Energy, environment and us - Circular economy and the role of citizens

The first “Energy & Environment Clustering Event”, hosted by Durham Energy Institute at Durham University and facilitated by the EUA Energy & Environment Platform, focused on the need for new skills and knowledge for the energy and climate transition. It also highlighted the crucial mindset change needed to increase efficiency in the use of raw materials and reduce harmful emissions. The concept of the circular economy and the important role of consumers was addressed. 

More photos are available here.







In recent months, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has strongly evidenced a global climate emergency and a need for a strengthened global response (special report, October 2018). More recently, the 24th United Nations climate change conference (COP24) focused on the implementation of the Paris Agreement (2016) and on advancing the Talanoa dialogue, initiated by the Fijian presidency of COP23 in 2017. Negotiated pledges from countries are unlikely to restrain global warming to 1.5 °C, which will be disastrous for the planet.

The university sector has a wealth of expertise on this topic. It is providing evidence that climate change is happening and developing innovation needed to address it. Universities are also skilling-up the next generation of scientists, engineers, social scientists and informed consumers and citizens. Universities and policy makers must engage in greater dialogue and understanding so that decisions are informed by current knowledge and understanding.

At the European level, the introduction of mission-oriented research and innovation in Horizon Europe seeks increased societal benefits of science and innovation, and to include stakeholder groups in the process. Themes discussed for missions notably include the fields of climate change and societal transformation; and carbon neutrality and smart cities. Based on the themes of circular economy and the role of consumers, the event will therefore support the EUA Energy & Environment Platform’s work in providing inputs into the design and operation of R&I missions, and support universities to take part in them.

Registration was free of charge.

For more information, please contact

The event was organised back-to-back with the DEI Annual Research Symposium:

Durham Energy Institute Annual Research Symposium - 10 Year Anniversary -
Where Energy Meets People
25 September 2019

Durham Energy Institute’s headline remit throughout the ten years since its foundation has been ‘science and society’.
DEI promotes world-leading science, social science, humanities and engineering, and has now grown into an internationally leading institution, recognised for its ability to apply new methods and perspectives to existing and emerging energy challenges. By unlocking research synergies between different disciplines and sectors, DEI aimes to produce major breakthroughs in our understanding of how to best meet the energy demands of the future.
The symposium includeded a Keynote speech from Brent Cheshire, former Country Chairman of Ørsted, a panel discussion on ‘Energy Matters & Energy Concerns’, a showcase of DEI research, breakout workshops and a three-minute thesis competition.
This free symposium was open to academics, industry specialists, policy makers, energy planners, funders and energy professionals as well as community groups, students and the general public. 


About Durham

Durham imagesDurham is a quintessential old English university city, where the famous Castle and Cathedral - together designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site - dominate the skyline. They stand alongside each other on a prominent hill top site and encircled by the wooded slopes of the meandering River Wear. Durham Cathedral, built in 1023 to house the Shrine of St Cuthbert, is renowned for its magnificent Romanesque architecture, and is now home to the world-class Open Treasure exhibition.
The Norman Castle overlooks the medieval City of Durham with its fascinating winding cobbled streets and nearby is the Palace Green Library, which holds Durham University’s special collection, displaying treasures spanning millennia and the globe.

Durham waterfallFor peace and tranquillity escape to Durham University Botanic Gardens, the beautiful River Wear riverbanks or the stunning gardens of Crook Hall, a medieval manor house built in 1217 and one of the oldest inhabited houses in the city. The surrounding area boasts some wonderful attractions for visitors. Within easy reach of the city are Beamish Museum, a living, working museum, show-casing the history of North East England, and beautiful walking routes in the Durham Dales.


© Copyright Visit County Durham

Kindly hosted by the Durham Energy Institute at Durham University 

Durham Energy Institute Full Colour








Facilitated by the EUA Energy & Environment Platform 

 logo april 2018




I am delighted that, together with the EUA Energy and Environment Platform, Durham University is hosting the inaugural Energy and Environment Clustering Event.

We are a global university, committed to undertaking research and education that supports and progresses the UN Sustainable Development Goals. We actively seek out partnerships with academia, industry and policymakers to help realise the potential of our work.

The Durham Energy Institute recognises that energy challenges transcend the conventional boundaries of academic disciplines and, in response, has developed an interdisciplinary approach to deliver pioneering research and novel solutions.

At the Energy and Environment Clustering Event experts from over 17 universities across Europe will come together to explore the role of research, education and training in finding solutions to the energy and climate challenges the world faces.

We look forward to welcoming you to Durham in September to be part of this forward-thinking, collaborative event, to help understand how academic institutions can help achieve a carbon-neutral society.

Claire O’Malley, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Global) of Durham University 

© Copyright Durham University


Address of the conference venue

Ken Wade Lecture Theatre
Calman Learning Centre, Science Site
South Road
Durham, DH1 3LE
United Kingdom

Practical Information & Accommodation

Consult our Practical Information document on how to get to the venue, where to stay, as well as a list of things to know before coming to Durham.


