Professor Sonja Dragojlovic-Oliveira



Personal statement

Sonja is Professor in Architecture and Sustainability Design Innovation with over 20 years innovation and research experience in the sustainability and design sector. She has worked as an associate architect, senior manager and principal investigator in delivery of complex multidisciplinary research, innovation and design projects ranging in value from £200k-£29mil in the UK and internationally. She founded the Radical Architecture Practice for Sustainability network ( in partnership with leading design practitioners and researchers in Sweden, the Netherlands, Portugal, Austria, Serbia and France. She has been appointed as a Thought Leadership Specialist Advisor to the Design Council and is a board member of the World Green Building Council (Serbia), as well as scientific and industry advisory member of numerous scientific committees including ARENA and the New European Bauhaus Collective. Her research, design and teaching practice are fostered through building strong industry and academic links across disciplines within the built environment as well as in computer science, psychology, environmental science and sociology. Her recent work carried out for accelerating socially responsible design capability and capacity for housing delivery has been selected for the House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee’s report, Off-site manufacture for construction: Building for change and presented as invited keynote at the Westminster Social Forum in Dec 2020. Sonja has worked with UK and EU government institutions, EU business consultancy, international design firms, UK innovation hubs, research institutions and recently housing associations to examine complex cross-disciplinary problems that emerge in the designed environment. Trained in architecture and construction management and engineering, Sonja takes a novel approach to developing new insights into complex climate change phenomena in the designed environment.

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Beyond energy services : a multidimensional and cross-disciplinary agenda for Home Energy Management research
Oliveira Sonja, Badarnah Lidia, Barakat Merate, Chatzimichali Anna, Atkins Ed
Energy Research and Social Science (2021)
Energy Modelling in Architecture : A Practice Guide
Oliveira Sonja, Gething Bill, Marco Elena
A socially intelligent approach to consumers’ collective capabilities in smart grids
Bagheri-Moghaddam Faezeh, Oliveira Sonja, Atkins Ed, Chatzimichali Anna
2023 IEEE International Conference on Communications, Control, and Computing Technologies for Smart Grids (SmartGridComm) 14th IEEE International Conference on Communications, Control, and Computing Technologies for Smart Grids 2023 IEEE International Conference on Smart Grid Communications (SmartGridComm) (2023)
From individuals to collectives in energy systems — a social practice, identity and rhythm inspired lens
Oliveira Sonja, Chatzimichali Anna, Atkins Ed, Badarnah Lidia, Bagheri Moghaddam Faezeh
Energy Research and Social Science Vol 105 (2023)
Inspiration from animal’s collective behavior for home energy demand management.
Badarnah Lidia, Barakat Merate, Oliveira Sonja
Journal of Physics: Conference Series Vol 2600 (2023)
Social identity and relations : implications for home energy demand and the peak load reduction in the UK
Dragojlovic-Oliveira Sonja, Chatzimichali Anna, Bagheri Moghaddam Faezeh, Atkins Ed, Badarnah Lidia
BIEE Research Conference 2023 (2023)

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Research Interests

Currently, Sonja is leading delivery of multiple research and innovation projects (value in 2021 in excess of £1.2mil) aiming to transform interrelated energy governance systems to account for complex multi-phenomenon and multi-scale interconnected encounters between humans, nonhumans, spatial, socio-technological and environmental dimensions of everyday life. As PI on the £586,000 EPSRC project GLOW [EP/V041770/1], she is in collaboration with multiple research and industry partners, looking to develop new communication protocols to manage home energy demand drawing on bee colony and home socio spatial energy behaviour data across three low energy housing communities. She was Co-I on the £772,178 EPSRC project RESIDE [ EP/R008434/1] (with Oxford Brookes) and was lead investigator on the energy evaluation work for the REPLICATE project ( She is also developing a new multimodal visual lexicon for radical architecture practice to better communicate collective needs across diverse multispecies environments. Below is a selection of projects delivered or ongoing since last 5 years:

