Socio economic and policy

Policy developments are vitally important to developing a low carbon future. In order to successfully implement new technologies and solutions we need to look at energy in a holistic fashion. We need to better understand what influences habits and practices and the impacts of the design of market and regulatory frameworks on energy production supply and use. This evidence will then be used to generate effective public policy and other solutions. We seek to ensure that relevant knowledge generated through our projects is fed through to policy makers and regulators.

A systems level understanding of energy, informed not only by the technology but also by the economics, user behaviour and the policy environment, is needed to inform policy on the future shape of the UK energy sector as a whole. We support the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) which takes an independent whole-systems approach, drawing in engineering, economics and the physical, environmental and social sciences. UKERC is looking at how the UK can move towards a resilient low-carbon energy system. It also encourages collaboration between national and international business and research communities and supports early career researchers.

Public engagement is an integral part of our programme - energy is a key focus for promoting science and for encouraging young people into science. Activities we support include research into engaging pupils, teachers and governors in science, engineering and technology.

A combined effort in this area should enable us to look at the challenges in a holistic fashion, incorporating new technology developments as well as the public perception of future changes. This "whole systems" approach should enable the delivery of effective policy and ensure that the changes occur to provide maximum social and economic benefit.

Related research areas