Dr J. Richard Snape

Job: VC2020 Senior Lecturer

Faculty: Technology

School/department: School of Engineering and Sustainable Development

Research group(s): Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development (IESD)

Address: De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, LE1 9BH

T: +44116 201 3934

E: jsnape@dmu.ac.uk

W: snapey.our.dmu.ac.uk

Social Media:


Personal profile

I am a researcher in the Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development at DMU, working on the agent-based modelling of energy networks, in particular community energy schemes and the electricity network in the form of smart grids.  My major interest is in complex systems modelling, incorporating human behaviour and decision making into models of energy infrastructure systems.  I have been co-investigator on a number of projects in this area.  I love to talk about complexity, both in its highly mathematical form and its more socio-technical forms.

I love to teach: I am currently the module leader for first year Engineering Mathematics, on which I teach undergraduates across every course in the School of Engineering and Sustainable Development.  I also supervise projects and dissertations from undergraduate to PhD level.  I am also a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (now part of AdvanceHE) and hold a PGCertHE.

If you would like to work with me on a project, think I can help with some consultancy work or would like me to look at a PhD proposal in my areas of interest, please do not hesitate to get in touch.


I gained my PhD entitled "Incorporating human behaviour in an agent based model of technology adoption in the transition to a smart grid" in 2015, having completed it while working on the CASCADE and AMEN projects (the PhD was funded by CASCADE).  The main contribution is an understanding of the effects of human behavioural response to policy introduction and changes on the adoption of renewable energy technology (specifically PV panels in response to feed-in tariffs in the UK).  This was in the context of proposed moves towards a smart grid.

Prior to that I worked in the railway sector,most recently as a Signals Availability Manager on the London Underground, managing a department of approximately 80 staff.  That followed an 18 month stint as a software developer at a medium sized software development company developing Java based mail server and webmail software, as part of an integrated telecoms solution.

 I studied Engineering at King’s College, Cambridge from 1998-2002, specialising in Electrical and Information Sciences in 3rd and 4th year. I graduated with First Class honours (which owing to a quirk of Oxbridge history leads to an MA degree) and gained an MEng with Merit in Electronic and Information Sciences. During his studies he was sponsored by and worked for a large Automotive company, amongst other things developing a benchmarking solution for Adaptive Cruise Control.

Research group affiliations

Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development (IESD)

Publications and outputs 

Click here to view a full listing of J. Richard Snape's publications and outputs.

Key research outputs

Research interests/expertise

Community Energy:

  • integrated modelling of technical, economic and social components of novel community energy schemes
  • integration of particular demand characteristics (heat, electricity and mobility) for a community with energy supply scheme
  • Scalability of community energy schemes

Complexity Science and Complex Adaptive Systems:

  • Agent Based Modelling
  • Complexity in socio-technical systems
  • Mathematics of complexity

Smart Grids:

  • integrated modelling of technical, economic and social components of the smart grid
  • research into (sometimes competing) scenarios for potential future smart grids
  • investigating transitions between the status quo and potential smart grids

Renewable energy:

  • the effect of large scale introduction of distributed and sustainable energy sources into the electricity distribution network
  • the effect of consumer behaviour on overall energy consumption
  • The effect of consumer behaviour on technology adoption

Transition in Socio-technical systems:

  • theoretical perspectives on socio-technical system transition
  • effect of policy on socio-technical transitions

Areas of teaching

I teach mainly Engineering Mathematics and supervise Final Year undergraduate and taught Masters students with their projects and dissertations and PhD students.  I have previously taught short courses on electronic communications in the School of Computing, supplementary mathematics for Quantum Physics and electronic theory, as well as demonstrating and supervising mechanical engineering laboratory sessions. 

I enjoy teaching mathematics as applied to engineering, in particular mathematical modelling, computational simulation, numerical techniques and optimisation.


PhD - "Incorporating human behaviour in an agent based model of technology adoption in the transition to a smart grid"

MEng (Cantab) – Electrical and Information Sciences Tripos – Merit

MA (Cantab) – Engineering – Class I

Courses taught

ENGD1001  - Engineering Mathematics  - module leader

ENGD3000  - Final Year Project supervision

ENGT5301  - Engineering MSc project supervision

ENGT5304  - IESD MSc dissertation

Honours and awards

NESTA award for dynamic demand challenge (£50k prize to be used on development)

Membership of professional associations and societies

Member of European Council for an Energy Efficient Economy — ECEEE, 2011 - present.

