Prize-winning Sustainable Energy Research

BResearchers on the CISE project have been awarded a prize for their work on grassroots innovations and sustainability.

Their work won the ‘best paper’ prize at the 4th International Conference on Sustainability Transitions, held in Zurich, June 19-21 2013, and will be published in a special issue of the journal Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions.

Their paper on ‘A Grassroots Sustainable Energy Niche‘  examines the potential of community-led projects for sustainable energy to contribute to a UK-wide sustainable energy transition. These include energy-saving initiatives such as insulation and efficiency measures, as well as UEA’s own Student Switch-Off, and renewable energy projects such as community-owned windfarms or solar energy generation.

Lead author Gill Seyfang explained: “our research looks at community innovations for sustainability, and we find a great deal of potential at the grassroots level, but there are significant constraints in terms of networking to share best practice and support, lack of resources, and policy support”.

The UK Government is currently consulting on its forthcoming UK Community Energy Strategy, and Seyfang and colleagues will be feeding their research findings in to the policy arena. “We hope to inform policymakers about how they can best understand, support and nurture this emerging and promising community energy sector”, said Seyfang.

Seyfang, G., Hielscher, S., Hargreaves, T., Martiskainen, M. and Smith, A. (2013) A Grassroots Sustainable Energy Niche? Reflections on community energy case studies3S Working Paper 2013-21. (Norwich: Science, Society and Sustainability Research Group.)

The paper is published as a 3S Working paper, and is available from

The research is part of a 3-year project Community Innovation for Sustainable Energy, led by Gill Seyfang at UEA and Adrian Smith at Sussex, and funded by the UK’s Research Councils and French energy utility EdF.