The LCEDN's Short-Term Placement Programme aims to help establish closer links between the academic world and other stakeholders in the renewable energy for development sector. Through four fully funded three-month placements in 2017-2018, we aimed to connect postgraduate students and early career researchers with non-academic stakeholders, for example non-governmental organisations (NGOs) or private sector organisations. As well as carrying out duties outlined in the description of the individual posts offered, the placement candidates produced a report and blog posts for the LCEDN website.
The four placements were:
Africa-EU Renewable Energy Cooperation programme (RECP) / National University of Lesotho (NUL).
The LCEDN supports RECP and NUL in the organisation of the second Africa-EU Symposium on Renewable Energy Research and Innovation (RERIS 2018) which is to be held from 23–26 January 2018 in Maseru, Lesotho.
With the support from RECP, an Energy Research Center as well as a Master’s Programme on Sustainable Energy are currently under establishment at NUL. NUL officially launched The Research Center and MSc programme at the RERIS 2018 on 25 January 2018.
Tonny Kukeera, who is a graduate of M.Sc. Energy Engineering at the Pan African University Institute of Water and Energy Sciences (PAUWES), was awarded this three-month placement at NUL, where he was involved in the preparation and implementation of the RERIS 2018, as well as the MSc programme and research center at NUL.
Community Energy Malawi
Community Energy Malawi (CEM) is an NGO which provides services in: Networking of organisations and individuals with interest in renewable energy; Raising Awareness on potential of renewable energy; Capacity building in Renewable Energy Technologies; Lobbying and advocacy on Renewable Energy and; Fundraising for and funding Renewable Energy Technologies.
The candidate selected for this placement was Olufolahan Osunmuyiwa, who recently finished her PhD which focused on the political-economy of energy transitions at the Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM), Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Having grown up in Africa and seen numerous failed attempts at technological innovation and transfer in the energy sector, Olufolahan's interests lie in understanding the socio-economic and political dynamics underlying energy innovation and transition processes. Her placement with CEM was supervised by The University of Strathclyde and the LCEDN.
During the three months, Olufolahan worked with Community Energy Malawi (CEM) on defining and implementing social and economic ‘indicators of impact’ that can be monitored and analysed before, during and after the introduction of decentralised energy governance in Malawi. Olufolahan's blog posts can be accessed via the following links: blog 1, blog 2, blog 3.
Integrated Research and Action for Development (IRADe)
The LCEDN are currently working with Energia on a collaborative programme around questions of gender within energy and international development research. As part of this work, we are supporting the development of a Community of Practice in Energy and Gender in India which is being developed by three organizations who have been working in research projects funded under Energia’s DFID-funded Gender and Energy research programme: IRADe, TERI and M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation.
The third placement supported this work and was hosted by IRADE in New Delhi. IRADe is a fully autonomous Advanced Research Institute, which conducts research and policy analysis and connects various stakeholders including governments, NGOs, corporations, and academic and financial Institutions.
Kirsten Campbell, who is currently working towards a PhD in International Development at the School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Edinburgh, was awarded this placement. Kirsten’s PhD research looks at community-scale solar micro-grids and how their implementation and utilisation interacts with social politics in Odisha. During the three months at IRADe, she interacted with all three Indian partners (and the LCEDN and Energia) on a regular basis (weekly) and worked on stakeholder mapping and other documentation for the Community of Practice, as well as supporting the development and delivery of the meetings that were organised from time to time to formalise the Community and Practice.
Better Solar Network
This placement opportunity with Better Solar supported the development of an international network working to support social and environmental justice across global solar supply chains. The LCEDN are currently working with the Better Solar network to build collaborative research and advocacy programmes around social and environmental justice in global solar value chains. Better Solar is a new international network – launched in 2018 - that works to promote sustainable manufacturing and minerals supply chains in the global solar industry.
The Better Solar network was developed by the University of Edinburgh, in collaboration with the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition, and international partners including Good Electronics, Demand Energy Equality, the Open Repair Alliance, People and Planet, Plaform, Ojuso, and the Low Carbon Energy for Development Network.
This placement was hosted by the University of Edinburgh Department of Social and Political Science. The successful candidate interacted with global stakeholders, NGOs and civil society organisations in China and South-East Asia, South Asia, Sub Saharan Africa and Latin America.
Mariana Cover, a MSc in Environment and Development graduate from the University of Edinburgh, was awarded this placement. Mariana's MSc dissertation explored the financial and environmental impacts of solar technologies on a sugar cane business in India. Mariana also brought experience of project coordination and outreach from her work experience at Provita (an environmental NGO in Venezuela) and experience of online resource development from her research on humanitarian access to solar energy for displaced persons (www.displacedenergy.com) to the placement. Mariana's blog posts can be accessed via the following links: blog 1, blog 2, blog 3.