The LCEDN USES Programme Network

Lead Research Organisation: Loughborough University
Department Name: Geography

Abstract

In the summer of 2012 RCUK, DFID and DECC launched a major research programme (Energy and International Development: Understanding Sustainable Energy Solutions (USES) in Developing Countries Programme) designed to improve our understanding of sustainable energy solutions within developing countries (see RCUK/DFID/DECC, 2012). This USES programme represents a significant research investment within an area that is clearly of increasing importance to the UK government (low carbon energy is a major area of funding of the £2.9 billion International Climate Fund and energy represents a growing component of DFID aid and research funding) but also one that had been identified by RCUK in 2010 as an area of major interest but limited capacity (RCUK, 2010).

The programme has set itself a series of ambitious objectives. These include: having demonstrable impacts on the lives of the urban and rural poor; improving the evidence base concerning the impacts of low carbon energy transitions on wider aspects of poverty alleviation and development (particularly the cultural and political barriers to access); and developing meaningful collaborations between UK academics and colleagues in Southern institutions, and between those academic communities and the wider community of policymakers, practitioners, businesses and users.

While each of the projects funded under the programme has been designed with these programme goals in mind, the success of the programme as a whole in achieving the ambitious goals which it set itself would be greatly facilitated by close cooperation and mutual learning amongst the researchers involved. As such, this proposal seeks to establish a research network (the LCEDN USES Programme Network) that will develop a series of integrative activities that can assist the USES programme in achieving its objectives by establishing a strong forum where the researchers involved in these projects can support and learn from each other. Thus, one of the key intentionsof the proposed network will be to integrate the teams working on the 12 funded USES projects. Activities will be designed to address key challenges likely to be common to the projects, both in terms of the conducting of the research itself and in relation to ensuring impact and enhancing capacity building activities. The network will also facilitate the drawing of comparative lessons from across the projects and cross-programme monitoring and evaluation. The Network will also provide significant opportunities to enhance the reach of the impact and dissemination activities of the individual USES projects and to network the projects into the broader national and international communities working on these issues. It will make full use of the existing resources, activities and networks of the UK Low Carbon Energy for Development Network (LCEDN) in ensuring the widest possible research uptake and securing the highest levels of impact for the work conducted via the USES programme research. The LCEDN USES Programme Network will also work to ensure that the UK government's funding of the USES programme contributes towards somewhat wider goals such as raising the profile of UK energy and international development-focused research in the UK (and overseas) and encouraging more UK researchers in the energy sector to think through the international development implications of their work. Finally the network will also play a role in coordinating annual reporting and representation of the 12 USES projects to the programme funders.

Planned Impact

The LCEDN USES Programme Network has been designed specifically to enhance the impact of the research funded through the RCUK/DFID/DECC Energy and International Development: Understanding Sustainable Energy Solutions (USES) in Developing Countries Programme.

Through an innovative programme of face-to-face and electronic interactions and coordinated dissemination activities, the network will integrate the community of researchers (UK and international) involved within the 12 projects that have been funded via the USES programme and their commercial, public and NGO partners. The intention is to strengthen the capacity of each of the projects to deliver real impacts in improving the lives of the urban and rural poor within the countries where the projects are being developed. At the same time, the networking and integration of the projects and the adoption of a shared approach towards project monitoring, evaluation and dissemination will also enhance the ability of the USES programme as a whole to meet its wider objectives of improving the evidence base concerning the impacts of low carbon energy transitions on wider aspects of poverty alleviation and development and developing meaningful collaborations between UK academics and colleagues in Southern institutions, and between those academic communities and the wider community of policymakers, practitioners, businesses and users. This will enhance the effectiveness of the USES programme funders (RCUK, DFID and DECC) expenditure, with clear value for money implications for the UK tax payer.

