Energy policies cannot fulfil their maximum potential if the knowledge stemming from social sciences and humanities research is not factored into the decision-making process. Citizens should be at the core of all policies – including those to do with energy. This conference will underline how crucial social data is to accelerating the decarbonisation of our economy and making a real dent in climate change. It will also present concrete recommendations on how to advance and better design future European energy policies in the context of the upcoming research and innovation framework; Horizon Europe.
The event is organised as part of the SHAPE ENERGY H2020 EU-funded project. It aims at generating new knowledge, support evidence-based policymaking, produce interdisciplinary solutions and develop Europe’s expertise in using and applying available research into the energy transition decision-making process.
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After 20 years of negotiations, 195 countries signed the Paris Agreement to limit global warming well below 2°C above pre-industrial level by the end of the century. The focus now moves to design and implementation, and success will depend on the support and contribution of all – including industries, member-states, regions, cities and citizens.
Welcome and registration of participants
Integrating the human and social dimension into energy systems
While social science and humanities’ (SSH) research has played less of a role to date in shaping European energy policy than Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), understanding the human and social implications of energy systems – such as behaviour and consumption patterns - play a critical role in ensuring the best possible social acceptability and impact. Learning, experience and research demonstrates that mainstreaming these disciplines into energy policies, and ensuring a citizen focus, are crucial components to accelerating the decarbonisation of our economy and tackling climate change. The SHAPE ENERGY project, through its multi-stakeholder undertakings and wide geographical scope, has worked to generate new knowledge, support evidence-based policymaking, produce interdisciplinary solutions and develop Europe’s expertise in using and applying available research into the energy transition decision-making process to fill current gaps and challenges.
- What is the business case for making better use of social sciences and humanities research for the energy transition?
- What do the research and evidence tell us about integrating social sciences and humanities into the designing process of future policies?
- What are the outcomes from SHAPE ENERGY and how can they be translated into recommendations for Horizon Europe?
Chris Foulds & Rosie Robison, Principal Research Fellows at the Global Sustainability Institute, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge
Cities as catalysts for transformation in the energy transition
Cities account for about 75% of global greenhouse gas emissions. It is clear, therefore, that cities are ideal for convening multiple actors and brokering experimental transformative measures that can successfully engage society in a low-carbon economy. This can lead to improving the understanding of environmental behaviours which can help tackle emissions from intensive sectors such as transportation and buildings. For systemic change to take place, all sectors must be involved and existing urban models, including governance, will need to be adaptive and flexible. Mainstreaming research into policy thinking and development can enable a far more comprehensive dialogue between researchers, policy workers and citizens, as well as produce vital insights for consumption and behavioural patterns to change.
- How can a more collaborative approach ensure we address real world questions, accelerate decarbonisation, and deliver real impact in cities and beyond?
- How can social sciences and humanities research in energy intensive sectors such as transportation and construction help influence consumption patterns?
- How can social sciences and humanities research influence decision-making and accelerate energy transition in cities?
Aziza Akhmouch, Head of the Cities, Urban Policies and Sustainable Development Division, OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities
Simone Abram, Anthropology Professor; and Co-Director in the Durham Energy institute
Renata Mele, Head of Strategy for E-City at ENEL X
Florent Marcellesi, Member of the European Parliament, Committee for Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE)
Malcolm Smith, Director of Integrated City Planning at ARUP
Financing research for innovative leadership
Research and innovation are key drivers of a knowledge-based society, improving productivity and economic growth, including new job opportunities. Europe spent close to €80 billion on the Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Framework Programme. Despite a future cut in the EU budget following Brexit, research spending is expected to increase by about one fifth for Horizon Europe. This increase is expected to create 420.000 jobs by 2040 according to the European Commission. To address the current climate crisis and boost Europe’s competitiveness, the EU must use its funding wisely to understand the implications of social sciences and humanities research in its agenda to accelerate action on climate change. With additional funding directed to high-quality proposals involving social sciences and humanities, Europe’s leadership in climate action and the energy transition could be achieved.
- How should the budget for future energy research reinforce Europe’s long-term strategy to reach its climate and energy ambition?
- How can we better align research, funding and policies for greater impact?
- What should the next EU mandate do to ensure that the link between budget and research is better aligned with climate change action, which is one of the major concerns of citizens?
Moderated by Dharmendra Kanani, Director of Insights at Friends of Europe
Patrick Child, European Commission Deputy Director-General for Research and Innovation and Chair of the Mission Innovation Steering Committee
Michaël Gillis, Chief Strategy, Legal, Regulatory & Public Affairs Officer, ENGIE Benelux
Derk Loorbach, Socio-economic Transitions Professor; and Director of the Dutch Research Institute for Transitions (DRIFT), Erasmus University Rotterdam
Kathleen Van Brempt, Member of the European Parliament, Committee for Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE)
End of conference
Lunch and afternoon sessions by invitation only
Learning from others
A number of H2020 funded projects coming from across Europe and representing various energy-related topics including PROSEU; INNOPATHS and the EU Energy Poverty Observatory among others will share their journeys and key takeaways. This will allow for an interactive exchange where each individual project will have the opportunity to present and answer questions from the audience, enabling all H2020 projects to learn from each other.
Xavier Troussard, European Commissioner Director of Competences at the Joint Research Centre (JRC)
Followed by presentations from:
PROSEU — Prosumers for the energy union, seeking to mainstream active participation of citizens in the energy transition, by Giorgia Rambelli, ICLEI Europe
EU Energy Poverty Observatory — Understanding Energy Poverty in Europe, by Stefan Bouzarovski, University of Manchester
ENERGISE — European Network for Research, Good Practice and Innovation for Sustainable Energy, by Frances Fahy, National University of Ireland
INNOPATHS — Innovation Pathways, Strategies and Policies for the Low-Carbon Transition in Europe, by Andrew Hook, University of Sussex
Choosing your table
Learning from SHAPE ENERGY – Sectoral approach
30 minute short conversations with members of the SHAPE ENERGY consortium run in parallel on issues that matter to them, to gain expertise from this resourceful project and network.
- DuneWorks (DW) — Storytelling: A means towards inclusiveness
- Energy Cities (ECIT) — Cities acting as activators for energy transition
- Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) — Interdisciplinary research – challenges and solutions
- Politecnico di Torino (POLITO) — SSH-STEM integration in action: insights from four energy Sandpits