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23 Feb 2015

Invitation to join a new EU Funding Bid

Invitation to join a new EU Funding Bid

Energy Poverty in Europe : Addressing Health and Wellbeing Inequities.

The EU COST programme has issued another Open Call. The COST programme funds networking initiatives among Member State researchers and practitioners. There is no funding for research or practice, but generous funding to support people to come together and plan collaborative initiatives. The aim of the COST programme is to strengthen partnerships and infrastructure around important Europe-wide themes.

Energy poverty/fuel poverty is one of those areas where many different types of expertise are relevant, and for that reason, we seem to find few opportunities for the whole gamut of specialisms to meet up. EU COST could be a useful funding stream that allows us to do so more often, whilst also permitting us to work together on a structure programme of action.

My name is Christine Liddell, and I am hoping to submit a proposal to COST in March, around the theme of Energy Poverty in Europe : Addressing Health and Wellbeing Inequities. The brief abstract outlining the proposal is as follows: 

People experiencing Energy Poverty (EP) are unable to heat their homes to a standard considered safe by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and may also have difficulty affording other energy needs, such as hot water and essential appliances. It is estimated that at least 65M Europeans live in EP, and the WHO estimates that EP is currently associated with more than 30,000 excess winter deaths in Europe per year; associated with this, there are likely to be more than 300,000 excess winter hospital admissions in the region.

Despite EP having first been written about more than 25 years ago, there is still no agreed European strategy for tackling it. EP experts are well-established in domains such as public health, medicine, psychology, housing, sociology, energy efficiency, law, and consumer protection. This wide diaspora of specialisms is an obvious strength, but also a weakness insofar as it has made partnerships and collaborations more difficult to achieve. Lack of a mature infrastructure among experts weakens the potential of stakeholders to act effectively, despite EP’s well-documented impacts on health and wellbeing.

To seek ways of minimising the health risks associated with EP, especially the numbers of excess winter deaths and hospital admissions in Europe, a collective of experts is seeking to establish the first COST-country-wide interdisciplinary network. This would seek to identify and support good practice for minimising the health and wellbeing impacts of  EP, wherever good practice can be found in participating COST countries or beyond.

Partners are named on the bid, and go on to become participants in the Project Management Committee and/or the Project’s Working Groups. In this way, representatives from many different Member States have key roles to play in how the Project unfolds. We would be meeting about once every 6 months, in each other’s home countries, working on 3 or 4 different project areas related to EP and health. The grant lasts 3 years, during which time we would, hopefully, be able to succeed in developing one or more successful joint research grants.

Travel, accommodation, and subsistence costs for our meetings would all be covered by the fund, and there is a modest budget for administrative costs.

If you are an Early Career Researcher (ECR), then COST welcomes you into project proposals especially! One of the key aims of the COST programme is to support Early Career Researchers. Over the 3 years of a grant, ECR’s are expected to rise steadily into management roles within the programme, and there are areas of the budget which can be used for training courses as well as periods abroad in other people’s research centres, etc.

Early Career or Later Career, If you would like to join the bid as a partner, I would be delighted. You can email me at

I can then circulate the draft proposal to you for comment and editing. Needless to say, I am happy to answer any questions, should you have any at this stage.