Professional licences and certificates

FHEA  - Higher Education Academy (2017)

PGCertHE  - De Montfort University (2017)


LES-CEGADS : Funded by EPSRC grant

Agents to the Rescue: Creating Artificial Lab for Evaluating Human-Natural Systems




Conference attendance

Rethink, Renew, Restart - ECEEE 2013 Summer Study conference, 3-6 June 2013, Presqu'ile des Giens, France –

Snape JR and Boait P.J. (2013), Enhancing energy efficiency through smart control: paths and policies for deployment (Full paper)

Snape JR (2013) Smart Grids, local adoption of distributed generation and the Feed in Tariff policy incentive (Short paper and poster)

Energy efficiency first: The foundation of a low-carbon society -ECEEE 2011 Summer Study conferences, 3-6 June 2011, Presqu'ile des Giens, France –

Snape JR, Irvine KN and Rynikiewicz C (2011), Understanding energy behaviours and transitions through the lens of a smart grid Agent Based Model (Full paper) 

Paper presented at the International Small Islands Study Association (ISISA) conference, August 2010 Bornholm, Denmark.

Rynikiewicz, C. & Snape, J.R. (2010) Investigating the peculiarities of sustainable energy policies in islands communities for smart grid development: insights from complexity science and agent based models.

Consultancy work

I am available for consultancy work in the area of community energy, modelling of energy systems, modelling of renewable energy integration or agent-based modelling more widely.  I would be happy to conduct consultancy on design or evaluation.

I have completed consultancy work for example companies looking to implement community energy schemes at scale, from database design and detailed software design to more high level algorithm design and overall scheme objectives.

Current research students

Current PhD supervision

Muhammad Abubakar - "Investigation of Sustainability constraints on Natural Gas Monetisation in Nigeria Using Agent-based Models" - 2nd supervisor

Mahmud Mustafa - "Dew point air-conditioning system application in Middle East" - 2nd supervisor

Example Completed MSc supervision

Kazuhiko Hashimoto - "Creating supporting software for the training of train drivers"

Externally funded research grants information

  • LES-CEGADS : Funded by EPSRC grant – academic research project in collaboration with Innovate UK development project – start: 01/01/2015 end: 30/06/2017 – Role: Research Fellow.
  • MINDER – academic research project – start: 01/04/2016 end:01/04/2017 – Role: PhD researcher, collaboration between Cranfield University and IESD 
  • Agent-based Modelling of the Electricity Network (AMEN) – EPSRC funded: grant EP/K033492/1 – academic research project – start: 01/04/2013 end:01/04/2016 – Role: Research Fellow.
  • Complex Adaptive Systems, Cognitive Agents and Distributed Energy (CASCADE) – EPSRC funded: grant EP/GO59969/1 – academic research project – start: 01/01/2010 end:01/04/2013 – Role: PhD researcher, collaboration between Cranfield University and IESD

Internally funded research project information

Teaching Innovation Project 2016/17  - "Towards Equitable Engagement: the Impact of UDL on Student Perceptions of Learning" with Prof Richard Hall, Ros Lishman, Jo Rushworth and James Brown  - As a Co-Invesitigator, I focused on the experience of a cohort of students on the Autistic Spectrum within the Faculty of Technology and their co-creation of an evaluation of UDL.

Professional esteem indicators

Invited to join the experts discussion forum for the International Energy Agency (IEA) Task 24 on Demand Side Management – reporting on “Changing behaviour for Demand Side Management".

Case studies

Researchers, policy makers and practitioners from across the UK attended the CASCADE project final dissemination event – including academics from University College London (UCL) and Imperial College, alongside representatives from DECC, Ofgem and a number of electricity suppliers. There was significant interest in work following on from that project – especially the Agent Based Modelling of the Electricity Network (AMEN) project - http://gow.epsrc.ac.uk/NGBOViewGrant.aspx?GrantRef=EP/K033492/1

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