Beyond the specific impact of the network upon the quality of the research conducted by the 12 USES projects in the locations where they are developed, the network will also deliver real benefits to a range of other stakeholders working within the broader arena of low carbon energy and international development issues. The network will, for example, provide enhanced access to improved understandings of some of the major contextual factors affecting the success of individual projects/investments which will be invaluable for commercial organizations, international and national policymakers and practitioners working in this area. In turn, the network will promote interactions with a range of other UK and international academic communities working in low carbon energy, international development and related fields who will gain from the sharing of experiences regarding the trans-disciplinary collaboration and cross-cultural research involved in the individual projects, as well as the enhancements to the evidence base concerning the impacts of low carbon energy transitions on wider aspects of poverty alleviation and development.

Publications

10 25 50

publication icon
Brown E (2017) eCook: What behavioural challenges await this potentially transformative concept? in Sustainable Energy Technologies and Assessments

publication icon
Brown E (2017) Energy and Development: The Political Economy of Energy Choices in Progress in Development Studies

 
Description Before 2012 the UK community working on energy and international development issues was fragmented and not particularly well integrated into the wider networks of stakeholders working in the sector. The USES Programme Network has greatly facilitated the development of a more integrated community of scholars working in this area and enhanced their integration both across the research teams and beyond. Activities funded through the USES Network have allowed us to address a series of inter-connected issues that have arisen across the 13 projects funded through the programme, as well as a platform for shared dissemination and impact enhancement.
Issues addressed have incorporated:
- Management of complex multi-partner international projects.
- Fair Contracting
- Transdisciplinary working practices
- Stakeholder mapping, impact planning and engagement strategies
- Enhancing working practices across North-South research teams
- broader consultation with the UK research community over forthcoming research initiatives.
Exploitation Route Our engagement with DFID is providing a series of lessons which will be taken forward in future DFID research programmes (we have already been contracted to play a similar role at a much larger scale for the new £65 million Transforming Energy Access programme.
More broadly the joint USES activities have helped to enhance the impact of the 13 individual projects and encourage cross-project joint working and sharing of resources/information as well as joint publishing.
Sectors Energy,Government, Democracy and Justice

URL http://www.lcedn.com/uses
 
Description We have received enhanced funding from DFID to continue and deepen our work across the 13 funded projects up to the programme end in 2018. They have reflected on the contribution of the USES network within their annual reviews of the programme as a whole. DFID's 2016 review of the programme sugegsted that the USES Network "has proved invaluable in consolidating progress reporting on the projects, following up on various issues during the year and promoting best practices and dissemination of the research." The 2017 report suggests that "one of the encouraging features of the programme is keeping projects which have formally concluded involved in the integrative activities led by the USES Network, and consolidating output reporting. This provides scope for continued monitoring, builds momentum for follow-up activities, and joint dissemination." The USES network has also been used to help develop ideas for future DFID research interventions. We facilitated consultations on the nature of future major energy and development research interventions and have recently been contracted by DFID to play a role in the new £65 million Transforming Energy Access Programme.
First Year Of Impact 2015
Sector Energy
Impact Types Societal,Economic,Policy & public services

 
Description DFID USES Network Extension
Amount £250,000 (GBP)
Organisation Government of the UK 
Department Department for International Development (DfID)
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2015 
End 03/2018
 
Description Partnerships for Skills Development: An LCEDN Programme of Support for DFID's Transforming Energy Access Initiative
Amount £1,300,000 (GBP)
Organisation Government of the UK 
Department Department for International Development (DfID)
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 12/2016 
End 06/2017
 
Description Bioenergy SUPERGEN Joint workshop organization 
Organisation University of Manchester
Department SUPERGEN Bioenergy Hub
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Discussions initiated at a USES Network event led to the PI and colleagues from a couple of the projects identifying the potential of running an event dedicated specifically to bringing together the bioenergy and international development research communities and non-academic stakeholders interested in this field. The PI, CI and Network Manager are all involved in the organization of the event planned for January 2015.
Collaborator Contribution The bionergy supergen hub are jointly involved in the intellectual development and organization of the event and are dedicating resources to publicity and travel expenses etc. UKCDS are also involved in the intellectual developmemnt and organziation of the event and are dedicating resources to meeting catewring and organizational costs.
Impact Multi-disciplinary - biology, engineering, geography, anthropology Collaboration with DFID is planned for the event in seeking inputs into the design of a new research strategy around bioenergy
Start Year 2014
 
