School of Chemical Engineering


My leading interests at present lie in understanding what enables and shapes a positive social change in energy related practices. Underpinning my current research is the drive to better understand the individual, household and social level interactions with respect to the energy choices that people make, with a specific focus on South and South East Asia.

I am an energy sector specialist and passionate researcher with a transdisciplinary skill set combining energy sector policy with business management, finance and the social sciences. My research and industry experience spans across both the private and public sectors, including various energy policy positions both locally and internationally. 

Research Project

Title:  Positive Deviance: Understanding the generative mechanisms for social change and the alleviation of energy poverty

Advisors: Professor Paul Lant; Associate Professor Elske van de Fliert; Professor Chris Greig; Dr Simon Smart

Brief Summary of project:

Drawing upon current theories of change and the concept of positive deviance, this research specifically aims to investigate the mechanisms – e.g. personal intention, shared commitments and/or structural explanations such as culture, geography or technology – that underpin individuals or groups that deviate from the social norm in relation to their energy practices.

Research Skills

  • Energy Access and Development
  • Energy Policy (International and Domestic)
  • Qualitative Research
  • Energy and Resource Economic modelling
  • System Dynamics, Agent-based Modelling
  • Climate Finance and Carbon Markets (International and Domestic)

Achievement Highlights

Australian Government Endeavour Fellow (2016-17), American Australian Association Fellow (2016), Elizabeth Usher Memorial Scholar (2015). 

Key Publications

Herington, M.J., van de Fliert, E. (2017). Positive Deviance in Theory and Practice: A Conceptual Review. Deviant Behavior.

Herington, M.J., van de Fliert, E., Smart, S., Greig, C. & Lant, P.A. (2017). Rural energy planning remains out-of-step with contemporary paradigms of energy access and development. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews.

Herington, M.J., Reddy, N.H., Rao, R.K. (2016). The Smokeless Village: Understanding energy transitions in rural Andhra Pradesh, India. World Development Perspectives.

Herington, M.J., & Malakar, Y. (2016). Who is energy poor? Revisiting energy (in)security in the case of Nepal. Energy Research & Social Science, 21, 49-53.

Herington, M.J., Malakar, Y., van de Fliert, E., Smart, S., Greig, C. & Lant, P.A. (2016). Exploring structure and agency in changing cook stove practices: Insights from the energy poor in rural India. DEMAND Centre Conference, 13-15 April 2016. Lancaster, U.K.

PhD Student

Room: 725

Building: Hub

p: +61 7 3346 1678