Decolonising energy policy research

  • December 5, 2022
Decolonising energy policy research

Ramit Debnath is co-author of a paper on how to ensure energy policy research serves local needs

Bridging the North-South divide in energy policy research is critical in avoiding future energy crisis. We need more localised solutions through global partnerships.

Ramit Debnath

Energy policy in the Global South needs to be rooted in the local context, according to a new paper, co-authored by a Gates Cambridge Scholar, which outlines ways of bridging the Global North-South research divide.

The paper, Bridging the divide in energy policy research: Empirical evidence from global collaborative networks, is published this week in Energy Policy.

Co-authored by Gates Cambridge Scholar Ramit Debnath [2018], it argues that energy policy design and technology transfer needs to be rooted in local knowledge rather than be seen as a handout from Global North research organisations. And it says policymakers in the Global South should make institutional efforts to be aware of the extent to which the policies they adopt reflect Northern frameworks and perspectives and how much of that is applicable to their specific contexts.

On research funding and infrastructure, the paper notes that the flow of funds from the Global North to the Global South needs to be rethought so that the relevance of energy policy design to the local context is prioritised and local researchers and indigenous knowledge transfer are foregrounded.

The paper outlines how China offers a potential alternative knowledge production process for emerging economies. It states: “China shows it is possible to establish energy research knowledge production processes which do not rely on high income countries to undertake the research. Recognising that much Chinese research is domestically focused, this enables greater contextual embeddedness of the researcher…”

And it says improving the data infrastructure of countries in the Global South is vital for effective contextualised policy design. Another key issue is the importance of experiential learning between local partners and funding agencies. The paper says this should be encouraged through co-development of methods and experiments that reflect the grounded realities of the research being undertaken.

Ramit, now Inaugural Cambridge Zero Fellow at the University of Cambridge and Visiting faculty associate in computational social science at Caltech, said: “Bridging the North-South divide in energy policy research is critical in avoiding future energy crisis. We need more localised solutions through global partnerships, and we call for this co-production of knowledge through this work.”

*Picture credit: Wind farm in Xinjiang, China, courtesy of Wikipedia.

The image below shows energy policy research production as per the GDP of the countries.

Latest News

How might extreme heat contribute to human migration?

Rising temperatures due to climate change are likely influencing human migration patterns, according to a new study co-authored by Gates Cambridge Scholar Dr Kim van Daalen [2018]. The study, led by Rita Issa of University College London, is published today in the open-access journal PLOS Climate. It looks at the role of heat in human […]

Scholar scoops prestigious science innovation fellowship

Freja Ekman has been named one of the 2023 class of Hertz Fellows as the prestigious fellowship celebrates its 60th year. The 15 fellowships in applied science, engineering and mathematics are awarded by Fannie and John Hertz Foundation, a non-profit organisation for innovators in science and technology. Winners will have their graduate studies funded for […]

Scholar hosts first UN communications technology access meeting in India

Gates Cambridge Scholar Pradipta Biswas has hosted a UN meeting on improving access to communications technology – the first ever held in India. The meeting of ITU-T Study Group 9 (SG-9) on “Broadband Cable and Television/Audiovisual content transmission and integrated broadband cable networks”  was held in May at the Indian Institute of Science in Bengaluru […]

The role of storytelling in addressing colonial trauma

When she was growing up, Briseyda Barrientos Ariza [2023] spent her childhood summers in rural Guatemala, visiting her grandparents. In the evenings she would listen to her grandfather, a man who couldn’t read or write, tell intricate stories about his and others’ encounters with female folkloric figures. Two stood out in particular: La Llorona and […]