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Durham University

Department of Anthropology


Publication details for Dr Ben Campbell

Brown, Ed, Campbell, Ben, Cloke, Jon, To, Long Seng, Turner, Britta & Wray, Alistair (2018). Low carbon energy and international development: from research impact to policymaking. Contemporary Social Science 13(1): 112-127.

Author(s) from Durham


Few areas of international development research have seen as much transformation over recent years as those relating to energy access and low carbon transitions. New policy initiatives, technological innovations and business models have radically transformed the configuration and dynamics of the sector, driven by the urgency of ongoing climate change. This article asks how, given these rapidly moving contexts, policymakers can engage with research at different scales to gather evidence needed for effective decision-making, particularly within the context of the frequently opposing aims of increasing energy access and climate change mitigation. The authors trace the general debates around how research impact is conceived within different constituencies, before exploring the relationship between policymakers, the academic community and other stakeholders within the specific context of energy and international development research. Drawing on cross-cutting lessons from thirteen research projects funded by UK research councils and government under the Understanding Sustainable Energy Solutions programme, they examine critically ways in which impact and engagement have been conceived by both researchers and research funders. They ask how those lessons can feed into the design of future initiatives to make low carbon transitions meaningful as pathways for inclusive development in communities in Africa and Asia.