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Digital illustration of a house as part of a landscape

Energy SHINES (Energy Social sciences and Humanities Insights for Non-Energy Sectors) was funded by the UK Energy Research Centre to bring social sciences and humanities insights to bear on the energy-related challenges faced by ‘non-energy’ sectors as they transition to net-zero, and to do so by foregrounding the voices of women SSH researchers.

Energy SHINES focused exclusively on the work of women working within the social sciences and humanities. Research on energy transitions is almost exclusively centeed on technical disciplines, mostly dominated by men. We brought new voices and perspectives to bear on real-world energy challenges in water, buildings, housing, local and national government, product safety and standards, digital health and travel.

Energy SHINES was a partnership led by Anglia Ruskin University’s Global Sustainability Institute (GSI) in collaboration with the University of Cambridge, working with five external stakeholder organisations: the UK government, the National Health Service, Yorkshire Water, Cambridgeshire County Council, and the Royal Institute of British Architects.

Each of these ‘non energy’ organisations faces significant energy-related challenges as it transitions to net-zero. Each organisation brought a particular challenge to the project. Women doctoral researchers contributed insights from the diverse range of social sciences and humanities (SSH) disciplines, towards addressing this challenge.

We held a one-day Policy Challenges Workshop in February 2023, bringing around 30 women SSH doctoral researchers into conversation with our partners. We facilitated brainstorming around each of the partners’ specific challenges, and groups of workshop attendees reported back with SSH insights, approaches and useful resources. This formed the foundation for more focussed work on each challenge, undertaken by six researchers who completed placements for five weeks within five partner organisations, resulting in the policy briefs below.


In early 2024, UKERC published our policy briefs outlining how SSH insights have contributed to meeting our partners’ energy-related challenges and containing challenge-specific recommendations for our partners and the sectors they represent:

Energy SHINES generated capacity building and insights for other non-energy organisations targeting a transition to net zero, the multidisciplinary energy SSH community, who will benefit from these industry-academia partnerships tackling real-world challenges and women doctoral researchers in energy SSH.

Project team