  • 09/2021 (£586K) EPSRC GLOW-Energy nested bio system flows- from the home to the hub (PI) - Multidisciplinary collaboration with leading international experts in smart energy governance regimes including Energy Systems Catapult
  • 02/2021 (£310K) Department for Education ‘Achieving zero carbon’ bootcamp cpd course for industry (Co-Lead) collaboration with UWE EDM
  • 03/2019 (22K) VC Challenge Fund Automating environmental performance analysis in modular housing (PI) Collaboration with UWE FBL
  • 08/2019 (20K) G4G Energy stories from the campus in collaboration with BAM and Hydrock (Co-Lead) Collaboration with UWE FBL
  • 06/2019 (10K) G4G Perceptions of comfort in MMC housingZedpods study (PI) Collaboration with BCC, YMCA, BHF
  • 03/2018 (EUR 29mil) EU H2020 project Renaissance of Places with Innovative Citizenship and Technology (REPLICATE) Co-leading Housing energy intervention Evaluation Programme in Bristol (Lead)
  • 02/2018-(7K) North Somerset Council NSC Design Guidance and Sustainability Evaluation Consultancy (Lead)
  • 12/2017-(3K) SHAPE Energy Research Challenge Award (with Wroclaw University of Science and Technology) (PI) Invited Contribution in advisory capacity to European Research Challenges in Energy Policy Agenda
  • 10/2018- (£773K) EPSRC RESIDE ‘Residential building energy demand reduction in India’ (Co-I); leading and developing 2 work packages that will provide theoretical underpinning to data analysis and dissemination
  • 03/2017- (£46K) Flagship fund ‘MMC delivery in social housing’ (PI); leading data bid writing as well as research design, data collection, analysis, liaising with client and disseminating- most recently in AJ Offsite construction’ issue 5thOct 2017
  • 09/2017- (£3.5K) Scott Brownrigg sustainability and environmental management consultancy (PI)
  • 01/2017 (£22K) BEIS, International evidence heating controls (PI)
  • 07/2016-09/2017 (£15K) HEA Developing Digital Feedback tools (CoLead













Professional Activities

Socially Intelligent Home Energy Networks - views from Glasgow residents
GLOW - Hive Launch Workshop
Royal Institute of British Architects RIBA (External organisation)

