The University of Edinburgh joins the universities of St Andrews and Strathclyde as leaders of the new Scottish Research Alliance for Energy, Homes and Livelihoods (SRAEHL).   

As Scotland works towards its goal of reaching net zero by 2045, network members hope that the Alliance will have an important role to play.   

Dr. Parry said: “By coordinating the research community in Scotland and enhancing capacity for research leadership to deliver change at the household scale we can play an important role in meeting Scotland’s ambitions for addressing complex ecological and social challenges.”  

SRAEHL is one of four new collaborative research networks in Scotland, aiming to bring together stakeholders from key areas of research, industry and policymaking in order to align research with the priorities of the Scottish Government.   

These networks are known as ARCs – Alliances for Research Challenges – and they focus on four key areas of concern for the Scottish Government: energy, brain health, quantum technologies and food. Supported by the Scottish Funding Council, the ARCs aim to disrupt the siloes that academia often operates within and to harness the collective power of Scotland’s research institutions.   

Dr. Sarah Parry, of the University of Edinburgh’s School of Social and Political Science, is serving as a member of the Leadership Committee as well as co-theme lead for Sustainability in Households (with Dr. Faye Wade, Sociology, University of Edinburgh).   

Of the new network, Dr. Parry said: “From reductions in energy, waste and overall consumption to changes in transport, diet and a multitude of everyday norms and activities, households already engage with sustainability in mundane and often hidden ways.”  

“But variation in households, complex socio-demographic patterns and structural inequalities such as fuel poverty and health, amplified by the current cost of living crisis, affect households’ capacity to engage with sustainability agendas.”  

“We believe that expertise from the arts, humanities and social sciences can play a significant role in gaining greater understanding of the complexity and diversity of sustainability and households, and the interplay between them. Grounded in a deeper understanding, we seek to generate fresh insights and practicable solutions to activate households as sites for addressing the social, ecological and nature crises together.”  

SRAEHL will be hosting a variety of events in the coming months and years in order to achieve these goals. Planned activities include workshops, networking and capacity-building events, training opportunities for early career researchers, grant funding expos, public engagement events and conferences. The first of these events are taking place as soon as 10 and 11 January, on Sustainable Households and Financial Pathways to NetZero Incubator. These events aim to provide an inclusive and collaborative space for change-making in which the voices of Scottish people are front and centre.