As part of an emerging research collaboration, Megan Davies, PhD Candidate at the CST, recently spent a week in March at the Urban Futures Studio at Utrecht University in the Netherlands.

The Urban Futures Studio is a newly formed cross-disciplinary institute led by Prof. Maarten Hajer. It aims to improve the interaction between academic insights and the challenges we face in coping with the future, particularly at the urban level. The Urban Futures Studio is embedded within the Faculty of Geosciences and collaborates closely with the research groups within this faculty. It wants to take the lead in in the study and development of new practices that relate to environmental, social, economic and political challenges within the urban field.

The visit was an opportunity to further engagements between the Renewable Energy for Transitions research group at the CST, and the UFS. As well as working on joint research proposals and publications, Megan had the opportunity to present her PhD research to a wider group, including guests from the Utrecht Sustainability Institute, the Green Office and the Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning at Utrecht University. Her presentation introduced the overall research focus of the RE4T which she coordinates and where a growing network of researchers are committed to investigating the developmental impacts of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme in South Africa. She also shared initial reflections from transdisciplinary research engagements between May 2016 and April 2017, with a closer focus on the urban and spatial implications of distributed renewable energy infrastructure.

The group looks forward to what this exciting research coloration holds!