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Over the summer, SHAPE ENERGY (Social Sciences and Humanities for Advancing Policy in European Energy) launched a number of funding opportunities with deadlines coming up, hence this mini newsletter.

Please do forward on to others who may be interested; sign up to receive future SHAPE ENERGY newsletters here.  For those of you on twitter, keep updated via @ShapeEnergyEU.
  1. Call for Abstracts – SHAPE ENERGY Think Piece Collection
  2. Call for Abstracts – SHAPE ENERGY Research Design Challenge
  3. Funded internships for social science/humanities PhDs into H2020 energy/transport projects
  4. H2020 project hosts for PhD internships
1. CALL FOR ABSTRACTS – SHAPE ENERGY Think Piece Collection (up to €3750 available per team of 3)
Visions for the Energy Union: Driving future energy policy through better integration of Social Sciences and Humanities

For too long energy-related Social Sciences and Humanities (energy-SSH) research has been overlooked as an evidence base for energy policy. Consequently, the European Commission (EC) are keen to more centrally utilise insights from energy-SSH, to complement and/or contrast with the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathemathics (STEM) disciplines that have dominated energy policymaking to date. This has led to EC calls for more policy-relevant energy-SSH research, as well as promotion of greater interdisciplinarity in energy (policy) research. Such moves are hoped to assist in fulfilling its European Energy Union ambitions, which involve: connecting national energy infrastructures; improving energy security; reducing energy use by ≥27% by 2030; and reducing emissions by ≥40% by 2030; to name only a few headlines.

In these contexts, the SHAPE ENERGY Platform is funding around eight interdisciplinary and cross-European written contributions – of around 3,000-4,000 words each – that explore, critique and showcase the ways that different disciplinary approaches can (and should be) integrated for the betterment of future EU energy policy. Up to 3,750 is available to support these written collaborations. The resulting Think Piece Collection will intentionally treat the notion of ‘integration’ broadly, thus contributions are welcome that span differences both within SSH, but also across the SSH and STEM divide. Whilst a central thread of the collection will be EU energy policy, the basis for each piece’s discussion need not be at the EU-level (e.g. can use regional/national experiences). Furthermore, we particularly welcome contributions that suggest directions (even if intentionally idealistic) for future academia-policy interactions. Examples of relevant energy-related themes include (but are not limited to):
  • What is unique to the ‘energy’ problem(s) in matters of integration?
  • What exactly is ‘successful’ integration, and what is it that is being ‘integrated’ (e.g. disciplines, ontologies, approaches, etc.)?
  • What are disciplines, how do they emerge, and with what implications for energy policy?
  •  At what stage of the research process does/should integration typically begin and with what implications, e.g. during problem definition, research design planning, data analysis, etc.?
  • Energy-related project experiences of (not) integrating the Social Sciences and Humanities (well).
  • Experiences of integration in energy-related project planning, proposal writing, and in general interactions with the Horizon 2020 energy work programmes and other EU funding programmes.
  • Crucially, the ontological practicalities of bringing together contrasting theoretical perspectives, including overviews of how theories may be innovatively integrated for the benefit of policy.
  • Novel tools that have been developed and/or underutilised in the pursuit of integration.
  • Dominance of disciplines, including overcoming traditional sub-ordination of SSH to STEM.
  • What do policymakers want from integration of energy-SSH, and how does this compare to academics’ expectations?
  • How do policymakers respond to the outcomes/outputs of integration, which e.g. may provide further complexity?
  • A future vision for the academic system, e.g. regarding policy interactions, researcher positionality, interdisciplinarity, etc.
  • SSH critiques (including outlines of alternatives) of key EU energy policy documents, such as those associated with the Strategic Energy Technology Plan or 2030 Energy Strategy.
  • What are the energy-SSH priorities, or perhaps most meaningful ways of identifying such priorities, for energy-related funding in the EU Framework Programme 9 (planned to run post-Horizon 2020, across 2021-2028)?

If you have any queries, please feel free to contact the editors before submission of a proposal: Dr Chris Foulds (, Dr Rosie Robison ( and Lenke Balint (, Global Sustainability Institute, Anglia Ruskin University, UK.

Submit abstract (and the proposal form) by 5pm (BST) on Friday 6 October 2017, via the above email addresses.

