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Leon Francis Hirt

College positions:
Affiliated Postdoctoral Researcher
Department of Geography
Contact details:

Dr Leon Francis Hirt

Dr Leon Hirt is a visiting scholar in the Department of Geography and is supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation.

He is currently working on a project entitled, “Imagining negative emission technologies: looking to the past and present to contemplate futures”, which seeks to illuminate how scientists imagine negative emission technologies in the context of human-induced climate change and in relation to climate mitigation and adaptation measures. He is collaborating with Professor Mike Hulme.

Leon received his PhD in Environment and Sustainable Development from the University of Geneva in 2023. His doctoral research focused on uncovering socio-technical transition dynamics around solar photovoltaic (PV) in Switzerland and provided insights into short-term and practical actions to accelerate the uptake of PV as well as indications of long-term socio-political transformations spurred by this technology.

Prior to his doctoral studies, Leon earned a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), a Master of Science in Environment and Climate Change from the University of Liverpool, and a Master of Arts in Foundations and Practices of Sustainability from the University of Lausanne.

Select publications

  • Hirt, L. F. (2024). Technocratic, techno-economic, and reactive: How media and parliamentary discourses on solar PV in Switzerland have formed over five decades and are shaping the future. Energy Research & Social Science, 108, 103378.
  • Hirt L. F., De Pryck K. (2023) Diversifying knowledge for climate change mitigation: Illuminating the common good and desirable futures. PLOS Clim, 2(12), e0000321.
  • Hirt L. F., Sahakian M., & Trutnevyte E. (2022). What subnational imaginaries for solar PV? The case of the Swiss energy transition. Technology in Society, 71, 102068.
  • Keller M., Sahakian M., & Hirt L. F. (2022). Connecting the multi-level-perspective and social practice approach for sustainable transitions. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions, 44, 14–28.
  • Hirt L. F., Sahakian M., & Trutnevyte E. (2021). What socio-technical regimes foster solar energy champions? Analysing uneven photovoltaic diffusion at a subnational level in Switzerland. Energy Research and Social Science, 74, 101976.
  • Hirt L. F., Schell G., Sahakian M., & Trutnevyte E. (2020). A review of linking models and socio-technical transitions theories for energy and climate solutions. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions, 35, 162–179.
  • Trutnevyte E., Hirt L. F., Bauer N., Cherp A., Hawkes A., Edelenbosch O. Y., Pedde S., & van Vuuren D. P. (2019). Societal Transformations in Models for Energy and Climate Policy: The Ambitious Next Step. One Earth, 1(4), 423–433.
  • Schmid B., Serlavós M., & Hirt L. F. (2022). Community energy initiatives as a space for emerging imaginaries? Experiences from Switzerland. In Energy Communities: Customer-Centered, Market Driven, Welfare-Enhancing? (pp. 167–181). Elsevier.

Select awards

  • 2024: Postdoc.Mobility Grant from the Swiss National Science Foundation
  • 2017: Faculty of Geosciences and Environment Prize for Master’s thesis, University of Lausanne