More professional activities


Design HOPES (Healthy Organisations in a Place-based Ecosystem, Scotland)
Rodgers, Paul (Principal Investigator) Dragojlovic-Oliveira, Sonja (Co-investigator) Galloway, Stuart (Co-investigator) Inns, Tom (Co-investigator) Tapinos, Efstathios (Co-investigator) Wodehouse, Andrew (Co-investigator) Wright, George (Co-investigator)
Climate change is the biggest global health threat of the 21st century. The more we ignore the climate emergency the bigger the impact will be on health and the need for care with poor environmental health contributing to major diseases, including cardiac problems, asthma and cancer. Many of the actions to mitigate and adapt to climate change and improve environmental sustainability also have positive health benefits; the Lancet Commission has described tackling climate change as "the greatest global health opportunity of the 21st century". The challenges faced present an incredible opportunity to do things differently - to take a design-led approach in designing and making through high-reward demonstrator projects to help transform the health ecosystem. Through wider public engagement we aim to advance societal understanding of design's impact, and the opportunities, barriers, behaviour changes and tools needed to transition to a green approach. This research will unite a wide range of disciplines, research organisations, regional and local industry, and other public sector stakeholders, with policy-makers. The Design HOPES Green Transition Ecosystem (GTE) Hub will sustain a phased long-term investment to embed design-led innovation, circularity, sustainability and impact for the changing market, across product, service, strategy, policy and social drivers to evolve future design outcomes that matter to the people and planet. Our research is organised around seven core Thematic Workstreams, based on the NHS Scotland Climate Emergency and Sustainability Strategy (2022-2026). Design HOPES will be delivered and managed by interdisciplinary teams with significant expertise in design and making, co-creation, health and social care, with professionals with a sustainability remit, and businesses working in the design economy. Design HOPES encompasses a rich disciplinary mix of knowledge, skills, and expertise from a range of design disciplines (i.e., product, textile, interaction, games, architecture etc.) and other disciplines (computer science, health and wellbeing, geography, engineering, etc.) that will be focused on people and planet (including all living things), from the micro to macro, from root cause to hopeful vision, from the present to the future, and from the personal to the wider system. Design HOPES will design and make things and test them to see how they work, which will help more ideas and things emerge. The Hub will be an inclusive, safe, collaborative space that will bring in multiple and marginalised perspectives and view its projects as one part of a wider movement for transformational change whilst not overlooking existing assets and how we can re-use, nurture and develop these sustainably. Design HOPES aims to be an internationally recognised centre of excellence, promoting and embedding best practice through our collaborative design-led thinking and making approaches to build a more equitable and sustainable health and social care system. We will create new opportunities to support both existing services and new design-led health innovations in collaboration with NHS Boards across Scotland, the Scottish Government, patient and public representatives, health and social care partners, the third sector, academia and industry. Our seven Thematic Workstreams and associated projects will deliver a rich mix of tangible outcomes such as new innovative products, services, and policies (e.g., sustainable theatre consumables, packaging, clothing, waste services, etc.) during the funded period. With award-winning commercialisation and entrepreneurial support from the collaborating universities, we will also look to create new "green' enterprises and businesses. We will achieve this internationally recognised centre of excellence using design-led thinking and making to build a more equitable and sustainable health and social care system.
01-Jan-2023 - 30-Jan-2025
Carbon Artifacts: a socio-material approach to low and net zero carbon building design from concept to handover (transfer)
Dragojlovic-Oliveira, Sonja (Principal Investigator)
17-Jan-2022 - 16-Jan-2024
Dragojlovic-Oliveira, Sonja (Principal Investigator) Chatzimichali, Anna (Co-investigator) Atkins, Ed (Co-investigator) Badarnah, Lidia (Co-investigator) Barakat, Merate (Co-investigator) Perez Hernandez, Marco (Academic) Bagheri Moghaddam, Faezeh (Researcher)
The GLOW project is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and will create a new socially smart computational system to equitably and dynamically communicate household energy demand at a neighbourhood scale. Drawing on new insights from Glasgow and Bristol residents’ approaches to managing energy in their homes as well as their perceptions of what this means in their neighbourhoods, a new multidimensional evidence base on the social and spatial characteristics of energy demand behaviour will be developed. The computational system will be shaped by this first of a kind of evidence base as well as theoretical insights from Social Practice and Social Identity Theory to biomimetic approaches in the study of other species’ communication mechanisms such as bees that have evolved an efficient way to communicate collective resource needs.

The project is led by Prof. Sonja Oliveira, Department of Architecture, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow in collaboration with academic partners, the University of Bath (Dr Chatzimichali), the University of the West of England (UWE) (Dr Barakat, Dr Badarnah), the University of Bristol (Dr Atkins) and non-academic partners. The project team will be working closely with Steering Group partners, including Energy Systems Catapult, Energy Super Hub Oxford, Kenza Engineering, Community Infrastructure Group, SNUG, Bristol Housing Festival, Stride Treglown as well as Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study, Purpose and Desire, Oxford Brookes University, Utah State University / Centre for Atmospheric and Space Sciences CASS and The University of Texas at Arlington.
GLOW-Energy nested bio system flows: from the home to the hub (Transfer)
Dragojlovic-Oliveira, Sonja (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2021 - 31-Jan-2024
Campus spaces and places - Impact on Student Outcomes
Dragojlovic-Oliveira, Sonja (Principal Investigator)
Systematic Literature review
01-Jan-2021 - 23-Jan-2021
Automating environmental performance analysis in modular housing
Dragojlovic-Oliveira, Sonja (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2020 - 01-Jan-2021

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Professor Sonja Dragojlovic-Oliveira

Tel: 548 4282