Eligibility: Please note that each abstract submission must include at least three collaborators, covering at least three SSH disciplines and at least two Horizon 2020 eligible countries.

Further details are available here, including an indicative timeline, full information on eligibility, funding guidelines, and the proposal form. Note also that discussions are underway with prospective publishers about the Think Piece Collection being published as an open access edited book, and that once completed the Collection will be submitted to the EC’s strategy unit for energy research and innovation.

2.  CALL FOR ABSTRACTS– SHAPE ENERGY Research Design Challenge (Up to €2,500 available per team of 2)
Control, Change and Capacity-Building in Energy Systems

European and worldwide energy policy and research are largely influenced by knowledge and disciplines from Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Yet the challenges energy transitions entail concern social patterns as well, like individual or organisational behaviour and their management. These issues are covered by energy-related Social Sciences and Humanities (energy-SSH) disciplines. In fact, according to the European Commission (EC) Horizon2020 work programme on energy, knowledge from numerous fields of research is necessary to realise the ambitious goals of energy transitions concerning emissions reductions, renewable energy shares and the concomitant changes in social organisation. In what ways different energy-SSH disciplines design a research challenge related to overarching energy research problems is the objective of this call. Ultimately, it aims at inferring consequences for multi- and interdisciplinary energy-SSH research that serves both the academic and energy policy community.

Therefore, the SHAPE ENERGY platform, represented herein by the partner institution Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS), invites European SSH researchers to take part in our ‘Research Design Challenge’. This challenge contains three sub-challenges framed as social science research problems on energy relating to control, change and capacity-building in energy systems (see below). The Research Design Challenge is an attempt to deepen our understanding of interdisciplinarity by analysing how different social sciences and humanities disciplines research the same scientific problem. Across multiple SSH disciplines, up to 15 teams of at least 2 researchers from at least 2 European countries will be selected and funded with up to € 2.500 to foster collaboration (funded to cover travel to meet up). In the wake of current EC initiatives, applications to this call for abstracts could be, among others, appealing for researchers who plan on follow-up applications with H2020 or EU-related programmes like COST or Marie Skłodowska-Curie, for instance. We seek your application for an eventual 3.000-4.000 words paper on one of these challenges if you are researching in one of the following SSH disciplines: Business; Communication Studies; Criminology; Demography; Development; Economics; Environmental social science; Education; Gender; History; Human geography; Law; Linguistics/languages; Philosophy; Planning (architecture); Politics; Psychology; Science/tech studies; Sociology; Social anthropology; Social innovation; Social policy; Theology. However we note that it is fine to include SSH disciplines from outside this list.  


For the Research Design Challenge, we are interested in your theories, methods and approaches to an energy related research problem from your disciplinary point of view (see list above to qualify). The prerequisite is that you find at least one more partner (individual[s] from European academic institution[s]) from a different European country (H2020 eligible countries) to collaborate on the challenge. The challenge itself is kept relatively general in order for many potential researches being able to connect to it. They relate to the overarching research problems of control, change and capacity-building in energy systems from a social science and humanities perspective (concept and concomitant challenges based on: Büscher/Sumpf 2015, see website download for details). Please consider the following three sub-challenges to relate to:

·        Challenge A:  From your (disciplinary) point of view, how would you approach the (research and real-world) problem of control in future energy systems? What theories and methods would you apply to research this problem? What approaches would you suggest to act upon this problem?

·        Challenge B:  From your (disciplinary) point of view, how would you approach the (research and real-world) problem of stability and change toward future energy systems? What theories and methods would you apply to research this problem? What approaches would you suggest to act upon this problem?

·        Challenge C: From your (disciplinary) point of view, how would you approach the (research and real-world) problem of capacity-building, i.e. fostering the actions necessary to realise consumer involvement? What theories and methods would you apply to research this problem? What approaches would you suggest to act upon this problem?

Deadline for applications is October 6th, 2017. Please send your application and any questions prior to submission to Patrick Sumpf, ITAS/KIT, Germany (

Eligibility: Please note that each abstract submission must include at least two collaborators, covering between them a single or multiple academic disciplines, and at least two Horizon 2020 eligible countries.

