The clean-energy transition doesn't just pose technological and scientific challenges; it also requires a better understanding of cross-cutting issues related to socioeconomic, gender, sociocultural, and socio-political issues. Addressing these issues will help to devise more effective ways of involving citizens and to better understand energy-related views and attitudes, ultimately leading to greater social acceptability as well as more durable governance arrangements and socioeconomic benefits.Scope:
In 2018, proposals should be submitted under the theme "Social innovation in the energy sector" and in 2019 under the theme "Challenges facing carbon-intensive regions". They should address one or several of the questions listed under the respective sub-topics below. All proposals should adopt a comparative perspective, with case studies or data from at least three European Union Member States or Associated Countries.
Social innovation in the energy sector: The energy transition has given rise to various forms of social innovation, such as the emergence of energy cooperatives or that of energy "prosumers" consuming but also producing energy. Urban areas have emerged as major hubs for these trends, given the close proximity between citizens, businesses and institutions, facilitating linkages between sectors and the emergence of new business and service models, as well as associated governance arrangements. These issues need to be studied in more detail, with a particular focus on the following questions:
Challenges facing carbon-intensive regions: The transition to a low-carbon energy system and economy poses particular challenges for regions that are still heavily dependent on fossil-fuel-based industries or the extraction of fossil fuels themselves ("coal and carbon-intensive regions"). At the same time, this transition offers major opportunities for developing new lines of business and for increasing the competitiveness of structurally weak regions. Focusing on the past 5-10 years up to the present, particular attention should be focused on the following issues:
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 1 and 3 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.Expected Impact:
The proposed research will:
It is expected that this topic will continue in 2020.Cross-cutting Priorities:
Social innovations are defined "as new ideas (products, services and models) that simultaneously meet social needs (more effectively than alternatives) and create new social relationships or collaborations. In other words they are innovations that are not only good for society but also enhance society’s capacity to act. See, Empowering people, driving change, Bureau of European Advisers (BEPA), Brussels (2011), p. 33.
As expressed in the "Accelerating Clean Energy Innovation" Communication (COM  763)