Energy systems and socio-economic research

The UK socio-economic energy research community (UKERC) has released its report collating various ongoing UK research projects on energy that have a significant socio-economic focus.

Socio-economic energy research is that which focuses on the social side of the energy sector, like institutions, user practices, regulation, business models, etc. This is different to what many may think of as the bulk of energy research, which is technical in nature, dealing with the technologies and infrastructures involved, with energy generation, distribution, transmission, or supply, undertaken by the ‘traditional’ energy research communities, like engineering. Socio-economic energy research views energy systems as complex beasts, made up of inter-connected technical and social pieces that work (or don’t) together. As such, this research community tends to be at the forefront of necessarily interdisciplinary research, bridging both worlds.

In the spirit of fostering such bridging, the UKERC has drawn up a report listing the UK research projects that involved a significant focus on the social side of energy issues. The research being conducted covers a vast array of socio-economic phenomena at various levels and areas, within different facets of the energy system. The resulting research landscape is very diverse and contains outputs relevant to both industry and government.