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20 Mar 2014

UK & Ireland Fuel Poverty Research Symposium

UK & Ireland Fuel Poverty Research Symposium

UK and Ireland Postgraduate and Early Career Fuel Poverty Research Symposium

July 18th 2014, Belfast

We are pleased to announce this call for papers for a UK and Ireland postgraduate/early career researcher fuel poverty research symposium. This event has been jointly organized and funded by the School of Law, Queen’s University Belfast and the Fuel Poverty Research Group at the University of Ulster.

The symposium will take place on Friday July 18th, from 10am to 5pm, at Queen’s University in Belfast, Northern Ireland. It aims to provide a platform for young researchers from across the UK and Ireland to meet and present their research in a supportive, subject specific forum. The symposium will afford up to 12 researchers the opportunity to present on any aspect of their research. In addition to student presentations, the event will also feature talks from distinguished fuel poverty academic, Christine Liddell, as well as established fuel poverty practitioners from government departments and the voluntary sector.

The organisers are keen to allow researchers to meet and network, in the hope of fostering a postgraduate fuel poverty research community across the UK and Ireland. This event will build on a similar symposium held at Sheffield University in 2012, and it is hoped that it will encourage a community of young researchers to meet regularly via similar events in future.


Submitting a paper

As fuel poverty is an inherently interdisciplinary topic, papers are invited from across a wide range of disciplines. Topics may include:


Fuel Poverty Policy

• Policy analysis, comparison, critique and innovation.

• Impacts of devolution – divergences in approaches to fuel poverty policy across the UK.

• Comparative European/International perspectives on fuel poverty.

• UK and Irish politics and fuel poverty.

• Historical perspectives.


Public Policy and Fuel Poverty

• Other relevant social and environmental policies and their links with fuel poverty – e.g. energy efficiency, energy market reform, low carbon transition.

• Welfare reform and fuel poverty – what are the anticipated/observed impacts of the welfare reform agenda on fuel poverty across the UK?


Fuel Poverty and New Technologies

• Construction and engineering technologies

• Energy-saving/affordable warmth technologies (e.g. smart meters, renewables).

• Micro-generation and fuel poverty.

• ICT and fuel poverty – GIS, apps, remote domestic energy control.


Social Groups and Lived Experiences

• Vulnerability to fuel poverty – elderly, children, young families, lone-parents, long-term ill.

• Living with a cold home—lived experiences of fuel poverty.


Impacts of Fuel Poverty

• Health (physical and mental) and behavioural impacts of cold homes.

• Behavioural – ‘coping responses’ to fuel poverty – ‘heat or eat’, ‘wrapping up’.

• Environmental – thermally inefficient homes and climate change/air pollution.

• Economic – broader societal/economic costs of fuel poverty – e.g. public health services.


Conceptualising Fuel Poverty and Converging Agendas

• The definition debate – what is fuel poverty?

• Energy vulnerability and fuel poverty.

• Energy democracy and fuel poverty.

• Fuel poverty as injustice.

• What are the potential synergies and tensions between fuel poverty, environmental justice, climate justice and energy justice?


Those interested in presenting at the symposium are invited to submit an abstract of no more than 250 words accompanied by a biography of no more than 100 words to Ben Christman ( and Ryan Walker ( before 5pm on Friday May 16th 2014. Should you choose to submit a paper, you will receive confirmation on the outcome of your submission by Monday June 2nd 2014. Upon acceptance of abstracts, participants are required to prepare a talk (facilitated by Powerpoint or similar software), lasting a maximum of 15 minutes, to present at the symposium.


Publication of papers

Following the symposium, speakers will be invited to submit full length papers of their presentations, up to 3000 words in length. These will be assessed for publication in a special fuel poverty edition of the Queen’s Political Review.


Further information

Once your paper has been accepted we will send you a link to a registration site, where you can indicate your attendance and preferences regarding catering, accommodation, etc. Registration will open on Monday June 2nd 2014. Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors, there is no registration fee for this event, attendance is free of charge. Catering (lunch, refreshments and a drinks reception) will be provided for all attendees at the symposium.

To assist with travel and accommodation expenses, small bursaries may be available to speakers travelling from outside Northern Ireland – contact the organizers for further information. If you would like to register an interest in attending this event, or if you require any further information, please visit our website or feel free to contact the organisers directly.

We hope you can join us at this event!

Ben Christman, PhD Candidate, School of Law, Queen’s University Belfast (

Ryan Walker, PhD Candidate, School of Environmental Sciences, University of Ulster

( ).