LCEDN experts database: bigger, stronger, worldwide

18 Oct 2018

When the Low Carbon Energy for Development Network (LCEDN) launched in January 2012, it would be fair to say our ambitions for it were limited. We aimed to pioneer hubs at the Durham Energy Institute and Loughborough University. Nonetheless, the LCEDN has grown faster than we could imagine. We act as a platform for academics, practitioners, policy-makers and private sector organisations. They can interact and cooperate on research for low-carbon development all over the UK and in an increasing number of other countries.
From the outset, growing a community has been at the heart of the LCEDN's activities. To do this, the network had first to persuade individuals that they were actually part of a community. And to try and describe it to them. This is where the database of expertise came in. From the first attempts to sift through every UK HEI's web pages, to the current self-populating database.
The database also forms an important part of the transdisciplinary core of the LCEDN community. The energy "trilemma" means it's important to attract beyond academia:
  • Private sector stakeholders,
  • NGO actors, civil society members
  • The policy and government community.
We cannot achieve a global transition to low carbon economies and universal energy access without combining the input of each of these sectors.
© LCEDN Long Seng Discussion Table
Our scope has broadened from the UK to worldwide. Funding from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) focused on UK expertise. Then LCEDN got involved in project work through individual universities and research centres, funded by the Department for International Development (DfID). This meant the network was anxious to attract members from all over the world.
Working across disciplines and sectors makes our network a unique community - and the more important because of that. The database, which is an indispensable tool for describing that community, will continue to evolve as the work and activities of the network evolves. This is something the members can look forward to and take part in. Because a network database, like a work of art, is "never truly finished, merely abandoned…”
Dr Jonathan Cloke is the National Network Manager, LCEDN; Research Associate (Loughborough)