Energy-SHIFTS kicks off: Marrying research and policy for the energy transition

23 april, 2019

DRIFT-ers Julia Wittmayer and Tessa de Geus are in Cambridge on April 24-25 to officially launch the Energy-SHIFTS project. Energy-SHIFTS addresses the gap between policy makers and (academic) researchers with regards to the social dimensions of the energy transition. Read on to find out how we aim to do this.

The aim of Energy-SHIFTS is to increase the policy impact of energy-related Social Science and Humanities (SSH), to accelerate shifts to low-carbon energy systems. In doing this, Energy-SHIFTS picks up where one of our previous projects, SHAPE ENERGY, left off. Together with our partners, we strive to create a forum which informs the European Strategic Energy Technology Plan as well as Europes follow-up of the Horizon2020 program FP9. Simultaneously, Energy-SHIFTS is used to build the foundations for a long term strategy to have SSH insights reach the policy ‘front line’. How we plan to do that? Below we highlight three activities that DRIFT focuses on:

1. Matching Policy makers and Researchers
During Energy-SHIFTS we endeavor to forge matches between researchers working on the energy transition from a Social Science and/or Humanities perspective, and European policy makers in Brussels working on this topic. These matches are based on the respective questions or dilemmas that policy makers have, and the researchers’ expertise. Once matches have been made, researchers and policy makers meet for a reciprocal learning session. The content of these meetings is used by the consortium to create insight in urgent policy challenges and research gaps. In addition, DRIFT will produce a toolkit so that other policy institutions can follow suit in closing the research-policy gap for the energy transition.

2. Scanning the Horizon for Research Gaps
On April 4, DRIFT, together with Energy-Cities, organised a workshop on social innovation in the energy transition in Rotterdam to find out what the hot topics in this research field are (read the blog here). In combination with the outputs of three other workshops that are yet to be organised – covering the themes Carbon-intensive EU regions, Inclusive engagement in energy and Evidence in the energy policy process – this workshop offers an important insight in the status quo of research in these areas.

Building on these insights, four working groups will be initiated over the course of Energy-SHIFTS, to convene top researchers from across Europe. By taking stock of contention and consensus with regards to research priorities for the future, these working groups provide valuable input for informing the European Strategic Energy Technology Plan and FP9.

3.  Setting the Agenda Together
The findings of Energy-SHIFTS will be widely shared in order to have an impact on research agendas across the EU, and to make sure that the process can benefit from input of European citizens. For this purpose DRIFT, together with our partners, will produce various scientific articles, literature reviews, and blogs, as well as organize master classes, webinars and online citizen debates with Debating Europe.

Do you want to learn more about Energy-SHIFTS? Take a look at the projectpage, subscribe to the Energy-SHIFTS newsletter, or follow Energy-SHIFTS on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook.