Interdisciplinary Cluster on Energy Systems, Equity and Vulnerability (InCluESEV)

Lead Research Organisation: King's College London
Department Name: Geography


InCluESEV will focus its innovative, collaborative interdisciplinary work on the uneven production and experience of energy vulnerabilities, and on examining the likely consequences of emerging low carbon energy systems for the changing nature and distribution of equity across time and space. Our starting point is to recognise that issues of equity are a fundamental but under-researched challenge in the energy domain. Integrating equity and justice into energy policy, governance and implementation is a necessary part of achieving a sustainable and socially progressive transition to a low carbon future but this presents many challenges for both research and policy. Our approach to understanding and exploring these challenges and to identifying future research and policy priorities, is to recognise that the social and the technical, far from being independent realms, interact with each other in important ways and that it is only through adopting a 'socio-technical' whole-systems perspective to energy and equity issues that we can move forward. Such an approach is critical if interdisciplinary research is to attend to what is an increasingly pressing set of economic, political, social and environmental issues.Eight workpackages divide equally across two core themes. Theme 1 addresses the uneven social, spatial and temporal nature of energy vulnerabilities in the home, and the ways in which technologies, infrastructures, everyday practice and policy interventions combine to reduce or enhance resilience. It will explore new concepts and ways of thinking about energy vulnerability, and look ahead to consider possible future scenarios of energy vulnerability and the development of strategies for building resilience. Theme 2 focuses on the equity dimensions of new and emerging low carbon energy systems through scoping the development of a 'whole systems' perspective. It is an analytical approach that will be explored in the context of three technologies - new build nuclear; carbon capture and storage; and building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV). There are a number of distinctive features to the cluster arrangements laid out in the proposal: - it has a core membership of 30 leading scholars concerned with energy, equity and justice issues across the social, physical and engineering sciences. As such, InCluESEV will foster genuinely interdisciplinary forms of collaboration.- the cluster is supported by four non-academic members - National Energy Action, Eaga, Warm Front and the Building and Social Housing Foundation. This praxis group, directly engaged with issues of equity and vulnerability within the domestic energy sphere, is uniquely positioned to foster, contribute to and practically deploy cluster learning particularly in relation to theme 1.- an innovative suite of discipline-crossing networking activities within work packages (research reviews, deliberative expert mapping, workshops, study visits, design labs and writing groups, policy seminars) and across the cluster as a whole (plenary activities and a summer school) have been designed to deliver creative face-to-face interdisciplinary and user interactions that will not only develop new thinking on energy systems, equity and vulnerability, but also promote policy innovation and develop future research priorities and collaborative networks to take these forward.


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