heat Pump Field Trial User Evaluation (HE Innovation Fund/Carbon Connections and EST funded): features investigation of UK domestic user experiences and influence on heat pump performance. Data sources included user questionnaires, focus groups, buildings energy performance assessments, and monitored technology performance. Consortium included 3 government departments; 7 energy suppliers and 7 manufacturers.

2009- 2011 U-STIR Sustainable Surface Transport (U-STIR, FP7 funded): features workshops and customer engagement to support infrastructure for Low Carbon Electric Vehicles in UK, and contributed surface transport innovation case studies with partners in 7 European countries.

2007-2008 Household Adoption and Use of Microgeneration heat (HE Innovation Fund/Carbon Connections and EST): features online surveys with 900+ consumers to investigate household adoption, non-adoption and experience of using solar thermal, heat pump and biomass heating systems.

2004--2006 PCED (People-centred Ecodesign) (OU funded): features interviews and online surveys on consumer adoption, non-adoption of low carbon technologies, including insulation, energy efficient lighting, solar thermal and photovoltaic systems and micro-wind turbines. Collaboration with the National Energy Foundation, EST, Energy Agency and the BBC.

2001-2005 Household Ecological Footprints (OU funded): features data analysis of over 1,000 households using EcoCal software to determine ecological footprint based on transport, energy, waste, water and food consumption.

Teaching interests

Prior to joining the Open University, Sally taught on undergraduate and post-graduate programmes at University of Durham, the University of Stirling. 

In 2017, Sally became a Lecturer in ‘Technological Innovation and Sustainability’ in the School of Engineering and Innovation and took on the role of Presentation Chair of the capstone module T847 ' The MSc Professional Project'  2018-2021. 

Later in 2019, Sally became a Senior Lecturer and the Production Chair of TB801 'Technology and Innovation Management ' (a postgraduate module) and has been working as the TB801 Presentation Chair since its launch in 2021.

Sally's teaching supports or has supported the following OU modules:

Impact and engagement

Sally's research has led to substantial contributions to curriculum across undergraduate and postgraduate modules, OpenLearn, public education resources, external enterprise and innovation programmes, and has contributed to government consultations.

Sally designed and developed several research-informed open educational resources, including:

Research groups

NameTypeParent Unit
Design GroupGroupFaculty of Mathematics, Computing and Technology

 

Externally funded projects

Extended University Alliance Doctoral Training Alliance in Energy, Applied Biosciences for Health & Social Policy
RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Lead01 Sep 201831 Aug 2023EC (European Commission): FP (inc. Horizon Europe, H2020, ERC)

The Open University is a partner on the successful bid for the ‘Extended University Alliance Doctoral Training Alliances (DTAs) in Energy, Applied Biosciences for Health and Social Policy - called The DTA3 PhD Fellowship programme, funded by the European Commission (EC) under the Horizon 2020 Marie Sklodowska-Curie COFUND scheme and coordinated by the University Alliance. This is a multi-institutional and multidisciplinary doctoral training collaboration across UK universities. The DTA3 programme involves a partnership of 15 UK universities participating in the 3 DTAs, which provides funding opportunities for up to 83 MSC DTA3 COFUND PhD Fellows to undertake doctoral research. The OU’s contribution will address the Alliance DTA Energy objectives to develop an international cohort of researchers with doctoral-level knowledge in an aspect of an energy technology and/or use, coupled with a wider appreciation of energy policy, economics, and environmental impacts. Alliance DTA3 researchers will also be equipped with an ability to communicate these issues to decision makers in Government and business, and the wider public. Alliance DTA3 energy graduates will have a strong sense of energy citizenship and their role in tackling the global ‘energy trilemma’ of energy security, energy equity and environmental sustainability. The OU will offer three PhD Fellowships through the UK Energy DTA and is not currently involved with the Alliance DTAs in Applied Biosciences for Health and Social Policy. The Alliance DTA3 training environment will be focused on industry relevance, supporting the researchers’ progression into a wide number of careers and sectors after the completion of their PhD. Working with the UK's national Knowledge Transfer Network, Alliance DTA3 doctoral researchers will have the opportunity to undertake, as part of their PhD programme, an industrial placement in a relevant company. The Alliance DTA3 programme will extend significantly the international reach and impact by internationalising the cohort of students and strengthening and deepening ties with researchers in the European Union through established networks with European Universities and Australia through the Australian Technology Network of Universities. This will be enabled through opportunities to participate in international placements. The Alliance DTA3 researchers will be supervised and supported by academics based in universities across the UK. A centralised recruitment process has been designed to provide assurance for quality and independence in the recruitment of two cohorts of early-stage researchers to undertake their doctoral research studies in the appropriate Alliance university. The EC-funded DTA3 PhD Fellowship programme commenced on 1st September 2018 and will continue for five years until 2023.