Description Bioenergy SUPERGEN Joint workshop organization 
Organisation Wellcome Trust
Department UK Collaborative on Development Sciences (UKCDS)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Discussions initiated at a USES Network event led to the PI and colleagues from a couple of the projects identifying the potential of running an event dedicated specifically to bringing together the bioenergy and international development research communities and non-academic stakeholders interested in this field. The PI, CI and Network Manager are all involved in the organization of the event planned for January 2015.
Collaborator Contribution The bionergy supergen hub are jointly involved in the intellectual development and organization of the event and are dedicating resources to publicity and travel expenses etc. UKCDS are also involved in the intellectual developmemnt and organziation of the event and are dedicating resources to meeting catewring and organizational costs.
Impact Multi-disciplinary - biology, engineering, geography, anthropology Collaboration with DFID is planned for the event in seeking inputs into the design of a new research strategy around bioenergy
Start Year 2014
 
Description Smart Villages Webinars 
Organisation CMEDT Smart Villages Initiative
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution In March 2016 we are initiating a monthly webinar with Smart Villages. The first of these has already attracted 200 people to register. This will be an excellent vehicle for promoting research results across the USES programme
Collaborator Contribution Smart Villages have purchased the annual subscription to gotowebinar and have done a lot of the administration for setting up the webinars
Impact The visibility of USES network activity has already substantially been enhanced through the setting up of this initiative
Start Year 2016
 
Description 2016 RGS Session: The Water Energy Food Nexus 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact This was a major session at the Royal Geographical Society Conference which included a range of presentations from USES projects and others.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description 2016 USES Annual Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact This was our annual workshop bringing together all 13 USES teams,
The internal morning session incorporated discussions around Energy and Gender, Impact and Dissemination and North-South working relations and capacity building
This year we connected thew workshop to a major open session in the afternoon on the current state of the energy and development research field with high levels of participation from RCUK, DFID, BEIS, Innovate UK and others as well as a wider range of academics. This event was aimed at academic, NGO and business leaders with experience and/or interest in clean energy research in relation to global development with the focus on sharing current and future funding plans and discussing research gaps and opportunities.
With the access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all one of the Global Goals it provided an excellent opportunity to:

Hear about recent clean energy for development research projects
Learn about new development research funding streams
Discuss the research gaps and opportunities in clean energy
Build networks and connections
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description 4th LCEDN Conference Durham 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact We held a special USES section at the 4th LCEDN conference held in Durham during March 2015 during which we presented updates on both the READ and SONG projects as well as encouraging discussion across the project teams as well. There were a wide range of participants drawn from an array of academic disciplines as well as representatives from DFID, international partners and the Private sector.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://lcedn.com/community/conference-series/community-conference-series-lcedn-4th-conference/
 
Description Academy of Social Sciences Evidence-led Policy Event (January 2017) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Ed Brown spoke on the experiences of USES projects during a session on INTERNATIONAL AND MULTI-DISCIPLINARY PERSPECTIVES
ON EVIDENCE-BASED POLICY organised by the Academy of Social Sciences.

This half-day seminar was the first in a new ASS series on evidence-based policy which take the form of 'conversations' between researchers and policy advisers/users,
followed by group discussions. The seminar served as a forum at which participants from different national and disciplinary perspectives could discuss and develop ideas for
projects and articles in themed issues of journals.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.lse.ac.uk/internationalRelations/centresandunits/CIS/documents/IAG-Seminar-One.pdf
 
Description Africa EU Energy Partnership: First EU-Africa Research Symposium March 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact This was the first step in the development of a major new research initiative. Dr Brown, the PI of the USES Network, was an invited keynote speaker and talked about he challenges of building transdisciplinary research collaborations using the USES Network as a case study.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.euei-pdf.org/en/recp/action-area-4-innovation-and-skills-development/africa-eu-symposium-...
 
