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Sophie Kempston

Sophie Kempston

Contact details

Email: S dot Kempston at warwick dot ac dot uk

Room: R2.17, Ramphal Building

Current PhD student


I am a third-year PhD student in Global Sustainable Development, researching the sustainability impacts of the UK's demand for critical raw materials as a result of increased electric vehicle battery demand. I am supervised by Dr Stuart ColesLink opens in a new window and Professor Kerry KirwanLink opens in a new window from WMG, and Dr Frederik DahlmannLink opens in a new window from Warwick Business School. I am kindly funded by the Leverhulme Trust Link opens in a new windowthrough the TRANSFORM Doctoral ProgrammeLink opens in a new window.

My project focuses on three main problems:

  1. What does raw material demand for electric vehicle batteries in the UK look like up to 2050?
  2. What are the potential sustainability impacts of this demand?
  3. How can we measure those impacts?

My wider research interests include: sustainable supply chains, circular economy, holistic sustainability frameworks, and how we can measure sustainability. I am also interested in sustainability education and its accessibility both within and outside of the university context.


Conference presentations and posters

  • Faraday ECR Conference and Training Event 2024 (26-27 Mar 2024), The Faraday Institution.
    Presentation: "What does a "sustainable" battery supply chain look like for UK electric vehicles? Co-creating a framework with stakeholders, from mining through to end of life."
  • Driving Towards Sustainable Electrification of the UK (11-13 Sep 2023), The Faraday Institution.
    Presentation: "What does a sustainable supply chain for lithium-ion batteries in the UK look like? Creating a framework to measure sustainability in the electric vehicle sector."
  • International Conference on Circular Economy in Transport (10-11 May 2023), Circular Economy Network+ in Transportation Systems.
    Poster: "Critical raw material demand from electric vehicle batteries in the UK cannot be met from secondary supply." Winner of Best Poster.
  • Sustainable Materials and Manufacturing Annual Conference 2023 (14 Mar 2023), ESPRC CDT in Sustainable Materials and Manufacturing.
    Presentation: "IGNITE presentation: Exploring different electric vehicle and battery scenarios on critical raw material demand in the UK".
  • IRTC 2023 - Raw Materials for a Sustainable Future (15-17 Feb 2023), International Roundtable on Criticality.
    Presentation: "Exploring different electric vehicle and battery scenarios on critical raw material demand in the UK".
  • DSA Conference 2022 - Just Sustainable Futures in an Urbanising and Mobile World (4 Jul 2022), Development Studies Association.
    Presentation: "Measuring the impacts of the UK’s raw material demand due to increased EV battery demand: Key challenges in methodology". PhD masterclass workshop.





Funding and awards

My PhD is supported by a four-year TRANSFORM Doctoral Scholarship, funded by the Leverhulme Trust.



Academic background

  • PhD Global Sustainable Development, Department of Global Sustainable Development (2021-present)
  • MSc Humanitarian Engineering (with Sustainability), Department of Engineering and the Institute of Advanced Teaching and Learning (2019-2020)
  • BSc Mathematics and Statistics, Department of Statistics (2016-2019)

Committee memberships and non-academic roles


  • Institute for Global Sustainable Development (IGSD) Thematic Fellow
  • Associate Fellow of Advance HE


  • GSD Postgraduate Student-Staff Liaison Committee - Equity Representative
  • SCFS Equity Committee - Postgraduate Student Representative.