We are delighted to be able to share that the Centre for Energy Ethics has been awarded a £600,000 consortium grant by the Scottish Funding Council to lead a new research collaboration across Scottish Universities on energy and sustainability. Centre Director Mette High will head up the research alliance with a leadership team of Zoe Shipton (Strathclyde), Gareth Johnson (Strathclyde), Faye Wade (Edinburgh), Sarah Parry (Edinburgh), Centre Deputy Director Emilka Skrzypek (St Andrews), and Centre Director of Policy Sean Field (St Andrews).

The energy alliance will connect multi-disciplinary researchers with industry and business partners, third-sector collaborators, policy makers, and people across Scotland to help tackle the national challenge of how to become an equitable, climate-aligned Net Zero society.

Deputy Director Emilka Skrzypek said, “Complex issues require complex solutions. The Alliance will bring together a hugely diverse group of people and organisations, working together across what are often long established disciplinary and sectoral boundaries.”

Mette High adds: “This research alliance is really important because it embraces the fundamental complexity in achieving an inclusive energy transition by bringing together social, financial, and technical areas of expertise.

“With high rates of fuel poverty, exacerbated during a crushing cost of living crisis, we risk that a Net Zero Scotland becomes a two-tier society that leaves behind those who are already struggling. Thanks to the support from the Scottish Funding Council, we are now in a position to mobilise world-leading expertise and forge new collaborations, anchored in the shared vision of creating a better energy future for all.”

Scotland was one of the first countries in the world to declare a climate emergency. As part of the country’s ongoing commitment to protect people and our planet, the Scottish government have set a goal of reaching net zero emissions by 2045. The scale of this societal challenge can be seen in the level of investment in both time and money in the issue. However, the issue is not just one of carbon emissions but rather in creating a new carbon-neutral economy which can work for everyone. The journey to create a better future for everyone, regardless of where they live, what they do and who they are: a ‘Just Transition’. 

Newly appointed Director of Policy Sean Field said, “This Alliance presents a very exciting opportunity to shape Net Zero research in Scotland over the next decade and have a real impact on the nation’s future. We know, for example, that the technology to reach net zero exists, that there is demand to make households more energy efficient and lower people’s bills, and that there is capital available for large-scale implementation. The barrier has and continues to be making these three components work together – matching the technology with the people who need it and the money to make it happen.”

“Capacity building is not just about developing specific skills or sets of knowledge through targeted training.” Noted Dr Skrzypek, “It is also about facilitating spaces and conversations where those skills can be expanded and furthered; where individuals and groups can learn, build networks and gain confidence; and that open up pathways for shaping research, action and policy agendas.”

Dr Field added, “This Alliance will provide the interdisciplinary research support needed to meet this challenge and will bring together diverse stakeholders in an effort to overcome this barrier. I am elated to lead the Financial Pathways theme of the Alliance and to work with so many amazing partners and colleagues on this innovative initiative.”