Description Annual Association of American Geographers Session 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Members of the READ project team organised and ran a session at the 2015 AAG reflecting on the relationship between political decentralisation and decentralsised energy drawing on the lessons learned from the READ project. The session attracted a wide range of presentations reflecting on the issues in a variety of locations, and brought together a number of the other USES projects.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL https://www.facebook.com/AAGeesg/posts/528764213920878
 
Description EU-Africa Energy Partnership Second Stakeholder Forum (May 2016) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact The PI, Dr Ed Brown, addressed an expert panel on the expepriences of the USES programme at the Second Stakeholder Forum of the Africa-EU Energy Partnership (AEEP) which took place from 16-17 May 2016 at the Politecnico di Milano (POLIMI) in Milan, Italy. Held every three years as a high-level event, the Stakeholder Forum is one of the strategic dialogue events organized by the AEEP. The Milan Forum was jointly organized by the AEEP, the Italian Government, the African Union Commission (AUC) and the European Commission, and focused on how to advance renewable energy innovation, capacity building and investment, under the overall theme 'Business and Science: Leading the Way to Sustainable Energy.'
The Forum brought together more than 500 participants, including African and European Ministers, Commissioners and senior officials from the African Union (AU) and European Union (EU), and other high-level participants representing policy-makers, regional institutions, international organizations, the banking and finance industry, the private sector, academia, civil society, and the media. Discussions during the Forum were held in plenary and in specially structured panels exploring progress towards achieving the AEEP's 2020 Targets. These targets aim to: provide an additional 100 million Africans with access to sustainable energy services; double the number of electricity
interconnection between African countries, and increase gas consumption and exports in order to enhance energy security; raise the proportion of renewable energy in the energy mix through, amongst others, generating at least 15,500 megawatts (MW)of new hydro, wind and solar power; and increase energy efficiency across all sectors.
The discussions also provided an opportunity to explore the role of energy in countries' implementation of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change, with a focus on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 7 (affordable and clean energy), 13 (climate action) and 11 (sustainable cities and communities). On the sidelines of the discussions, participants met in targeted networking, business matchmaking and media events, as well as a parallel exhibition and fair showcasing some new technological innovations.
The Forum launched a number of AEEP reports and initiatives, including the Mapping of Initiatives and Programs in Africa Report, the 2016 AEEP Status Report and the Renewable Energy Solutions for Africa (RES4Africa) Initiative. At the conclusion of the two-day event, participants adopted the Milan Communiqué and a "Call for Action" in which different stakeholders announced commitments to help develop a comprehensive portfolio of activities to contribute to the AEEP 2020 Targets.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.aeep-forum.org/en/outcomes
 
Description Engineering4Change Blog Post 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Blog post putting across the conceptual basis to much of the project's thinking on scale and energy transitions
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://www.engineeringforchange.org/low-carbon-transitions-and-the-tyranny-of-scale/
 
Description Governance Energy and Gender Webinar 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact We conducted a webinar as part of our ongoing series with Smart Villages that focused on the theme of energy governance and gender. Two of the USES projects (READ and SAMSET) presented alongside two of the five teams funded in DFID's Energy and gender research programme which is administered by Energia. There was a lot of interest in the presentations and we responded to several follow up enquiries. In addition, we have taken forward a formal collaboration with Energia as part of our new DFID funded programme of activity.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://e4sv.org/events/addressing-energy-governance-questions-scale-scope/
 
Description Keynote ICDRET Dhaka Jan 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact The PI of the READ project was the keynote speaker at the 4th International Conference on Developments in Renewable Energy Technologies where he focused on a series of lessons drawn from the READ work, relating also to the experiences of SONG in Kenya and Bangladesh. The visit coincided with SONG project meetings and an opportunity to discuss potential future collaborations taking forward both projects. The presentation also involved introduction of and discussion of the projects funded under the USES programme and the activities of the USES Network
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.icdret.uiu.ac.bd/index.php/user/programSchedule
 
