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Lancaster University to host new research centre on energy DEMAND

Date: 17 December 2012

From May 2013, Elizabeth Shove, from the Sociology Department at Lancaster University, will be Co-Director of a new cross-Faculty, RCUK-funded research centre, DEMAND: The Dynamics of Energy, Mobility and Demand. With funding of around £5 million over five years, the DEMAND centre, funded by RCUK, will undertake a 5 year interdisciplinary research programme in collaboration with 7 other University partners. The core group will include Leeds Institute for Transport Studies and EDF R&D's European Centre and Labs for Energy Efficiency Research based in Paris, with contributions from researchers at Aberdeen, Birmingham, Manchester, Reading, Sheffield, Sussex and UCL. Professor Gordon Walker (Lancaster Environment Centre) will also be Co-Director of the Centre; others involved at Lancaster will include Dr James Faulconbridge (Organisation Work and Technology) and Dr Mike Hazas (School of Computing and Communications).

The DEMAND Centre (Dynamics of Energy, Mobility and Demand) will take a distinctive approach to end use energy demand. In essence, the Centre will focus on what energy is for, recognising that energy is not used for its own sake but as part of accomplishing social practices at home, at work and in moving around. This approach will inform an ambitious research agenda, developing a more sophisticated understanding of the underlying dynamics of demand itself through examining patterns in mobility and building-related energy use and the processes through which trends towards more resource-intensive standards of comfort, convenience and speed take hold. The Centre will take forward a wide-ranging agenda for future research and policy, one which will be crucial for organisations involved in demand management and in radically reconfiguring infrastructures, buildings and transport systems in line with greenhouse gas emissions targets.

There have been a number of other recent research funding successes in the Department:

  • Sylvia Walby has received confirmation of an 18-month ESRC grant worth nearly £200,000, start date 1 April 2013, with Brian Francis as Co-investigator and Jude Towers as Research Associate, called 'Is the rate of domestic violence decreasing or increasing? A re-analysis of the British Crime Survey'.
  • Adrian Mackenzie is part of a successful ESRC Cross-Investment bid 'Socializing Big Data' with CRESC, Warwick and Cesagen, which is going to be funded 1 April 2013 -31 March 2014. The overall bid is worth around £210k; Adrian will have 10% of his time bought out for 12 months.
  • David Tyfield is one of three work-package leaders written into Ulrich Beck's Advanced Grant from the ERC, 'Methodological Cosmopolitanism: In the Laboratory of Climate Change', or 'Cosmo-Climate' for short, which has now been awarded. David's work package will be on Low Carbon Innovation, and is likely to involve about 25% of his time over 5 years.
  • Maialen Galarraga will be co-Investigator on a £25,000 project, i-PROT, with Ruth McNally (Lancaster and Anglia Ruskin Universities). Maia will be devoting 20% of her time for 12 months, working with Ruth in interacting with the four projects funded under the EPSRC's Cross-Disciplinary Interfaces Programme (C-DIP) - including Lancaster's Catalyst project - comparing cross-disciplinary practices in the projects and using an adaptation of the PROTEE methodology to stimulate reflexive, real-time learning about the dynamics of interdisciplinarity.


Further information

Associated staff: Elizabeth Shove

Associated departments and research centres: Sociology

Keywords: Climate change, Environment, Mobilities, Sociology


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