Photo of Alexandra Mallett

Alexandra Mallett

Sustainable energy and climate policy; emerging economies / developing countries; low carbon technology cooperation; innovation, science and technology policies

Phone:613-520-2600 x 2641
Office:5134 Richcraft Hall

Graduate Supervisor, MA in Sustainable Energy

Associate Professor

Hons. BA in International Relations (University of Toronto, Canada)
MA in International Development (Dalhousie University, Canada)
PhD in Development Studies (London School of Economics and Political Science, United Kingdom)

Dr. Mallett’s experience spans academia and the public sectors, working on the design, implementation and evaluation of energy, climate change and environmental policy.  She has worked for the Canadian government (Natural Resources Canada and Environment Canada), an intergovernmental organization (the Organization of American States in Washington, D.C.), and academic institutions including Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom and the University of Minnesota in the United States.  Research areas include an examination of the innovation, cooperation and adoption processes (including policies, actors and institutions) involved in sustainable energy technologies, especially in emerging economies, and Canada and the United States.   A further line of research focuses on contemporary shifts involved in the governance of natural resources, with a particular focus on mining.  Recent projects include systematic reviews assessing the effectiveness of climate policies and the potential for technological innovation to mediate policies aimed at environmental improvements, a media analysis regarding the framing of smart grids in Canada, and an examination of sustainable energy options in the Canadian Arctic.

I have worked on development, energy, and environmental issues for many years as a practitioner, policy maker and scholar. These various experiences include research within various geographic settings such as urban environments in Brazil and Mexico, India, and more recently the Canadian Arctic and Canada and the United States. This background has informed my thinking as major changes rapidly unfold involving new stressors, new players and new technologies. I am interested in these transitions; suggesting that an understanding of the processes involved in these shifts is critical in realizing potential outcomes. These changes warrant a re-think of how we organize our systems such as those around energy and natural resources and public policy plays an important role. Alternative ways of doing things and the need to reconsider conventional norms around essential concepts are required. For instance, could we move to more decentralized energy systems? Are actors turning to alternative governance schemes? What constitutes innovation? What encapsulates technology and policy design, formulation, and implementation? Who innovates and what activities are captured? What are the public policy implications of these new dynamics?

In examining the above, I am interested in real world experiences regarding these transitions (e.g. the design and implementation of policies, community engagement, social acceptance) within varying contexts. I have mainly worked in the area of sustainable energy, and more recently in mining, examining the dynamic governance of natural resources.

Selected recent publications and funded research

Afful-Dadzie, Anthony, Alexandra Mallett and Eric Afful-Dadzie (2020) 126: 1-15 “The Challenge of Energy Transition in the Global South: The Case of Electricity Generation Planning in Ghana” Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews.

Hanson Pastran, Sasha* and Alexandra Mallett (2020) “Unearthing Power: A Decolonial Analysis of the Samarco Mine Disaster and the Brazilian Mining Industry” the Extractive Industries and Society,

Mallett, Alexandra and David Cherniak (2018) “Views from above: policy entrepreneurship and climate policy change on electricity in the Canadian Arctic.” 18, 1-14.

Mallett, Alexandra, (2018) “Beyond frontier technologies, money and expert knowledge: New parameters for innovation and energy systems change.” Energy Research and Social Science 39, 122-129.

Mallett, Alexandra, Jennie C. Stephens, Elizabeth Wilson, Ryan Reiber, Ria  Langheim and Tarla R. Peterson (2018) “Electric Connections: News Coverage of Smart Grid in the U.S. and Canada,  Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Special Issue on Smart Grids in North America, Volume 82 Part 2,1913-1921.

Mallett, Alexandra, Xavier D. Philion, Ryan Reiber, Daniel Rosenbloom, and Maya Jegen, (2018) “Smart grids framing through smart meter coverage in the Canadian media: technologies coupled with experiences.” Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Special Issue on Smart Grids in North America, Volume 82, Part 2, 1952-1960.

Peters, Derek, Jonn Axsen, and Alexandra Mallett (2018) “Socio-political acceptance of smart grid as a tool to mitigate climate change in British Columbia.” Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Special Issue on Smart Grids in North America, Volume 82, Part 2,1939-1951.

Mallett, Alexandra (2016) “Trade and Industry Policy as Levers for Sustainable Energy Technology Adoption? Experiences from Urban Latin America.” Review of Policy Research, 3 (4), 348-375 

Mallett, Alexandra (2015) “International Technology Collaboration and Low Carbon Innovation: Recasting ‘Truisms’ with insights from emerging economies”, Innovation and Development, Vol 5, Issue 2, pages 297-311.

Auld, Graeme, Alexandra Mallett, Bozica Burlica, Francis Nolan-Poupart, Robert Slater, (2014) “Evaluating the effects of policy innovations: Lessons from a systematic review of policies promoting low-carbon technology” Global Environmental Change, Volume 29, pages 444-458.

Mallett, Alexandra (2013) “Technology Cooperation for Sustainable Energy– a review of pathways”, Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews on Energy and the Environment (WIREs), Vol. 2, Issue 2. March / April 2013, pages 234-50.

Edited Books

Les Pal, Graeme Auld and Alexandra Mallett (2020). Beyond Policy Analysis (BPA) 6th edition, Nelson Canada, Toronto, ON

Alexandra Mallett (2020), Renewable Energy Uptake in Urban Latin America: Sustainable Technology in Mexico and Brazil, Routledge Explorations in Energy Studies (REENS) book series.

