Dr Frauke Urban

Key information

Research Associate Centre for Water and Development Member, Centre for Water and Development China Institute Academic Staff, SOAS China Institute
BSc, MSc, PhD
Email address


Dr Frauke Urban is Associate Professor in the Management of Sustainable Energy Systems at the Royal Institute of Technology KTH in Stockholm, Sweden and affiliated researcher with SOAS. Her research interests are low carbon energy transitions, energy policy, climate policy, innovation for sustainability and sustainable development.

Research interests

Dr. Frauke Urban works on the linkages between energy, climate change and development, especially climate change mitigation, low carbon development and energy policy. Her main regional interest is Asia, particularly China and Southeast Asia. She also works on China’s rise and its environmental implications in low and middle income countries.

Her most recent journal publications include:

Urban, F., Geall, S., Wang, Y., 2016. Solar PV and solar water heaters in China: Different pathways to low carbon energy. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Vol. 64(2016): 531–542.

Urban, F., Zhou, Y., Nordensvard, J., Narain, A., 2015. Firm-level technology transfer and technology cooperation for wind energy between Europe, China and India: from North-South to South-North cooperation? Energy for Sustainable Development, Volume 28(10):29–40.

Urban, F., 2015. Environmental innovation for sustainable development: the role of China. Sustainable Development, Vol.23(7-8): 203–205.

Urban, F., Siciliano, G., Sour, K., Lonn, P.D., Tan-Mullins, M., Mang, G., 2015. South-South technology transfer of low carbon innovation: Chinese large hydropower dams in Cambodia. Sustainable Development, Vol.23(7-8): 232–244.

Urban, F., Nordensvard, J., Siciliano, G., Li, B., 2015. Chinese Overseas Hydropower Dams and Social Sustainability: The Bui Dam in Ghana and the Kamchay Dam in Cambodia. Asia & the Pacific Policy Studies, Vol. 2(3):573–589.

Nordensvard, J. and Urban, F., 2015. The stuttering energy transition in Germany: Wind energy policy and feed-in tariff lock-in. Energy Policy, Vol. 82: 156-165.

Siciliano, G., Urban, F., Kim, S., Lonn, D.P., 2015. Hydropower, social priorities and the rural-urban development divide: the case of large dams in Cambodia. Energy Policy, Volume 86(11):273–285.

Zhou, Y., Li, X., Lema, R., Urban, F., 2015. Comparing the knowledge bases of wind turbine firms in Asia and Europe: patent trajectories, networks, and globalization. Science and Public Policy, 1-16. doi: 10.1093/scipol/scv055

Dr. Urban has just published a reference collection of 4 volumes on Low carbon Development: Urban, F. and Nordensvärd, J., eds. (2016). Low Carbon Development - Routledge Major Works Collections: Critical Concepts in Development Studies.  Abingdon; New York: Routledge. 2,276 pages.
(See https://www.routledge.com/Low-Carbon-Development/Urban-Nordensvard/p/book/9781138778221 for details).

Her textbook “Low Carbon Development: Key Issues” has been published in 2013 by Earthscan, Routledge. “Low Carbon Development: Key Issues” is the first comprehensive textbook to address the interface between international development and climate change in a carbon constrained world. It discusses the key conceptual, empirical and policy-related issues of low carbon development and takes an international and interdisciplinary approach to the subject by drawing on insights from across the natural sciences and social sciences whilst embedding the discussion in a global context. Frauke published a monograph with Routledge in 2014, entitled “Low Carbon Transitions for Developing Countries”.

Frauke is the Principal Investigator for the project “China goes global: a comparative analysis of the impacts of Chinese hydropower dams in low and middle income countries”, led by SOAS. The project explores the environmental, social, economic and political impacts of China’s engagement in large dams in Cambodia, Ghana, Malaysia and Nigeria through fieldwork and document and data analysis. Time frame: 2012-2016, (ESRC grant ref number: ES/J01320X/1). Project website: https://www.soas.ac.uk/cedep/research/cgg/

Frauke is a Co-Investigator for the project Green Transformations in the Global South (GreeTS), funded by the Wellcome Trust, the Svenska Riksbanken Jubileumsfond, the Volkswagen Foundation and led by the University of Munster in Germany. The project involves detailed fieldwork on energy and agriculture issues in Vietnam and Costa Rica. Time frame: 2016 – 2019. Project website: https://www.uni-muenster.de/Nachhaltigkeit/Greets/research/index.html

Frauke is a Co-Investigator for the ESRC-funded project “Low carbon innovation in China: Prospects, Politics and Practice”, led by the University of Lancaster. The project explores three case studies from energy, mobility and agriculture. Frauke leads the energy workpackage. Time frame: late 2013-2016. Project website: http://steps-centre.org/project/low-carbon-china/

Frauke has led and contributed to a wide range of research projects and consultancies over the past 15 years, including being the Principal Investigator for an ESRC-funded network grant on China as a new ‘shaper’ of international development. Other work included projects on low carbon development, energy policy and climate change mitigation in developing countries funded by the Svenska Riksbanken Jubileumsfond, Volkswagen Foundation, Compania di Sao Paolo, DFID, CDKN, CAFOD, Oxfam, Climate Strategies, the Commonwealth Secretariat, the British Academy and the European Union. For her PhD at the University of Groningen, Frauke conducted research on transitions to low carbon energy as climate change mitigation options for China and India, which was funded by the Ubbo-Emmius-Foundation.

PhD Supervision

Name Title
Catherine Doe Adodoadji Climate Change and Vulnerable Coastal Communities in Ghana (working title)
Fiorella N. Picchioni "Monitoring the effects of changing food prices on food security and nutrition – the Minimum Calorie Expenditure Share (MCES)"

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