Overview: Social Sciences and Humanities for Advancing Policy in European Energy (SHAPE-ENERGY) is a €2m investment through the EU Horizon 2020 programme. Specifically, it represents a new European platform for energy-related social sciences and humanities (energy-SSH). Energy-SSH has played less of a role to date in shaping (European) energy policy than Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines. In funding this project, the European Commission is supporting better integration of energy-SSH into the policy process. SHAPE-ENERGY is running for two years (from 1 February 2017), and is co-ordinated by the Global Sustainability Institute, Anglia Ruskin University (Cambridge, UK). SHAPE ENERGY’s outputs directly feed into the work of the European Commission’s strategy unit with responsibility for energy research and innovation.

Aims: SHAPE-ENERGY aims to develop Europe’s expertise in using and applying energy-SSH. Our innovative Platform will unite those who ‘demand’ energy research, because they can use it to develop practical initiatives, with those who ‘supply’ that research. Each of our Platform Activities will create space for these two groups to meet and collaborate in ‘shaping’ the European energy agenda. This will build deep and shared understanding of what is needed and what is possible, as well as stretching their collective ambition.

Activities: The Platform is coordinating an exciting array of Activities  over 2017-2019, including: 18 multi-stakeholder workshops in partnership with cities across Europe; MEP workshops in Brussels; conferences; Horizon 2020 sandpits; early career researcher summer schools and secondments to Horizon 2020 energy projects; funding for collaborative think pieces; funding for an innovative ‘research design challenge’; and online policymaker-citizen debates. SHAPE ENERGY will also undertake an extensive review of the current state of the energy-SSH research landscape, and bring European energy researchers/practitioners together around a commonly agreed Research & Innovation Agenda 2020-2030  for future interdisciplinary energy-related endeavours. SHAPE ENERGY will ultimately provide the European Commission with recommendations for the future direction of the energy work programme in Horizon 2020 and beyond.

Topics & themes: SHAPE ENERGY works across four inter-related energy topics: (1) Energy efficiency and using less; (2) Competitive, secure, low-carbon energy supply; (3) Energy system optimisation and smart technologies; and (4) Transport decarbonisation. These topics are linked to EU policy priorities, and will guide our Platform content. For example SHAPE ENERGY will host online debates and research sandpits on each topic. Throughout all our Platform activities we will be asking how energy-SSH research can contribute towards solving these big issues for Europe. In addition, our energy topic delivery will be guided by four cross-cutting theme reports (Active consumer, Energy justice, Gender, and Multi-stakeholder interests – see Publications ), with direct recommendations for how to be sensitive to these in Platform activities.

Disciplines: SHAPE ENERGY will work across the full range of social sciences and humanities, including energy-related research (both current and potential) within: Business, Communication Studies, Demography, Development, Economics, Education, Environmental Social Science, Gender, History, Human Geography, Law, Philosophy, Planning, Politics, Psychology, Science and Technology Studies, Sociology, Social Anthropology, Social Policy, and Theology.

See SHAPE ENERGY Factsheet