David Ockwell and Alexandra Mallett (eds). (2012). Low carbon technology transfer: from rhetoric to Reality. Routledge: Abingdon, UK.

Book Chapters

Pierre-Olivier Bedard and Alexandra Mallett (2019) “The Demand for Evidence in the Canadian Civil Service”, Laval University Series on Democracy and Accountability. Quebec City, QC, Canada, Laval University Press (in French).

Commissioned Research Reports

Cherniak, David, Vincent Dufresne, Lawrence Keyte, Alexandra Mallett and Stephan Schott, “State of Alternative Energy in the Arctic”, report for Polar Knowledge Canada (PKC), September 2015.

Research Awards (CDN dollars / in-kind support)

Future Energy Shift, (2019-2021)
New Frontiers of Research – Exploration Fund
Principal Investigator (PI), Zachary Colbert, co-PI Jean Duquette, co-applicant Alex Mallett 

Governing Energy System Change in the Canadian Arctic: Alternative Sources of Innovation in Communities? (2018-2021)
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Insight Development Grant
Principal Investigator (PI) Alex Mallett and collaborator Stephanie Irlbacher-Fox

Assessing the Political Economy of Brazil’s Mining Sector, 2015
component of Governing Natural Resources in a Global Era
PI Graeme Auld, see below
MITACS Globalink Program

State of Alternative Energy in the Arctic, 2014-2015
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC)
Principal Investigators (PIs) Alex Mallett and Stephan Schott

Governing Natural Resources in a Global Era: Actors, Practices and Outcomes, 2013-2018
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Insight Grant
PI Graeme Auld, co-applicant with Lisa Mills, Hevina Dashwood and Robert Slater

Unlocking the Potential of Smart Grids, 2012-2015
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Partnership Grant
PIs James Meadowcroft and Ian Rowlands, co applicant with Mark Winfield, Maya Jegen, Jonn Axsen, Geoff Lewis and Paul Parker

Cost, Problem Impacts and Accountability Implications of Environmental Policy, 2010-2012
Network for Business Sustainability (NBS)
With Graeme Auld and Bob Slater

Recent teaching

PADM 5121: Policy Analysis: the Practical Art of Change

PADM 5611 Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Policies

SERG 5001 Sustainable Energy Policy for Engineers

SERG 5000 Cross Disciplinary Seminar on Sustainable Energy

PADM 5116 Policy Analysis and Contemporary Governance

PAPM 2000 the Policy Cycle

Theses supervised (PhD)

On socio-technical transitions in Canadian energy systems, 2015-Present
(committee member, lead supervisor James Meadowcroft)

“Sustainability systems in Gulf States” 2013-Present
(committee member, lead supervisor Stephan Schott)

Brendan Haley, Doctoral dissertation, 2011-2015
“Hydroelectricity and Canadian Low-Carbon Transitions”
(committee member with Glen Toner; lead supervisor James Meadowcroft)

James Gaede, Doctoral dissertation, 2012-2014
“Technologies of Control: the Politics of the Future for Sustainable Energy”
(committee member with Graeme Auld, lead supervisor James Meadowcroft)

Theses supervised (Master’s)      

Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks: overcoming policy barriers for microgrids in Ontario, 2017

On Canadian firm involvement in the mining sector in Mexico, 2015-2016
(co-supervisor with Laura MacDonald, Institute of Political Economy)

Socio-political acceptance of smart grids in British Columbia, 2013-2015
(committee member, lead supervisor Jonn Axsen, Simon Fraser University)

Major Research Project (MRP)

Cooperatives and Renewable Energy – potential lessons learned from Alaska for Nunavut, 2017-present
(co-supervisor with advisor James Meadowdroft)

Unearthing Power: a decolonial analysis of Brazil’s mining sector, 2016

Municipalities: a potential avenue in addressing climate change? 2015-2016
(co-supervisor with Christopher Stoney)

On on-line versus conventional educational credentials and employment, 2014-2015

On Land use planning and Aboriginals and Renewable Energy, 2014

On Canada’s Trade with China, 2013-2014

“Raw Power: Evaluating the Current Status and Future Opportunities for Sustainability within the Raw Sugar Sector in Rural Colombia” 2011-2012

On new technologies and citizen-government engagement, 2012
(secondary supervisor, lead Christopher Stoney)

Directed Study (Master’s level)

Tipping the Scales of Canola Control: An analysis of intellectual property rights for agricultural biotechnology in Canada’s canola sector, 2016

From Cradle to Grave: The Life and Death of the EcoENERGY Retrofit – Homes Program, 2014

The Effects of Energy Supply Contraction on Canadian Cities, 2014

Falling Through the Cracks: Development, mining companies, and conflicting accountabilities, 2014

Greening the Aviation Sector in Canada: Policy recommendations, 2013

Barriers to sustainable energy solutions in South Africa, 2012

Recent awards and distinctions

Canadian Science Policy Fellowship, MITACS 2016-2017 (to work on clean technology and innovation at Natural Resources Canada)

Excellence in Teaching Award SPPA Student Society, 2016

Green Gown Award for Best Environmental Research, United Kingdom, 2009