Energy for Development Event
The UKCDS-USES Energy for Development workshop gathered over 80 delegates from academia, policy, business and funding organisations across sectors and disciplines to discuss the funding landscape and research challenges in energy for development.
In the morning, the Understanding Sustainable Energy Solutions (USES) projects focused on sharing learning around consideration of gender and other inequalities within research projects and building equitable North-South working relations (see attached presentations). Research partners highlighted the need for face-to-face meetings to build relationships and found them more efficient than online conversations, there were cultural and organisational differences requiring time and energy to overcome, and mentorship and specific project milestones are needed to ensure that joint peer-reviewed scientific papers were published. Mirjam Roeder said that ‘we now have much better understanding of rice and rice systems, how people live and work and this helps us to understand the problems better. This allows us now to take action to find solutions.’
In the afternoon, funders shared current and planned funding in research around energy for development. Alistair Wray shared the Department of International Development (DFID) focus on addressing the barriers to sustainable energy access for all and scaling up the use of clean energy. The new £65 million Transforming Energy Access (TEA) programme will include calls through the Energy Catalyst, whilst future pipeline programmes could focus on Frontier Technologies, Low Energy Inclusive Appliances and Mission Innovation activities with the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Kathryn Magnay and Mark Claydon-Smith (RCUK) discussed the cross-cutting themes in both the RCUK Energy Programme and the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) with the focus on nexus issues at the intersections between global challenge topics. Watch the videos and see the pdfs from the presentations attached.
Attendees then worked in mixed-discipline cross-sector groups to discuss and prioritise research challenges across sustainable energy for development, emphasising intersections with other Sustainable Development Goals. Topics that were raised included developing energy solutions for the urban poor and in humanitarian contexts, understanding energy practices and needs, developing business models at scale, reducing embodied energy and understanding the political economy of energy. The day finished with a visit to the nearby small-scale biogas facility at Camley St Natural Park, a beautiful wild space just behind Kings Cross-St Pancras (if you are ever nearby), and continued networking over drinks and dinner.
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