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Alicia Leonard DPhil Student


Alycia Leonard

Postdoctoral Research Assistant


Dr Alycia Leonard is a postdoctoral researcher in the Engineering Science Department at the University of Oxford. She works on the Climate Compatible Growth research programme and is based in the Energy and Power Group.

Alycia completed her DPhil in Engineering Science at the University of Oxford as a Clarendon Scholar. Prior to this, she completed her BEng in Electrical Engineering at the Memorial University of Newfoundland under full scholarship.

At Oxford, Alycia's research investigates the design of sustainable and inclusive energy access systems which account for local community needs. Her work is multi-method and multi-disciplinary, combining data-driven spatial analysis and machine learning with nuanced consideration of policy context and stakeholder perspectives. It is informed by her experience working in power utilities, NGOs, and social enterprises in Canada and Ghana. She presently focuses on subnational energy systems planning as it relates to social and economic development in Kenya and Zambia. 

Alongside her research, Alycia is a Stipendiary Lecturer at Christ Church college. She has taught undergraduate students at the University of Oxford in circuit analysis, digital electronics, communication networks, computer vision, signal analysis, project management, and engineering ethics.



Research Interests

  • Geospatial design of energy access systems.
  • Economic, environmental, political, and cultural sustainability of energy services.
  • Application of machine learning in energy access design.
  • Energy policy for low-carbon electricity access provision.
  • Practical strategies to incorporate local values and needs in energy system design.
  • Sustainable rural electrification strategies.

Research Groups

Select Publications

For a full listing, please refer to Google Scholar and ORCID.

Leonard, A., Ahsan, A., Charbonnier, F., & Hirmer, S. (2022). The resource curse in renewable energy: A framework for risk assessment. Energy Strategy Reviews, 41, 100841.

Leonard, A., Wheeler, S., & McCulloch, M. (2022). Power to the people: Applying citizen science and computer vision to home mapping for rural energy access. International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation, 108, 102748.

Hirmer, S., Leonard, A., Tumwesige, J., & Conforti, C. (2021, April). Building representative corpora from illiterate communities: A reviewof challenges and mitigation strategies for developing countries. In Proceedings of the 16th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Main Volume (pp. 2176-2189).

Hirmer, S., Leonard, A., Conforti, S., & Conforti, C. (2022). Perceived value interviews and socio-economic survey data for communities in rural Uganda. Data in Brief, 40, 107734.

Hirmer, S. A., Mazzone, A., Leonard, A., & Conforti, C. (2022). The power of language: Exploring values, empowerment dynamics and communication strategies for gender-inclusive energy service design in rural Uganda. Energy Research & Social Science, 85, 102379.