UCL Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy


STEaPP PhD student, Veronica Li, wins Dean’s Prize

11 April 2022

Veronica Li, a PhD student in UCL STEaPP, has been awarded a Dean’s Prize for her research on the use of social media as a tool to understand public perception of energy policies.

Veronica Li headshot

Veronica’s research addresses two main questions: are energy policies in the United Kingdom aligned with citizens’ needs, and how can social media be better used to achieve this alignment. Sustainability policies must meet key targets that are based on scientific advice, but at the same time, these policies must also balance a range of social issues in order for them to be positively received by the public.

Currently, 70% of the UK’s population aged 18 and above use social media. The prevalence of social media use provides an opportunity to gauge public opinion on energy policies and by evaluating relevant posts, assess whether they meet public needs. In her research, Veronica will identify and compare key themes and priorities in social media posts, scientific reports, and policy documents between 2015 to 2021 to measure how well existing policies balance science advice and social issues. The findings could inform the UK’s sustainability transition to ensure that it is inclusive and equitable while adhering to science advice.

Veronica said: “Thank you very much to the panel for selecting me for the Faculty of Engineering Dean's Prize. I am honoured to receive it as a sign of support for my research."

The Dean’s Prize is a competitive scholarship that supports outstanding overseas fee-paying research students by covering the cost of their fees. Awardees are selected by the Dean’s Prize panel and judged on the quality of their research proposal and previous academic achievement.