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Durham University

Durham Energy Institute


The Methodologies cross cutting approach has relevance across each of the three DEI research themes.

Enhancing interdisciplinarity

The Methodologies approach starts by considering the interdisciplinary methodologies that are required and are being used within DEI and beyond to carry out energy research. The DEI has pioneered the application of interdisciplinary research on energy with a unique focus on linking societal research to energy technology issues.

Research will also be carried out to develop new methodologies that have the potential to improve the effectiveness of interdisciplinary energy research and to consider the challenges of undertaking comparative work in this field. This area has the potential to draw from, and contribute to, non-energy research challenges.

Collaboration and engagement

Our collaborative approach is changing the way that energy projects have traditionally been viewed with people becoming active participants in shaping the energy supply system of tomorrow. Using critical perspectives which challenge preconceived ideas and prejudices in energy research is central to the DEI approach. Questions of equity, justice and how to actively engage all groups affected by energy technology issues are at the core of the DEI methodological approach.

Our projects are introducing new methodologies and tools capable of ensuring that solutions are more readily and equitably adopted, have fewer unintended consequences and are based on a strong understanding of people’s needs and behaviours.

Projects with a methodological focus

Acting local: methodologies for engaging communities

  • Gilesgate project (Lina Dominelli, Sandra Bell and Tom Henfrey).
  • Building resilience through community action
  • Connection, participation and empowerment
  • Micro-hydro projects (Louise Bracken)
  • Understanding energy vulnerability, resilience and youth transitions (Katherin Horschelmann, H. Bulkeley and Birmingham University).
  • Energy vulnerability in Middlesbrough (H.Bulkeley, S. Banks, Thrive).

New methodologies: Equity, justice and whole systems approaches

  • Low carbon communities and social justice
  • Assessing energy vulnerability and equity
  • CLNR (P.Taylor, S.Bell, H.Bulkeley, S.Lyon)
  • Urban Climate Justice (Harriet Bulkeley and Sara Fuller with Gareth Edwards at St Andrews University).
  • InCluESEV (An interdisciplinary research cluster being led by Durham University, Kings College London and Lancaster University, along with academics from Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh and UEA)

Outreach and engagement

  • Re-engineering the city 2020-50 (Simon Marvin)
  • Urban Low Carbon Transitions: A Comparative International Network – Australia, China, India, South Africa, US and UK (Simon Marvin and Harriet Bulkeley).
  • Smart Urbanism debate and workshop (Prof Simon Marvin).
  • Building on the Past: Interdisciplinary explorations of the intersections between energy, authenticity and the built environment. (T. Yarrow).
  • Biofuels, Science and Society (Bell, Greenwell, Wells, Adcock, Rosenthal, Covey).

New technical monitoring systems, modelling and equipment

  • CLNR
  • Whole Systems Energy Modelling (WholeSEM) (Chris Dent and Prof M. Goldstein)
  • New technology research CENTER in GAS engineering (Prof.Richard Davies)
  • DEI Seminar Series: Use of Quantitative Modelling (Chris Dent)
  • Energy Storage for Low Carbon Grids (Phil Taylor).
  • Pumped thermal electricity storage (Prof Janusz Bialek and Phil Taylor).
  • The UK Carbon Capture and Storage Research Centre (Jon Gluyas).
  • Carbon Storage Monitoring using Muon Tomography (Prof Jon Gluyas).
  • Capacity assessment for the GB Electricity Market (Dr. Chris Dent)