Description LCEDN USES Session at the AAG 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact We organised a three session stream at this conference featuring 13 presentations drawn from across the USES Network and beyond
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description RECP Algeria March 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Ed Brown spoke about the USES Research Programme and the USES Network activities during a session on Initiatives and Platforms for Cooperation during the Africa-EU Symposium on Renewable Energy Research and Innovation, 8-10 March 2016, Tlemcen, Algeria. He was also invited on behalf of the USES Network to represent the UK on the scientific committee organising the conference.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://euei-pdf.org/dialogue-events/africa-eu-symposium-on-renewable-energy-research-and-innovation-...
 
Description Radio Interview 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Three of us were interviewed on national radio in Bangladesh in early January during which we promoted both the SONG project and the broader activities of the USES research programme and the USES network.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Tech4Dev Proesentation USES Network presentation 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact This was a paper that drew heavily on the experiences of the USES Network to make some more general points about networking as social innovation.

Paper Title: Resilience, Adaptability and Solidarity: Auto-Ethnographic Reflections on Four Years of Networking Energy for Development
Abstract:
This paper focuses on the development and operationalizationof
a specific type of social innovation: networks. It draws upon the authors' experiences as coordinators of the Low Carbon Energy for Development Network
(LCEDN) and Wind Empowerment (WE) to offer a comparative analysis of two different organisations, which have the shared goal of facilitating access to sustainable
energy by providing opportunities for knowledge sharing and collaboration between experts.
As would be expected in the field of international development, the geographical and cultural distances between network partners are large, which presents particular challenges for the establishment and development of a network - the core task has been how to reduce such challenges to the minimum online, whilst not losing nuances and understandings of socio-cultural difference key to making such a network more effective. Thepaper offers auto-ethnographic reflections from the past four years, highlighting the key lessons learned and will be of relevance to those looking to initiate or sustain a network in the field of energy for development, or even development more broadly.
Resilience (recovering from external shocks, such as unstable funding sources), solidarity (mutual support between members during difficult times) and adaptability
(evolving with the changing interests of members and broader context) were three cross-cutting themes that were found to be crucial for the sustainability of bothnetworks.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description USES Annual Workshop 2014 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact The first USES Annual Workshop took place at the Wellcome Trust in collaboration with UKCDS in July 2014. It featured presentations on impact and impact planning from invited external experts and partners, discussions around reporting procedures and setting goals for the USES Network and an extended roundtable discussion with representatives from a range of research users (KTN, DFID, DECC amongst others).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://lcedn.com/uses/2014/09/09/impact-and-engagement-the-first-annual-uses-workshop/
 
Description USES Annual Workshop 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact The second Annual USES Network Workshop was held in September 2015. It brought together representatives from 12 of the 13 projects and featured discussions over annual reporting, how to deal with tensions and different expectations amongst project partners and questions of fair contracting and how to build longer-term research relationships. There was also extended discussion over how best to take forward USES Network activity and progress reports from several of the projects. Finally, there was a useful session on forthcoming research initiatives featuring presentations from EPSRC and DFID.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://lcedn.com/uses/2015/11/27/second-annual-uses-workshop-september-2015/
 
Description USES Annual Workshop December 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Three day annual workshop involving presentations, capacity building activities, visits to SONG community projects, partnering prizes etc.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.lcedn.com
 
Description USES Network Presentation at the DEI Symposium (Sept 2016) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Dr Ben Campbell, USES Network CI, gave an invited paper distilling the main experiences from the USES Network.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://www.dur.ac.uk/dei/events/past.events/?eventno=30543
 
Description USES Network Session at Annual LCEDN Conference in Adinburgh (May 2016) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This was the LCEDN's 2016 annual event and it included a session devoted to learning from the experiences of the USES projects
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Young Engineers RAEng/LCEDN/UKCDS Event (Sept 2016) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact This was a joint event with the Royal Academy of Engineering and UKCDS bringing together researchers from the USES Network and others to work with young engineers on transdisciplinary solutions to sustainable development challenges
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016