Addressing policy and societal challenges
We are an experienced team working in the area of policy and governance for energy and climate change-related matters. We collaborate with a range of stakeholders to explore the planning and analysis of policy measures and evaluation of their outcomes for climate change mitigation and adaptation. This includes considerations of ethical issues and justice and the subsequent implications on equity and power structures. In the UK context, our work has been on issues of governance at different national and subnational levels, and justice implications of socio-technical system shifts.
Our specialisms include the development of new theoretical framings, providing original insight and perspective, for effective development of new policy mechanisms. This supports our stakeholders in understanding complex societal and ethical challenges to policy, whether it is in relation to energy innovations or climate change impacts.
We apply concepts from a range of social theories to the social dimensions of energy and climate change, particularly: developing ethical matrix for exploring ethical implications of new energy technologies; social impact assessment and system dynamics modelling; focus groups and interactive workshops for effective stakeholder engagement; discourse and thematic analysis to understand societal challenges using interviews with stakeholders and the public; policy evaluation tools and methods; participatory visioning and backcasting for effective scenario development and participatory GIS.
We are an interdisciplinary team that are able to bring in a practical and pragmatic approach to understanding issues of justice and ethics. Grounded in strong science and engineering traditions, our approach is strongly aligned to the specifics of new technologies and innovations, while delivering insightful social science perspectives. In doing so, we provide practical technological solutions and measures with a considered view of the social context.
We are able to respond to ever changing socio-technical contexts, and are therefore best placed to be able to respond to ethical implications of new and emerging technologies.
We have been integrating policy and governance research approaches in interdisciplinary energy and climate change projects since 2000, delivering projects funded by a wide range of bodies including: EPSRC, ESRC, NERC, UKERC, Thames Water and other International local communities.
Previous and live projects cover a wide range of topics, including:
- Over a decade of research on understanding the controversies arising from the deployment of low carbon energy technologies. Outputs are synthesised in the edited collection Low Carbon Energy Controversies.
- Research funded by Thames Water and the ESRC on the governance of water resources with a critical analysis of demand management strategies in the UK water sector. Design methods were used to develop innovative approaches to reconfigure practices of domestic water use.
- “Financing Community Energy” project, supported by UK Energy Research Centre’s research programme, will provide a systematic analysis of the role of finance and business models in the evolution of the UK community energy sector. This tool can be used by community energy organisations to develop recommendations for innovations in policy and practice that will support the future growth of this sector.
- In collaboration with international technology companies, research on demand-side response technologies implemented in Social Housing in North Manchester will be used to analyse justice implications of new energy innovations for the residential sector.
- Mapping ethical landscape: An extended ethical matrix approach was developed to map the CCS ethical landscape and to support the identification of areas where ethical contentions may be raised.
Ethical attitudes to underground CO2 storage: Points of convergence and potential faultlines and Mapping the ethical landscape of carbon capture and storage.