Energy Modelling for All Project Presentation at Diversifying the Energy Sector Event

16 May 2024

The event ‘Diversifying the Energy Sector‘, hosted by UKERC in London on 26 March, aimed to promote Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) outreach to academics and professionals. The event included guest speakers and panel discussions to allow individuals to present examples of EDI from their experience, so that attendees could better understand specific examples of how new EDI initiatives have improved lives and workplaces. These discussions ranged from changing workplace attitudes and recruitment processes to how to develop one’s own attitude for succeeding in developing EDI in an inherently biased environment.

There were several structured and unstructured networking sessions at the event during, where the Energy Modelling for All team (EM4A) was able to discuss how their public engagement events can be improved to promote outreach and become more inclusive. During these sessions, we were able to engage with industry professionals with years of experience, academics, and other stakeholders with a wide variety of backgrounds.

Diversity improves outputs

After a brief introduction of the EM4A project, the discussion began in earnest. A key point of discussion was how more diverse groups improve the quality of their outputs, though the definition of ‘success’ in these instances is key. It was also suggested that to improve the diversity of groups and to reach a wider audience, greater outreach is required. To reach a wider audience and improve participation in EM4A events, it was suggested that events may need to be more targeted to offer more options to those with caring responsibilities. By offering events with a greater range of timing options, it may be possible to improve attendance of those otherwise limited by their schedules.

Highlighting the human stories

Other key points raised included the potential barriers to diversity in energy modelling. Several female attendees raised the issue of the perception of modelling being an ill-defined area that is dominated by men, and of having faced discrimination of some kind in their careers. Suggested solutions to overcome this included inviting female speakers involved in energy modelling to events and publicising their attendance, with the intent of lowering the perceived gender-related barriers that may reduce attendance. Additionally, it was discussed that improving EM4A’s relevance to potential audiences is important, by highlighting the human stories behind the modellers – either through blog posts or other engaging social media posts.

Developing a central resource

Another popular suggestion was to avoid language that is too technical, as this may be off-putting or excluding. Language should focus on the general research or practitioner narratives rather than emphasising the modelling aspect. As we develop our approach to future events, we hope to improve advertising and communication to enable greater inclusivity. Furthermore, we hope to develop a central resource (through the project website), where information on training and skills needed to improve EDI can be easily seen and accessed. We also hope to invite industry professionals to our events to share their experiences and drive greater participation.

Overall, our team found this UKERC event extremely insightful and are thankful to all who gave their time and insights. We are grateful to UKERC for the opportunity to showcase the EM4A project and gain valuable feedback for improving engagement and wider participation for future events.

This blog originally appeared on the Energy Modelling for All Website.