Supported by a British Council Researcher Links Climate Challenge Workshops Grant, researchers from the Lahore University of Management Sciences and the University of Glasgow hosted the online workshop ‘Delivering a Sustainable Energy Transition for Pakistan’.
About the workshop
Held between 8-10 June 2021, the workshop aimed to bring together teams of early career researchers (ECRs) from the UK and Pakistan to share research expertise and develop collaborations relevant to enabling a sustainable energy transition in Pakistan.
There was a particular focus on interdisciplinary approaches to this complex challenge, including technical/engineering solutions for renewable energy production and storage and the socio-economic and policy implications of sustainable energy in a Pakistani context.
The workshop coordinators were Dr Mark Symes from the University of Glasgow, UK and Dr Salman Noshear Arshad from the Lahore University of Management Sciences, Pakistan.
Contributions were made from other leading researchers as mentors: Professor Jillian Anable (University of Leeds, UK), Professor Serena Corr (University of Sheffield, UK), Professor Irshad Hussain (Lahore University of Management Sciences, Pakistan) and Professor Mohammad Irfan (University of Engineering and Technology, Peshawar, Pakistan).
Q&A with Dr Mark Symes, University of Glasgow and Dr Salman Noshear Arshad from the Lahore University of Management Sciences
Why did you host this workshop? What were your main workshop objectives?
Mark: We really wanted to bring together a diverse cross-section of early career researchers from the UK and Pakistan, to share research expertise and develop collaborations relevant to enabling a sustainable energy transition in Pakistan.
We wanted to encourage these early career researchers to start building collaborations and thinking about how their work could be applied to ensuring that Pakistan's future energy needs are met in a sustainable manner.
Salman: This workshop provided the ideal platform to develop international collaborations and interactions, which can otherwise be difficult for early career researchers in Pakistan to find. Importantly, the available seed funding catalysed these collaborations into very exciting short-term projects.
How was your workshop delivered? What kind of activities did it involve?
Mark: The workshop was delivered by remotely by Microsoft Teams over three days.
On Day 1, the delegates saw presentations by some of the leaders in sustainable energy generation, storage, distribution and policy from across academia, industry and government.
This helped to set the scene for the delegates so that they could fully appreciate the context of the challenges.
On Day 2, some of these expert mentors led small-group break-out rooms with the delegates to discuss particular aspects of the sustainable energy conundrum from various perspectives. This allowed the delegates to interact with each other and begin to see how they might form collaborative teams to tackle some of these issues.
On Day 3, the delegates then formed themselves into teams and started to work on collaborative research proposals.
Two weeks after the end of the workshop these proposals were submitted back to the organisers and mentors, and the best eight of these were selected to receive seed funding to pump-prime these collaborations.