NUI Galway is now one of the 22 institutions across Europe taking part in the EU’s Shared Green Deal programme – a five-year project which aims to investigate how local initiatives can help in the fight against climate change.
The programme aims to look at the role social sciences can play in helping communities to reduce their carbon emissions.
NUI Galway researchers are leading the Clean Energy strand of the project, working with communities spread across Europe to create “community visions for desirable energy futures”.
The NUI Galway research team is led by Professor Frances Fahy, a scholar and international researcher in social science and sustainability.
On NUI Galway’s participation in the project, Professor Fahy said: “Much of the recent focus on tackling climate change has centered on green technology development. However, aspects of social justice and exploring how communities can respond at a local level are key pieces in the jigsaw of climate action.
“This new Shared Green Deal project provides more social scientists in NUI Galway with valuable opportunities to build on our existing significant sustainability research profile and more importantly, to work with our communities on the transition toward sustainable futures”.
The project involves 24 social experiments held in neighborhoods across Europe. The experiments range from skill-sharing workshops to training videos with the purpose of “sharing energy know-how between generations”. The experiments aim to look at how organisations and individuals can work together to make daily life more sustainable.
Professor Fahy said: “Over the next five years we will be working alongside communities and local authorities to gain a deeper understanding of what local stakeholders want and expect for the future of energy and what EU energy targets can be most beneficial to local communities.”
The Shared Green Deal is expected to bring changes in the behaviour and societal practices of individuals, communities and both public and private organisations.
The project is funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 scheme (an EU research and innovation funding programme) and will span across the next five years – ending in January of 2027.
The project is led by researchers at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU). Dr Rosie Robinson and Dr Chris Foulds from ARU’s ‘Global Sustainability Institute’ are the coordinators of the 22 partner institutions throughout Europe.
The partner institutes include eight universities, three research institutions, eight network organisations and three SMEs (small and medium enterprises). NUI Galway is the sole Irish contributor to the project.