Paul E. Brockway

Senior Research Fellow, University of Leeds

Paul E. Brockway


Paul is a Senior Research Fellow and holds a 5 year Early Career Fellowship from the EPSRC, entitled  “Applying thermodynamic laws to the energy-GDP decoupling problem”.

The fellowship applies thermodynamic laws to examine a national and global problem: how can we decouple primary energy use from economic growth? – i.e reduce energy consumption to help mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, whilst allowing economies to grow to improve citizen well-being. However, despite wide-scale energy efficiency policies and investment, at the global level no absolute decoupling (energy down, GDP up) has occurred. The vision for the fellowship is a better understanding the role of energy efficiency and energy rebound in the energy-GDP relationship, thereby improving the evidence base for primary energy reduction policies. Studying exergy flows through an economy enables thermodynamic-based quantification of both aggregate energy (exergy) efficiency and energy rebound. The aim of Paul’s project is to build on momentum and insights from recent research – including his own – to complete world leading exergy-based research into the energy-GDP decoupling problem within an expanded international research network.

His transition to the area of ecological economics started in 2002 with a two-year placement with Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO), and later in 2006-2009 he undertook a 3 year distance learning MSc in climate change and sustainability. His background is as a structural engineer, before moving to work in corporate sustainability, especially using a consumption-based approach to carbon accounting. In 2012 he left his consulting background to undertake a full-time PHD in ecological economics, which he completed in 2016.

His is married with two children, Cameron and Erin.


  • (2016) PhD in Ecological Economics, Sustainability Research Institute at the University of Leeds. Awarded a PhD by publication entitled “National-level energy use, rebound and economic growth: insights from useful work and exergy analysis”
  • (2010) Masters Module in Business Economics (with Distinction), Imperial College Business School, London, UK
  • (2009) MSc in Climate Change and Sustainable Development (with Distinction), De Montfort University, Leicester, UK
  • (1995) MEng (Hons) in Engineering Science, Oxford University, UK


International Society for Ecological Economics (ISEE)

Research Interests

  • Energy systems
  • Exergy analysis
  • Energy efficiency and rebound
  • Exergy economics
  • Low carbon energy transitions