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WEBINAR | DEC 2017 | Smart Villages Findings on Translating Research into Practice - Bernie Jones


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In September 2017, the Low Carbon Energy for Development Network (LCEDN) held its annual conference on the topic of "Equity and Energy Justice" at Durham University, UK. As a follow-up to this conference, we held two webinars to share highlights from the conference.

The first webinar focussed on energy justice. This month, we examined a second theme from the conference, and focused on questions of how academic research can best have impact at the grassroots of energy access and productive use, how that "knowledge gap" can be closed, and what some of the most effective solutions might be for ensuring that research can be applied effectively and equitably.

The speakers included Practical Action's Sarah Begg, who has been leading a participatory learning study with LCEDN looking at how academic research impacts the grassroots. She will be joined by her colleague from Practical Action's Bangladesh office, Iffat Khan, who will present some of the specific outcomes and experiences of the study in Bangladesh. Finally, the Smart Villages Initiative will share the global perspectives they have been able to gather on bridging academic research and making it relevant to energy access practitioners, entrepreneurs, and rural communities.

Sarah Begg, Global Knowledge and Learning Officer, Practical Action
Iffat Khan, Knowledge and Business Development Specialist, Practical Action Bangladesh
Dr Bernie Jones, Co-Leader, Smart Villages Initiative

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WEBINAR | DEC 2017 | Smart Villages Findings on Translating Research into Practice - Bernie Jones

  2. 2. SMART VILLAGES SMART CITIES 47% of world’s population and 70% of the world’s poor live in rural villages Technological advances Game changing innovations WHY “SMART” IS SMART
  3. 3. THE SMART VILLAGES INITIATIVE Focus: sustainable local energy solutions for rural communities Policy advice: an insightful, ‘view from the frontline’ of the challenges of village energy provision for development, and how they can be overcome Engagement: bringing together the key players: scientists, entrepreneurs, villagers, NGO’s, financers, regulators and policy makers etc:  What are the barriers?  How can they be overcome?  What messages to funders and policy makers?
  4. 4. SIX PRIORITY REGIONS  East Africa  Southeast Asia  South Asia  South America  West Africa  Central America/Caribbean /Mexico ACTIONS/OUTPUTS  >40 workshops/consultations  37 workshop reports  28 policy briefs  15 technical reports  13 webinars  4 research projects/collaborations  >500 presentations  8 international competitions  >70 profiles and case studies  >50 essays and stories  >2000 international network
  5. 5.
  6. 6. RESEARCH AND PRACTICE 1. Capacity Building & Knowledge Exchange 2. Research & Evaluation 3. Insights from the USES workshop 4. Recommendations
  7. 7. CAPACITY BUILDING AND KNOWLEDGE EXCHANGE ■ Need for skills and institutional capacity at grass-roots levels ■ Training/qualification programmes (eg University of Nairobi, Barefoot) ■ Business skills & support to entrepreneurs (incubation, industry orgs) ■ Awareness of technology options for end users (seeing is believing) ■ Awareness of issues/environment for researchers (IBEKA)
  8. 8. RESEARCH AND EVALUATION ■ Need for academia and frontline organisations to collaborate ■ Infrequency ■ Low level of local r&d ■ Opportunity for feedback – ie local experience directs research ■ Importance of Adequate vs Comprehensive solutions ■ Application-focus for researchers – may be new ■ Coordinating agencies ■ Recognise contribution of the village!
  9. 9. USES WORKSHOP FEEDBACK ■ Different stakeholder groups require distinct approaches ■ gvmt, communities, businesses, NGOs ■ Need for better N-S and S-S research collaboration ■ Early engagement and feedback necessary ■ Tailoring of messages/information ■ Importance of social science research vs physical sciences ■ New forms of academic output – projects? ■ Fund outreach, not just core work ■ Be aware of constraints in comms to rural
  10. 10. RECOMMENDATIONS ■ Build outreach/communications into research (& fund) ■ Identify coordinating agencies or gateways ■ Realise knowledge comes from many places ■ Encourage bi-directional information flow ■ “How-to”, not just “what” ■ Innovate ■ Share data
  11. 11. Thank you for your attention | | @e4SmartVillages