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Durham University

Durham Energy Institute


DEI project chosen as exemplar to spotlight 30 years of Erasmus funding

(17 November 2017)

The Erasmus Plus PEOPLE Project, which is running within Durham Energy Institute’s MSc Energy and Society programme (2016-19), has been selected to be one of a range of projects to feature in the Erasmus+ 30th anniversary campaign: In the spotlight: Quality in teaching and learning as an example of quality in teaching and training in Europe. 

 “It is a great honour to be chosen as one of 10 projects showcasing a European programme that has been running for 30 years and through its projects has enriched the lives of more than 9 million direct participants, and we are proud to represent Durham University at the heart of a European collaborative educational programme’ “ said Professor Abram, co-Director of the DEI and project lead for Durham. 


PEOple-centred development approaches in Practical and Learning Environments /

This exciting new project, funded through the Erasmus+ Programme, brings together Higher Education Institutions from the social sciences with Industries from the sustainable living and energy sector to develop people-centred development approaches to the design of products and services. At the core of the project is the idea that understanding people should become an indispensable part of industrial development processes as well as new categories of products, services, or business strategies that truly address people’s needs and lead to sustainable innovation. At the same time, this approach offers a means to achieve practical-based education in the social sciences and humanities.

The project has teams in four different countries across Europe consisting of an industry partner and a higher education partner:



The PEOPLE project addresses the needs of both graduates and companies: Energy industries benefit through improved products, services and processes and developing innovation in rapidly evolving technology. Graduates apply the skills learned through their training primarily in sociology, psychology and anthropology to real-life and work situations, enhancing their skills and employability prospects. The project will have long-lasting impact on Higher Education Institutions and society at large by improving the relevance of social science teaching and research.

According to PEOPLE project coordinator Gregor Cerinsek, ‘We think that meaningful products and services in the sustainable living and energy sectors can only be developed with the people who use them.’ Read the rest of the Erasmus Campaign spotlight article on the PEOPLE project.


Energy Masters students at Durham  have the opportunity to take part in the project as a module of the MSc Energy and Society course. The selected students are working in collaboration with a UK company, Kemuri Ltd to help develop user the company’s current products and services in the field of telecare. Students also take part in project workshop events and exchange visits in one of the participating countries outside the UK.

The project held a two-day workshop  in September in collaboration with ‘CESI’ (Centre for Energy Systems Integration)offering practical advice and guidance on developing collaborations between Higher Education and companies or third sector organisations. The in-depth training had a particular focus on bringing social science research into product design. It addressed how entrepreneurs can be trained, and what kind of collaboration is needed for defining R&D goals, mentoring students, locating expert knowledge, or evaluating outcomes?

Further information about the project and activities can be found at

Professors Sandra Bell and Simone Abram from Durham’s Anthropology department are leading the project from Durham University.