On 15th of June the members of the European platform PERSON met during the Sustainable Energy Week in Brussels and discussed the focus points of the PERSON-platform.
The PERSON-platform, coordinated by Linda Steg from the University of Groningen, was established as a result of the Brussels expert-meeting in June 2014 during the Sustainable Energy Week. This year, the members of the platform made major steps discussing the current state of affairs and where the platform needs to be heading. The platform meeting was accompanied by an official open expert-meeting on “The Human Dimension of Energy Transition”. Organized by the University of Groningen Sustainable Society at Neth-ER.
With speakers from the European Commission and academia from different disciplines, the meeting took place in an inter- and multi-disciplinary setting. After a warm welcome from moderator Monika Zamachowska, keynote speaker Mark O’Malley (an engineer at Dublin University) opened the meeting and got into bridging the gap between technology and social sciences. O’Malley explained the inevitable steps that must be taken to stimulate an integration approach and advocated a much stronger involvement of the social sciences and humanities in energy research.
PERSON-coordinator Linda Steg (University of Groningen) introduced the PERSON platform to the wider audience, it’s goals and its contribution to the EU strategy. Furthermore the importance of the environmental psychology side of sustainable energy transitions was addressed by Steg.
Paul Verhoef, Head of Unit “Renewable energy sources” in DG Research and Innovation (European Commission), got into the importance of SSH-energy research for the EU vision on Energy Transition. Verhoef indicated that he is pleased with the emergence of the PERSON platform. He stated: ‘But don’t do this for us. The one’s that struggle with this are the locals’. He stressed the importance of organization of the SSH community in this field and was positive about the central role that PERSON plays in this respect.
The status of research on sustainable consumption was explained by John Thøgersen, professor of Economic Psychology at Aarhus University. Thøgersen discussed the contribution of different Social Scientists in this domain.
After four inspiring presentations several issues were discussed in further detail in a panel, consisting of Linda Steg (University of Groningen), Paul Verhoef (European Commission), Rob Lawlor (University of Leeds) and Marino Bonaiuto (Sapienza University of Rome). The main focus was on the challenges in the area of the human dimension of a sustainable energy transition, the technological lead in alternative energy and on the research agenda on a European and international level. This lively debate was moderated by Monika Zamochoswka. Topics of the debate were the role and effect of changing energy prices, who to target when it comes to energy transition, from newborn to Industry end-users and the (changing) role of incumbent suppliers of energy, the consumer and (energy) communities.
The event attracted representatives from the European Commission, universities, NGO’s, businesses and SME’s, regional offices and other stakeholder organizations, resulting in a successful and inspiring expert-meeting which brought the PERSON-platform to a higher level. PERSON looks forward to continue its activities and play an active part again in EUSEW 2016.
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