Call for participants: Advances in European fuel poverty research and practice

Advances in fuel poverty research and practice: a pan-European early career researcher symposium

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20th September 2016, University of Manchester, UK

Applications are sought from postgraduate and early career researchers (ECRs) in all disciplines for a sponsored pan-European symposium on domestic energy deprivation. Participant registration is now also open (details below).

Domestic energy deprivation – which is often recognised via the terms ‘fuel poverty’, ‘energy poverty’, and more recently ‘energy vulnerability’ – is prevalent across Europe. Indeed, an estimated 52.1 million households across EU27 alone were struggling to attain adequate warmth, pay their utility bills on time, and live in homes free of damp and mould in 2010 (Thomson, 2015). The adverse impacts experienced by fuel poor households include compromised living standards, lower educational outcomes, and exacerbated health risks. Fuel poverty is gaining increasing acceptance as a significant global policy issue (Bouzarovski and Petrova, 2015), as reflected by the emergence of numerous national and supranational policy frameworks. However, to date there has been a chronic lack of integrated discussion and interpretation of the problem within the wider scientific and policy community, which may have contributed to the relative marginalisation of policy responses, and prevented the development of knowledge on the issue.

To address the fragmentation of approaches to the challenge of fuel poverty across national and disciplinary boundaries, this symposium seeks to provide a supportive physical and virtual forum for ECRs from all disciplines to:

  • Share emergent research on or related to domestic energy deprivation;
  • Consider the development of an integrated and innovative conceptual framework for the research and amelioration of fuel poverty;
  • Develop national and international collaborations with public policy officials and civil society;
  • Further strengthen the existing multidisciplinary network of researchers from across Europe;
  • Foster a new generation of scholars and practitioners in this field.

The symposium will feature guest talks from Professor Stefan Bouzarovski, a leading academic in the field, as well as from key decision-makers involved with setting national and pan-European policy agendas. Thereafter, attendees will have the opportunity to give short presentations on their own work. The event will conclude with interactive small group discussions on the current barriers to researching fuel poverty, the ways in which the work of attendees might be disseminated in order to support policy development and practical eradication of fuel poverty, and potential for future interdisciplinary collaboration and networking.

This event is held in partnership with National Energy Action (NEA), one of the UK’s leading fuel poverty charities. As part of this collaboration, Eaga Charitable Trust has kingly agreed to provide bursaries for up to 12 ECRs to attend NEA’s annual conference ‘Innovation, Community, Education’ (21st to 23rd September in central Manchester) free of charge and, in addition, receive funding towards accommodation and travel costs associated with attendance at the symposium and NEA conference. NEA has generously offered stand space in the Community Hub at their conference, which ECRs could use to display poster presentations of their research. NEA’s annual conference attracts over 300 delegates from several sectors engaged with the issue of fuel poverty and energy efficiency, comprising: national and international NGOs; energy supply and distribution industries; technology manufacturers and installers; health and social care sector; housing and environmental health; academics; and the community and voluntary sector. For remaining symposium participants, the EVALUATE project at the University of Manchester can provide limited support towards travel and accommodation.

Application process:

To apply to present at or participate in the symposium on 20th September, and to also register interest in attending NEA’s annual conference (21st to 23rd September), please complete and return the Application Form. Within this form you can specify if you would like to be considered for either of the two sources of assistance detailed above – explaining why you need them, and providing the total amount and a breakdown of the funds requested. We note that recipients of the 12 Eaga Charitable Trust bursaries will be expected to attend the NEA conference as well as the symposium. As funds are limited, applicants may not receive the full amount they have requested; priority will be given to those without access to other travel funds.

The deadline for all applications is Wednesday 4th May 2016. Applicants will be informed of the outcome within two weeks of the closing date. Please contact Dr Harriet Thomson (harriet.thomson@manchester.ac.uk) if you have any queries.

Publication of papers:

Following the symposium, all speakers will be invited to submit full-length papers of their presentations for consideration for publication as a chapter in an edited book on energy deprivation.

Funds for this event were kindly provided by Eaga Charitable Trust and the European Research Council-funded Energy Vulnerability and Urban Transitions (EVALUATE) project, University of Manchester. The event is held in collaboration with NEA.

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