Further details are available here, including elaborate details on the challenges, an indicative timeline, full information on eligibility, and funding guidelines. Note also that the Research Design Challenges will be published online (open access), and that once completed the Collection will be submitted to the EC’s strategy unit for energy research and innovation.

3. Funded internships for social science/humanities PhDs into H2020 energy/transport projects (Up to  €1,030 available per PhD researcher)
What is the SHAPE ENERGY internship programme:

SHAPE ENERGY (Social sciences & Humanities for Advancing Policy in European Energy) is a new €2m European platform for energy-related social sciences and humanities (energy-SSH). In funding this project, the European Commission is supporting better integration of energy-SSH into the policy process; in recent years energy policymaking has tended to be driven by Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines. As part of the SHAPE ENERGY project, 20 energy-SSH early-stage researchers will have the opportunity to undertake internships into 10 Horizon 2020 energy projects. Working in pairs (2 researchers per project), and supported by travel bursaries, they will work with project partners over 2-4 week placements. These placements are an opportunity for host and interns to reflect on how to help social sciences and humanities work become embedded into existing energy initiatives to maximise impact, and the role of interdisciplinary working in energy.
When: The placements will take place from September 2017 into early 2018, depending on availability of the researcher/host.

Eligibility: To participate, you must be enrolled in a European university

Funding: Travel bursaries (of up to 1.030€ for travel & accommodation) will be provided to each PhD researcher participating in the internship programme.

To apply: For more information, and to apply, please contact Dr. Delphine Burguet ( and Dr. Nathalie Ortar ( There are currently only four remaining places, so apply soon to avoid disappointment.



Internship tasks:
Exact details of internship tasks will be confirmed through discussion between host, PhD researcher, and internship coordinator ENTPE prior to the start of each placement. PhD researchers may for example:
  • undertake additional analysis of collected data;
  • reach out to SSH researchers who may be interested in the project;
  • interview project partners and stakeholders to help evaluate the project;
  • attend consortium meetings, and observe cross-partner working.
A flavor of initial ideas are also indicated below, within some host descriptions.
4.  H2020 project hosts for PhD internships
HERON - Forward-looking socio-economic research on energy efficiency in EU countries.
Host contact: Dimitrios Mavrakis, KEPA (Energy Policy & Development Centre), Athens (Greece)

Possible internship areas: Participating in the project conferences (Milan / Athens). Involvement in writing papers on HERON results. Evaluating how HERON incorporated the barriers due to the behavior of end-users towards energy efficiency within energy modelling.

REFLEX - Analysis of the European energy system under the aspects of flexibility and technological progress.
Host contact: Elisabeth Ekener, KTH, Stockholm (Sweden)

Possible internship areas: Bringing new relevant SSH perspectives to the social assessments of the future energy scenarios generated by REFLEX. Complementing their current assessment method (Social Life Cycle Assessment) with other methodologies from the social sciences, especially to better address social impacts on users of energy.

ISAAC - Increasing Social Awareness and ACceptance of biogas and biomethane.
Host contact: Drigo Serena, AzzeroCO2, Rome (Italy)

Possible internship areas: Additional analysis and testing of ISAAC data on the evaluation of biogas/biomethane production and its socio-economic impacts. Interviewing project partners and stakeholders to help evaluate the project. Analysing the crowdfunding aspects of the project, as well as acceptability of a new biogas plant.

START2ACT - Supporting young SMEs and startups to save energy and cut costs at their workplace.
Host contact: Daniel Frohnmaier, Geonardo, Budapest (Hungary)

MOBILITY4EU - Action plan for the future of mobility in Europe
Host contact: Thierry Coosemans, Electric Engineering and Energy Technology Dept, MOBI (Mobility, Logistics and Automotive Technology Research Centre), Brussels (Belgium)

SocialCar - Open social transport network for urban approach to carpooling.
Host contact: Fabio Cartolano FiT Consulting, Rome (Italy)

EMPOWER - Empowering a reduction in use of conventionally fueled vehicles using Positive Policy Measures.
Host contact: Dieter Hirdes, Smart Innovation Norway, Halden (Norway)

SATELLITE - Support action towards evaluating, learning, local innovation, transfer and excellence.
Host contact: Yannick Bousse, UITP (Union Internationale des Transports Publics), Brussels (Belgium)
Copyright © 2017 SHAPE ENERGY, All rights reserved.

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