For further information, please contact the EUA Team at


Photo© Durham University

The role of the scientific committee is to advise on strategic developments of the conference programme as well as oversee the overall quality of the approved activities (e.g. side visit(s), conference format etc).

Scientific committee members

Douglas Halliday, Durham University, Chair EUA Energy & Environment Platform
Torbjørn Digernes, Honorary Member, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, former Chair EUA Energy & Environment Platform
Mihaela Albu, Politehnica University of Bucharest
Lidia Borrell-Damián, European University Association
Johan Driesen, KU Leuven
Chris Foulds, Anglia Ruskin University
Paulien Herder, TU Delft
Barbara Koch, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
Fabrice Lemoine, Université de Lorraine
Wim Melis, Greenwich University
Linda Steg, University of Groningen
Gernot Stöglehner, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna
Grégoire Wallenborn, Université libre de Bruxelles


13.00-14.00       Science and Policy for the energy and climate transition | Ken Wade Lecture Theatre CLC203

Prof. Benjamin Sovacool, Professor of Energy Policy and Director of the Sussex Energy Group, University of Sussex

Chair: Prof. Barbara Koch, University of Freiburg


14.00-14.30 Presentation of the EUA Energy and Environment Platform | Ken Wade Lecture Theatre

Dr Douglas Halliday, Chair of the Platform


14.30-15.30 How social sciences can contribute to energy and environment sustainability | Ken Wade Lecture Theatre Prof. Linda Steg, University of Groningen, Department of Psychology 

Chair: Prof. Johan Driesen, KU Leuven


16.00-17.30 Universities as key actors in research, education and innovation towards the energy andclimate transition


Session 1 - Students engagement | Conference room Palatine Centre

- Mr Sam Cross, Aalto University: “Aalto Advanced Energy Project Course: A showcase of student and industry collaboration to solve business problems with societal impact”

- Dr Andrew Wright, De Montfort University: “Students Achieving Valuable Energy Savings (SAVES 2)”

- Mr Vebjørn Bakken, University of Oslo: “CityStudio Oslo: Student-City Interaction”

Chair: Prof. Linda Steg, University of Groningen



Session 2 – Interplay between education and research | Conference room Palatine Centre

-  Ms Lien Van Schepdael, KU Leuven: “Digital education facilitating interdisciplinary research”

- Prof. Juan Jesús Pérez González, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya: “Developing an educational environment to help lecturers and students for the transition to a new energy model”

- Prof. Maarten Arentsen, University of Twente: “Co-operative Education and Training formats: The BioEnergyTrain Experience”

Chair: Prof. Mihaela Albu, Politehnica University of Bucharest


Session 3 – Energy transitions at local level | Conference room Palatine Centre

- Prof. Sandra Bell, Durham University: “The Treasure Beneath Your Home: Public Inclusion in the Development of Geothermal Heat and Power”

- Prof. Barbara Koch, University of Freiburg: “Development of trinational systemic research and teaching activities on progressive concepts for region with renewable energies”

- Mr Connor McGookin, University College Cork: “A transdisciplinary approach to energy system modelling; Case Study on the Dingle Peninsula: Dingle 2030“

Chair: Prof. Fabrice Lemoine, Université La Lorraine


Session 4 – Engagement of stakeholders in education, training and research activities | Conference room Calman Learning Centre

- Prof. Tanja Winther, University of Oslo: “Establishing ‘INCLUDE’ as a transdisciplinary research centre on environmentally friendly energy in Norway: reflections on the process towards successful proposal – and some challenges ahead”

- Dr Maria Salaru, Durham University: “People-centered development: a collaborative approach to energy transitions”

- Prof. Gernot Stöglehener, Universität für Bodenkultur Wien: “Integrated Spatial and Energy Planning – From Idea to Implementation in the Austrian Province Styria”

Chair: Dr Wim Melis, Greenwich University


Session 5 – Transfer of knowledge in the transition towards a Circular Economy | Conference room Calman Learning Centre

- Prof. Jesus Rosales Carreon, Utrecht University: “Assessing sustainability implications of circular strategies within the building sector”

- Dr Karita Luokkanen-Rabetino, University of Vaasa: “Strategizing under highly regulated conditions: Lessons from university- waste refinery collaborations in the circular economy context”

- Prof. Andriy Kytaiev, National University “Kyiv-Mohyla Academy” - NaUKMA: “Clean- Tech Clusters Development for Local Communities” (Presentation by Skype)

Chair: Prof. Paulien Herder, Delft University of Technology



8.45-9.45 Delivering innovation for sustainability and net zero emissions target | Ken Wade Lecture Theatre

- Prof. Mercedes Maroto-Valer, Associate Principal (Global Sustainability), Director of the Research Centre for Carbon Solutions (RCCS), Buchan Chair in Sustainable Energy Engineering, Heriot-Watt University

Chair: Prof. Fabrice Lemoine, Université de Lorraine



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