Welcome to the eighth release in our series Discover DUST, where we spotlight each of the partners in the project and share their roles and interests in Democratizing Just Sustainability Transitions! In this edition, we introduce another key partner in the project: The European Policies Research Centre (EPRC) at the University of Strathclyde.
The European Policies Research Centre (EPRC) is a leading public policy research institute based at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. They have recently established their second base at the Technical University of Delft. With their research programmes spanning 30 European countries, EPRC’s expertise lies in bridging academic knowledge, practice and policy. They have a rich body of work focused on regional development policies, place-based policies, and policy governance. In addition, they have successfully implemented numerous Horizon 2020 projects in the fields of stakeholder engagement and strategy building for sustainability transitions in coal-intensive regions.
Within DUST, EPRC plays a vital role in identifying the factors that affect the participation of diverse communities in sustainability transitions. This research considers the least-engaged communities in DUST case study regions, aiming to understand how and why particular communities are not able to engage with the design of sustainability transition policy. Here factors are considered relating to community social structures, obstacles within specific contexts, and the barriers and enablers within policy decision-making. As part of this exploration, EPRC explores how sustainability transitions are translated into practice via place-based policies and participatory measures. They closely interact with relevant practitioners and community members in the DUST case study regions which are undergoing deep transformations due to the energy transitions. Through qualitative research methods like interviews with policy practitioners and focus groups with local least-engaged communities, EPRC is developing a close understanding of how the barriers to participation can be overcome.
EPRC's expertise in stakeholder engagement, particularly within policies relating to energy transitions in coal-dependent regions, enables DUST to tie its research to ongoing policy strategies across Europe. They are backed by a consortium that combines cutting edge knowledge on stakeholder engagement with effective links to local policymakers and communities. Through EPRC’s work, the project will discover impactful insights on how we can ensure decision-making is inclusive of local perspectives and mobilises collective action for a sustainable and just future. We support EPRC’s belief in the power of applied research, connecting academia to the world outside, and working towards a more sustainable, healthy, just and secure future!