Graduate School

for Sustainable Energy Systems in Neighbourhoods

1st Phase EEQ

Graduate School Energy Efficiency in Neighbourhoods

Within the research strategy of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, the Ministry of Culture and Science NRW has been funding six Graduate Schools since 2014, which increased  to twelve from July 2016. Based on the conviction that only inter- and transdisciplinary research approaches are suitable for solving today’s complex social problems, the Graduate Schools lay the foundations.

How to increase energy efficiency at neighbourhood level – is what the Graduate School “Energy Efficiency in Neighbourhoods” under the consortium leadership of TU Dortmund University is concerned with. Right from the start, doctoral students cross disciplinary boundaries between economic and social sciences, engineering, law, political science and spatial planning. Actors from business, administration, politics and civil society as well as individual citizens are closely involved in the transdisciplinary research process at all stages.

The guiding question for the Graduate School is: “Which system innovations and structures are necessary to achieve comprehensive implementation of energy efficiency measures in differently constituted neighbourhoods?”

Goals of the Graduate School Energy Efficiency in Neighbourhoods

The aim of the Graduate School is to better understand the interrelationships that lead to an increase in energy efficiency and to derive strategic approaches from this as to how appropriate measures can be initiated and implemented in larger spatial contexts. The research area are selected neighbourhoods in the Ruhr area. Different “dimensions” of a neighbourhood can be used for the description and analysis: Functions (living, working, leisure, etc.), structural and spatial conditions, socio-demographic structures, economic context, cultural and historical context, technical requirements and legal frameworks. It is precisely the links between these “dimensions” that are to be addressed to varying degrees in three interdisciplinary research areas.

  • Socio-technical dynamics
  • Actors, governance and options for action
  • Superordinate relationships

The topics are designed to complement each other and are closely embedded in the professional orientation of the participating professors and their chairs.

Structure of the Graduate School Energy Efficiency in Neighbourhoods

From October 2014 to December 2018, 12 candidates are simultaneously doing their doctorates in the inter- and transdisciplinary Graduate School on issues that approach the challenge from technical, structural-spatial, economic, legal and social perspectives.

Under the consortium leadership at the TU Dortmund University, a total of six universities or research institutions in the region are involved and cover the perspectives from six disciplines in eleven scientific fields, institutes or chairs. In addition to the TU Dortmund University, the Graduate School includes the University of Duisburg-Essen, Ruhr University Bochum, Bochum University of Applied Sciences, the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy and the EBZ Business School in Bochum.

A total of 12 doctoral students (five females, eight males), including one associated doctoral student, conduct research in a transdisciplinary approach and intensive exchange.

The Graduate School “Energy Efficiency in Neighbourhoods” is funded by the Ministry of Culture and Science of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia and additionally supported by the Mercator Foundation.

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