PhD student in inaugural cohort of Empowered Futures Research School

Finlay Bain Kerr, a PhD researcher based at the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship in Strathclyde Business School, was accepted into the inaugural cohort of the Empowered Futures Research School, earlier this year and recently travelled to Norway to take part in the organisation's activities.

The Empowered Futures Research School is a multi-partner PhD school based at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences. Centred around research on the low carbon energy transition, the school aims to strengthen the societal and professional relevance of doctoral education by collaborating with academic and societal partners and delivering courses, knowledge sharing and activities with a range of inputs from governance and business partners.

Situated in Energy and Society scholarship, Finlay's PhD research explores the deployment of minewater geothermal energy systems in Scotland's former Coalfields, repurposing former mines for low carbon heating systems, with a focus on novel approaches to business models, governance and local participation for community wealth and sustainability.

Finlay has now taken part in the first scheduled activities of the School, visiting parts of Norway at the heart of its energy future; in the Bergen, Stavanger and Sola regions. On what was a fully packed schedule, he met with fellow PhD students and academics from across Europe and further afield as they engaged in critical discussion of their different research contributions to the energy transition and received a masterclass on capacity building for researchers from Benjamin Sovacool, Professor of Energy Policy at the University of Sussex.

Over the course of the week the cohort visited many different project sites, heard from a range of expert stakeholders on issues ranging from urban development and renewable heating systems to sustainable housing, as well as keynotes from Dr Timothy Moss (Humboldt University) and Professor Harriet Thomson (University of Birmingham).

Finlay said, "As well as gaining new connections and friendships, I came away with an infectious enthusiasm for the role academia can play in society and inspiration from the breadth and depth of research underway in this research area. I’m very much looking forward to continuing activities in the school over the coming years, with the next set of courses scheduled for August 2023."

Photo credit: Siddharth Sareen 

Published: 20 June 2023

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