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School of Social and Political Science: Research


Energy and Society Research Group

Energy systems are being transformed in the face of increasing concerns over climate change, and energy affordability and security. These changes are complex and contested, and involve technological innovation, regulatory and market reform, and changing roles for business, communities, public bodies and energy users.

There is a growing body of research in multidimensional processes of change in energy systems governance at the University of Edinburgh, with projects and experts across the social sciences. Building on Edinburgh University’s intellectual traditions in theoretically-informed empirical inquiry, we aim to help address one of the major societal challenges of the 21st century.

Our overarching question is: how are socio-technical arrangements for energy production and consumption changing in contemporary societies? … a process we refer to as energy governance.

We are an inter-disciplinary research group which reaches across traditional divides. We conduct leading-edge research which engages strongly with practitioners. Our starting points are within the social sciences, though we actively collaborate with engineering, physical, computer and environmental scientists, as well as with policymakers, businesses and civil society. Within the social sciences, we draw, for example, on geography, sociology, science, technology and innovation studies (STIS), social anthropology and political science.

Our work is funded by, among others, the UK Research Councils’ Energy Programme, UK and Scottish Governments, the UK Energy Research Centre and the Energy Technologies Institute. Much of our work involves international collaboration.

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