Engaging stakeholders to understand problems and develop climate change solutions
We are an experienced team of social scientists undertaking cutting-edge research to explore the intersections of society and technology in the context of energy and climate change. We collaborate with a range of stakeholders in our research to ensure that we understand the problems we are tackling from different perspectives and develop solutions that utilise a broad range of experience and expertise.
Our specialisms include: rapid literature review and synthesis; participatory workshop design and facilitation; co-developing and evaluating future scenarios and pathways; interviews; focus groups and surveys; assessment of institutional frameworks and policy analysis.
We apply concepts from a range of social theories to the social dimensions of climate change, particularly: social practices, social justice, social license, governance, gender development, place, science, and technology studies and risk perception and amplification.
We develop innovative transdisciplinary approaches and mixed methodologies to address complex problems relating to climate change mitigation and adaptation and climate justice. Working with engineers, natural scientists, policy-makers, businesses and the public we create useful, agenda-setting research.
We have been integrating social science and participatory approaches in interdisciplinary energy and climate change projects since 2000, delivering projects funded by a wide range of bodies including: EPSRC, ESRC, NERC, UKERC, HEFCE, Electricity Northwest, Thames Water, Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Tesco.
Previous and live projects cover a wide range of topics, including:
- Public perceptions and ethical assessments of carbon capture and storage: Various projects funded by UK government departments, RCUK and the EU have identified the challenges and opportunities for Carbon Capture and Storage development – co-developing scenarios and roadmaps for the sector and engaging communities to understand the circumstances under which the technology could gain a ‘social license’.
- Resilience of the UK electricity system: The EPSRC funded Resilience of the UK electricity network (RESNET) project developed a comprehensive approach to analysing climate-related changes in the reliability of the UK's electricity system. Development of future demand scenarios and societal implications of changes to the electricity system were embedded within this interdisciplinary project.
- Organisational innovation to deliver circular supply chains: Funded by a large grocery retailer, detailed analysis of a range of specific supply chains identified ways for organisations to increase resource efficiency and embed circular economy principles.
- Innovative finance and business models for community energy: As part of the UK Energy Research Centre programme, we are undertaking a 2-year study on the future of the community energy sector in the UK. The work involves a large scale survey of finance and business models in the sector and extensive stakeholder engagement and collaboration to develop a series of visions for its development.
As well as numerous academic papers and reports, our research has been used to inform business and management strategies, and has supported submission of written and oral evidence to various Parliamentary committees. Our research has had a direct impact on policy at various levels, as evidenced in our 2014 REF impact case on Carbon Budgets.