EAGA grants now offered


Eaga Charitable Trust invites applications for its postgraduate bursary awards. These encourage graduate students to research and write dissertations related to the causes and impacts of, and solutions to, fuel poverty issues in the EU. The subject of research needs to demonstrate direct relevance and application to UK fuel poverty policy.
Current master’s students and those with a confirmed place on a master’s course during the next academic year are eligible to apply as are PhD students in the second or third year of study. All applicants should be based in the EU.
A maximum of three bursaries worth £2,000 are available.

Energy and Tango?

A blogpost from Silvina Zublena, Environmental Engineer from Buenos Aires, Argentina

tangoIn my recent visit to Durham University I attended the Energy, Society and Practices Intensive course, which was organized by Durham´s Energy Institute. Surprisingly, after the final lecture was over I could only think about one thing and that’s TANGO!

TANGO is a partner type of dance, very typical in Argentina, the country where I come from. In order to dance tango, two dancers have to synchronize their movements in a close embrace to move from point A to point B.

This certainly reminded me of Energy Practices and the Social Contexts and how, just like TANGO dancers, these two should be articulated together towards a better understanding of energy use and consequently allowing to find solutions for energy-related issues.

The thread that united all the dissertations within the program was the need to link these two worlds, for there is no energy project that can be reliable, sustainable or successful by only paying attention to the technical and financial aspects of it, rather than also including the culture, habits, location or even the geography of the society that is going to embrace it.

We learnt through the course that this argument could be as applicable to a small scale program such as a rural biogas digester in Nepal as to a large scale energy grid transition to wind in the European Union.

I would definitely like to participate in more courses like this coming forward, not only to be able to hear such a wonderful selection of lecturers on the most diverse Energy related analysis but also to share experiences and inputs with other fellow students coming from all sorts of backgrounds, just like I did this time. What a wonderful and nourishing experience it has been!

One final thought: Energy Use and Sustainability; Social practices and Resource use; Engineers and Anthropologists. I certainly think these would be some interesting dancing partners worth to watch in the near future. After all, it takes 2 to TANGO!

Where are they now? An occasional series on MSc graduates. 1. Luke Garrett

Luke was one of the first students to join the MSc Energy and Society. Here, he tells us a little about his subsequent career at NEA:

Class of 2013

Class of 2013

“I joined National Energy Action, the UK’s leading fuel poverty charity, as a Research Assistant two months after finishing the MSc Energy and Society course in 2014.

My dissertation focused on how microgeneration technologies (solar photovoltaics and air source heat pumps) might be used in the social housing sector to help alleviate fuel poverty. The research was a great focal point for me to refer to throughout my interview for the position at NEA.

Initially, I was involved with projects such as the evaluation of the npower Fuel Bank™ – which involves giving food bank service users a fuel voucher for their prepayment meter when they receive a food parcel. I was also involved in a socio-technical appraisal of multi-storey buildings in Newcastle in order to identify how these structures might be made more sustainable, and improve the quality of life for residents as a result.

In July 2016 I was promoted to Research and Policy Officer here at NEA, and my first lead project is the evaluation of a National Grid Gas Network pilot scheme which aims to ensure vulnerable households are reconnected to their gas supply (following the disconnection of a condemned gas appliance) as quickly as possible. This project is still in the early stages and evaluation is yet to start.”

A Socio-Technical Turbine


Inspecting the archimedes screw turbine at Freeman’s Reach

In bright sunshine today, we visited the hydro-electric turbine at Freeman’s Reach in central Durham. Students who have recently completed the course met new students, and we had a good look at the turbine.



site-visit in 2014

Things have certainly moved on since MSc students visited the site in 2014, when construction was in full flow. Then we saw the concrete channels being constructed and heard about the building of the ‘bat hotel’ under the site. Today the turbine is installed and commissioned, but a dry summer meant there was no action for us to see. We’ll look forward to coming back another day.

discussing turbines!

We an also look forward to the students taking over the blog very soon!

Why this course is ‘just fantastic’

My name is Suki Ferris, and I have just completed the Energy and Society MSc. I couldn’t be happier with this choice of Masters.grad-1

I have been privileged to gain an in-depth understanding of the current energy market, in addition to gaining insight within potential future sources of energy. This knowledge has been founded upon a thorough understanding of previous energy systems, that have shaped our present energy reality.
The intensive teaching weeks of this course have been truly eye-opening. I have learned so much about human energy consumption, with emphasis placed upon the cultural, historical, political, and economic explanation of how and why we attain energy. The course seminars allow for intensive discussions of specific energy related topics, where the international diversity and work experience of classmates and professors added original perspective.

The world of energy is changing, and it is changing rapidly. It has been inspiring to be part of a class that is passionate about understanding the nature of these changes. I am leaving this course with an overwhelming sense of hope that the future of energy is going to be creative, diverse, sustainable, and with this newly gained knowledge, I am going to help shape that future.

Research by MSc students now available

While MSc students get their heads down to finish their dissertations, I’m stepping in to the blog to tell you about the group research reports they have produced for the ‘field study’ module. Each group worked with an external organisation to produce a professional report, and I’m very pleased to say that these are now available for you to download.

Suki Ferris, Zoe Respondek and Ahmed Bokash worked with the Chilton community to evaluate the investment potential for geothermal energy.

Ije Achara, Seun Akinsoji, Ellis-Anne Dunmall, Alex Hill & Weni Igirigi worked with National Energy Action to investigate the impact of the end of the governmental ‘Green Deal’ energy improvement scheme.

For more information, and to read the reports, follow this link to the DEI website: MSc research papers now online

Do remember to keep up with DEI news via the university’s DEI website, and read all about the forthcoming events such as the annual DEI Symposium on 30 September 2016, which you are very welcome to attend.