Graduate School

for Sustainable Energy Systems in Neighbourhoods

2nd Phase NEQ​

Contents and objectives of the Graduate School for Sustainable Energy Systems in Neighbourhoods

The NRW Graduate School “Sustainable Energy Systems in the Neighbourhood” aims to develop technical, economic and social control models to increase energy efficiency in neighbourhoods. With its broad interdisciplinary composition and embedding in practice (transdisciplinary), the Graduate School contributes  to developing integrated concepts and promoting the necessary understanding between the disciplines and between future scientists and practitioners from different disciplines. Concrete possibilities for action and options should support the parties involved, above all municipal utilities, municipalities, politicians and citizens, in driving forward the energy transition in neighbourhoods.

In doing so, the Graduate School will draw on the scientific findings and experience gained in the first phase of the Graduate School “Energy Efficiency in Neighbourhoods”, which has identified, obstacles to the practical implementation of energy efficiency measures. The second phase will focus on transformation strategies and thus the dimension of implementation. With an eye on people and their motivations, actor-related and technical models as well as business and control models will be developed for implementing energy transition in neighbourhoods.

The complex topic of energy efficiency is linked to the challenges of climate change, demographic development, transformation of the energy supply as well as the transition of heat and mobility. It is not enough to look at the electricity sector here, as the heating sector and mobility also have great potential for reducing CO2 emissions. For these three important sectors, on one hand, and for the consideration of acting and consuming parties, on the other hand, the neighbourhood is a suitable spatial reference in the 2nd Graduate School. The spatial focus of the research work will not only be on the Ruhr Area and the neighbourhoods selected there, but also on the Rhenish Region.

Considering changed demographic conditions in the last two to three years (especially growth through immigration) and the paradigm shift towards growth and urban expansion – also in regions that tend to be structurally weak – the focus of the Graduate School will be extended to the future-oriented construction of new neighbourhoods (including land recycling, collective uses, new mobility concepts).

From January 2019 to June 2022, 12 doctoral candidates will simultaneously develop their doctorates at the Graduate School.

The research will be conducted in four action-oriented clusters, in which each topic will be examined from different perspectives. The new topic clusters are:

  • Integrated reconstruction of energy infrastructures
  • Activate actors/users/owners
  • Establishing new courses of action for sustainability at the neighbourhood level
  • Shaping the framework for implementation

The exchange of knowledge and experience with international cooperation partners is enhanced by excursions and possible internships.

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