By Miriam Aczel, PhD researcher from Imperial College London
I recently joined the EURECA Project as an intern through SHAPE ENERGY. I was first introduced to the SHAPE ENERGY project at a conference on Energy Impacts in Bergen, Norway, where I met Dr. Nathalie Orthar and Dr. Delphine Burguet, and learned about the only EU Horizon 2020-funded project on using social science methods to advance energy research and policy.
My PhD research focuses on environmental and health impacts of hydraulic fracturing to extract unconventional shale gas. I am currently exploring methods to strengthen the regulatory framework to better protect the environment and public health, including incorporating economics, sociology, social geography, and other means to measure and assess the impacts of ‘fracking’. The goal of SHAPE ENERGY—using strategies from social science and humanities to advance environmental policy—intrigued me, motivating me to address my research from different perspectives, which I further developed during a SHAPE ENERGY Summer School at the University of Lyon’s ENTPE. I was excited to learn that there was a new opportunity to further expand on what I had learned in the summer school, and apply these methods in a practical setting—through the SHAPE ENERGY PhD Internships.
The project I chose—the EU Resource Efficiency Coordination Action, EURECA—looks at ways to promote energy efficiency in data centres and therefore to reduce environmental impacts. EURECA is a three-year funded project under the H2020 programme, which includes international partners from the United Kingdom, Ireland, Netherlands and Germany with the goal of providing solutions to help identify cost-saving opportunities whilst minimizing environmental impacts of hardware and other procurement selections in data centres.