Organisations in ‘non-energy’ sectors – such as building, infrastructure, water and health – have a key role to play in the transition to net zero. However, to achieve this, they need to deal with a number of energy-related challenges.

The discourse and practice of energy transitions has so far been dominated by technical disciplines and is gender-imbalanced; for example, women made up just 14.5% of UK engineers in 2021. Energy SHINES will address these gaps by facilitating partnerships between women Early Career Researchers (ECRs) from energy social science and humanities (SSH) backgrounds and organisations in key non-energy sectors who are undertaking work towards net zero.

Our partner organisations include the UK Government (BEIS UK), the National Health Service (NHS England), Yorkshire Water, Cambridgeshire County Council and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). Our activities are designed to build partnerships between these organisations and researchers who can bring SSH insights to bear on the energy-related challenges they face.


We will begin with a workshop for ECRs designed to provide an overview of our partners’ policy challenges, knowledge gaps and evidence needs with regards to energy. The workshop will include collaborative brainstorming activities where participants will work together to pitch potential solutions to the energy challenges outlined and receive feedback.

We will then fund six women PhD researchers to undertake short placements at each partner organisation, where they will work intensively on a selected energy-related challenge and bring their SSH insights to bear. They will produce two brief reports, one outlining SSH insights on the particular challenges they worked on, and another providing a broader overview relevant to the sector represented by their host organisation.

We will also produce a report on key lessons for future research and approaches to tackling energy challenges in non-energy sectors, plus a series of online publications and blogposts for wider engagement.


Through our activities, we will meet an increasingly urgent need to transfer insights from energy SSH to the complex challenge of energy transitions in ‘non-energy’ organisations, particularly emphasising the insights and expertise of women who remain underrepresented in the sector.

We will generate capacity building and insights for the following groups: 1) non-energy organisations from a range of sectors, each undertaking a transition to net zero; 2) the multidisciplinary energy SSH community, who will benefit from these industry-academia partnerships; 3) women doctoral researchers in energy SSH.