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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/R007403/1
Title: Adaptive Decision Making for Urban Energy Transformation
Principal Investigator: Roelich, Dr K
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Arup Group Ltd Leeds City Council UCL
University of Oxford West Yorkshire Combined Authority
Department: School of Earth and Environment
Organisation: University of Leeds
Scheme: EPSRC Fellowship
Starts: 01 October 2017 Ends: 30 September 2023 Value (£): 825,888
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Energy Efficiency Urban & Land Management
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Environment Energy
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
11 Apr 2017 Environmental Change Challenge Fellowships - Full Proposals Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The government's advisor on infrastructure decision making, the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC), has identified that there is a need for decision support tools which incorporate decisions taken by multiple decision makers, at multiple scales and in different infrastructure systems. This fellowship will specifically respond to that need. A number of tools and approaches exist, which aim to help decision makers to understand and manage the uncertainties associated with long-term decisions. These uncertainties include the effects of interaction between infrastructure systems and of social and environmental change. However, most tools and approaches assume that there is one decision maker with clearly defined objectives and that their preferences stay the same over time. The interaction between different decision makers (or actors as they are often called) is an additional uncertainty that is rarely recognised. However, it is becoming increasingly important as we try to transition infrastructures more rapidly and as new technologies and ways of working are forcing closer interaction between infrastructures and decision makers.

This fellowship will develop a multi-actor, adaptive approach to decision making based on long-term planning approaches developed to support decisions in the face of social and environmental change. The new approach will allow decision makers to also consider uncertainty associated with constraints from decision making at other scales and in other systems. It will develop accessible methods to analyse interactions between decision makers and to identify activities required to transform infrastructure that reflect and capitalise on these interactions. It will develop rapid and transparent modelling methods to help analyse how decision maker interactions affect the successful implementation of activities and how this contributes to infrastructure transformation. It will apply these methods and models to case studies to develop long-term but adaptable plans for infrastructure transformation. The outputs of decision maker analysis methods and modelling will be used to create adaptable pathways of activities that can transform infrastructure but also respond to social and environmental change or constraints from other decision makers. The combination of methods and models to create adaptable pathways is the multi-actor, adaptive decision making approach, which is the main output of this fellowship.

I will develop the methods, models and overarching approach using urban energy as a test-case. Both the Committee on Climate Change and the NIC have identified that transforming urban energy systems is essential to the UK's sustainable development and is urgently in need of long-term decision support, which makes it a timely and nationally important test-case. However, the potential for cities to deliver this transformation is stifled by decisions taken at national, regional and household scales and in other infrastructure systems. This makes it very difficult for cities to engage with the energy system in the way that could deliver on their social, environmental and economic objectives.

I will use three case studies of urban energy; two in the UK and one in a less developed country, working closely with real decision makers and using participatory techniques to ensure that the approach and models are both robust and relevant. I will set up a Local Infrastructure Commission, to identify how city activity could be better co-ordinated locally and with national actors. The approaches and tools developed will have relevance to other infrastructure systems, beyond energy, and in other contexts, beyond the UK.

The fellowship comes at a crucial time in my career, and I am ready to dedicate significant time and resources to building an evidence base and research group, which are essential to developing my thought leadership and research influence in academia, policy and industry at the international level.

Key Findings
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Organisation Website: http://www.leeds.ac.uk