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University of Stirling student Shona Matthews awarded Keep Scotland Beautiful Dissertation Prize

Yesterday we were delighted to present Shona Matthews a student of University of Stirling an award for her dissertation Could lenders insulate Britain?: The potential of the annual mortgage statement as a trigger to motivate homeowners to make thermal efficiency home improvements.

Our dissertation award celebrates an MSc Behavioural Science dissertation best applying the principles of behavioural science to the goal of promoting sustainability and the environment. The research is shared with Keep Scotland Beautiful employees, and we were pleased to attend a prize-giving event in-person at the new Campus Central at the University of Stirling.

Given the challenge of meeting UK and global carbon reduction targets, there is a need to find innovative interventions that can deliver significant impact. Shona’s dissertation explores the potential of the annual mortgage statement as a trigger point for homeowners to seek support in planning thermal efficiency improvements within their homes. Her research concluded that the annual mortgage statement has potential as a low-cost starting point in breaking homeowner inertia to engage homeowners to act to improve thermal efficiency. The study provides an initial step towards better understanding the gaps in our knowledge regarding the innovative ways in which residential energy use can be reduced – helping the UK on its journey towards reducing carbon emissions at home and abroad.

To celebrate the achievement of Shona’s success, MSc Behavioural Science Program Director Professor David Comerford said, ‘Congratulations to Shona on this prestigious award and for her excellent research. We are grateful to Keep Scotland Beautiful for further incentivising our students to work on real-world, high-impact topics.’

On presenting Shona with her award, Policy and Research Officer at Keep Scotland Beautiful Dr Sophie Brett said, “At Keep Scotland Beautiful we are pleased to recognise innovative and novel research undertaken in behavioural science at University of Stirling through our dissertation award.

Shona’s study provided a fascinating insight into novel ways that energy leakage and emissions reductions could be tackled through the UK’s residential housing stock. I was delighted to present Shona with her award and wish her all the best in her future career’.

Keep Scotland Beautiful works to change behaviour in order to improve the quality of peoples’ lives, their wellbeing, and the places that they care for, and we do this through a range of activities, campaigns and programmes. We work with you to combat the climate and nature crises, to tackle litter and waste, and to protect and enhance the places we all care about.

09 February 2023

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