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Education University of Groningen Summer Schools

Multiple Lives of Subsurface in Decarbonization

The political geology/ecology of the subterranean in energy transition
Cerro Pabellon Geothermal Plant, Chile
Cerro Pabellon Geothermal Plant, Chile (Source: Alexander Richter / ThinkGeoEnergy)

The global imperative for decarbonization and energy transition is increasingly framed as a shift towards global land scramble, given the spatially extensive nature of renewables and the divergent land-use patterns these technologies impose. Urgency and intensity of the transformation in the energy sector also has significant implications for the socio-material reconfiguration of subsurface spaces given that the power relations and institutional structures that manage these subterranean spaces are constantly shifting. This summer school, organized in collaboration with HARNESS Project, will dive into the politics of sub/surface spaces in the energy transition with attention to spatialities, materialities and temporalities of subterranean renewable energy (ie. Geothermal), carbon-capture & storage (CCS), and hydrogen storage technologies. We will bring together expertise from political ecology, science and technology studies (STS), spatial sciences and critical geography, anthropology to dive into the key concepts and theories on the politics of the subterranean in energy transition. The summer school, while featuring cutting-edge scholarly debates on the topic, will also involve practitioners and energy justice activists to reflect on their real-life challenges.

The key objectives of this summer school is to:

  • Initiate an international research cooperation on the role of subterranean spaces in energy transition with a focus on geothermal energy and CCS (carbon capture and storage)
  • Creating opportunities for graduate students with a special emphasis on the global South
  • Bring together researchers, practitioners and activists
  • Innovate and experiment with educational formats
Practical information
Dates & location
28 August 2023 - 01 September 2023
Groningen, the Netherlands
Primarily PhD and early career researchers, advanced MA students applications will also be considered.
  • € 300 for general participants
  • € 200 for UG students and ENLIGHT consortium
  • € 450 for practitioners

This summer school is co-financed by HARNESS Project (Promises, pitfalls and spatialization of geothermal energy as a decarbonization strategy, running between 2020-2023) funded by FORMAS Swedish Research Council for Sustainable Development (Project no: 2020-00825). There are 5 (full or partial) grants available for researchers from the global South to cover for tuition, travel and/or accomodation expenses. Please mention in your motivation letter if and why you request a travel grant. Travel grant applicants are required to apply by the early bird deadline (15 April 2023).

Note: An additional 5 euro fee may be applicable for credit card payments.

Academic coordinators

Dr. Ethemcan Turhan




Participants should hold at least a master degree (or be close to finishing this degree) and show affinity to or interest in engaging with energy transition and subterranean spaces.

It is expected that the participants have a sufficient command of the English language to actively participate in the discussions and to present their own work in English.

Learning outcomes

After this course you will be able to:

  1. Develop informed arguments on the socio-spatial conflicts around subsurface decarbonization policies
  2. Formulate new research questions on the verticality of energy transition and contribute to the scholarly debates
  3. Identify and engage with the relevant societal actors of subsurface energy transition
Course schedule

The summer school will feature multiple formats:

  • Physical lectures
  • Round tables
  • Debates
  • City tour/site visits
  • Social events

More information will be available here soon.

Introduction to Lecturers

Dr. Ethemcan Turhan

Dr. Ethemcan Turhan is an assistant professor at the Department of Spatial Planning and Environment, University of Groningen. He was previously a postdoctoral researcher at KTH Environmental Humanities Laboratory, Sweden between 2016 and 2020. His research and teaching interests are situated at the broadly defined field of political ecology with empirical attention to climate justice and energy democracy. He has published widely on environmental conflicts around energy infrastructures, climate mobilities and climate policy. He is the project leader of the project, HARNESS (Harnessing the heat below our feet: Promises, pitfalls and spatialization of geothermal energy as a decarbonization strategy), running between 2021-2023 and funded by Swedish Research Council (FORMAS).


Dr. Rozanne C. Spijkerboer

Dr. Rozanne C. Spijkerboer is a postdoctoral researcher in energy planning at the Department of Spatial Planning and Environment, University of Groningen. Her PhD research focused on integrated energy planning and marine spatial planning with empirical attention to offshore wind energy projects. Her works appeared in scientific journal such as Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions, Energy Research and Social Science and Frontiers in Marine Science among others.


Dr. Johannes Miocic

Dr. Johannes Miocic is assistant professor for geo-energy at the Energy and Sustainability Research Institute Groningen, University of Groningen. He was previously assistant professor for sedimentology and quaternary research at the University of Freiburg, Germany. His research is focused on the utilization of the subsurface in sustainable energy systems, including the safety of subsurface CO2 and hydrogen storage. He also works on improving the understanding of the Groningen gas field, where hydrocarbon extraction has led to reservoir compaction and induced seismicity. He has published widely on the role of secure subsurface storage in the energy transition and was currently lead editor of a Special Publication with the Geological Society of London entitled “Enabling secure subsurface storage in Future Energy Systems”.


Dr. Andreas Roos

Dr. Andreas Roos is a postdoctoral researcher at KTH Environmental Humanities Laboratory (Stockholm, Sweden) and an adjunct lecturer at the Human Ecology Division, Lund University, Sweden. His research and teaching draw from the fields of ecological economics, political ecology, and philosophy of technology. His most recent work focuses on assessing the potential of renewable energy technologies from an interdisciplinary perspective attentive to petroculture and global environmental justice. Andreas’s work in the HARNESS project focuses specifically on the promises and pitfalls of deep geothermal energy technology utilizing the enhanced geothermal systems (EGS) technique.


Sofía Vargas-Payera

Sofía Vargas-Payera is a social researcher from the Andean Geothermal Center of Excellence, CEGA (Chile), and doctoral researcher at the Transdisciplinarity lab at ETH, Zürich. For the last six years she has been working on understanding social and cultural aspects of geothermal energy in Andean context, focusing on Chile. As a member of Women in Geothermal (WING) and Energy Poverty Network (RedPe), she has integrated gender and energy justice approaches in her research and applied projects. She also has published books for children about subsurface elements such as geothermal energy and groundwater.


Dr. Zeynep Oguz

Dr. Zeynep Oguz is an incoming (Autumn 2023) Lecturer in Anthropology at the University of Edinburgh. Currently, she is a Senior Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Lausanne’s Laboratory of Cultural and Social Anthropology (LACS). Between 2019 and 2021, she was a Postdoctoral Fellow in Environmental Humanities at Northwestern University with a joint appointment at the Department of Anthropology. Dr. O─čuz received her Ph.D. in Anthropology in September 2019 at the Graduate Center, the City University of New York. Her writings on the politics of oil, geology, and coloniality in Turkey have appeared in Political Geography, Journal of Cultural Economy, Cultural Anthropology, Platypus, Energy Humanities, and the Middle East Report. She is the co-editor of the forthcoming special issue of Environmental Humanities, “Earth as Praxis: Geology, Power, and the Planetary.”

Application procedure

To apply, kindly fill out the online application form. Please include the following documents with your application:

  • Short CV (max. 2 pages)
  • Letter of motivation, explaining what you hope to learn during the summer school and why this will be important for your academic ambitions (max. 1 page)
  • Title/Abstract of a research presentation (max. 300 words)

Please send your motivation letter and abstract in a single pdf file.

Early-bird deadline: 15 April 2023 (early bird discount 10%). Applicants requiring a Schengen visa to travel to Groningen are required to apply by the early-bird deadline.

Final deadline: 15 May 2023

Selected applicants will be informed by 30 May 2023.

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Last modified:27 March 2023 2.10 p.m.