On December 9th 2021, Research Assistants (RAs) met in Bristol for dinner ahead of the final Supergen networking event before the new year. On the 10th, in the magnificent ‘Engine Shed’ events hub, RAs presented research updates to their colleagues and discussed the possibility of collaborative research efforts in the future. This RA catchup event was an opportunity to share their achievements, progress, and ideas with others in the Supergen network. It was also a reminder of breadth of expertise among Supergen’s researchers:
“I personally consider that the team has a unique range of skills and research interests” – Andrei-Nicolas Manea
The opportunity to share ideas and receive feedback from colleagues with different research interests showed a real strength of the Structure of the Supergen network. The multidisciplinary research team was able to offer a range of insights that very few other workshops could.
“I shared my recent work and got meaningful feedback, thanks to this forum” – Wie Gan
Throughout a difficult 2021, the RAs in the wider Supergen network have shown themselves to be resilient to the challenges facing academic enquiry. Despite these hurdles, RAs have managed to continue their research, produce new papers and disseminate their work at conferences and COP events. Meeting face to face, after an extended period dominated by online networking events, therefore came as a welcome change:
“It was fantastic to meet other researchers face to face, having only very limited opportunities to do so since starting my PhD” – Jonathan Amirmadhi.
“It was great to meet colleagues after almost 2 years of remote working” – Muditha Abeyseker.
Once those who presented their research had done so, the event ended with a discussion, chaired by Laiz Souto, on the future direction of the Supergen RA investigations, specifically ‘what understanding, shaping and challenging is still required for a move towards Net Zero?’
Discussants covered several topics:
- The role of energy networks/companies in future decision making.
- The financial burden of upgrading/developing networks.
- The transportation of energy throughout the country.
- The concerns of energy firms/distributors regarding risk.
- Possible energy futures, and what an integrated energy future might look like.
Discussants mentioned that more interactions with policymakers/regulators would be beneficial and that their suggestions could be directly investigated and tested by Supergen RAs. Summarising these discussions, it was suggested that RAs should meet again for further workshops and should work towards coauthoring a piece of work that could be presented to appropriate policymakers/regulators. This idea has been very well received among the RAs:
“I am excited to see how the group could produce a coherent collaborative piece of work” – Jonathan Amirmadhi.
“Lots of opportunities are present for further collaboration between each of the different institutions, and there is a feeling among the researchers that we could bring our ideas together to deliver a single body of work” – Daniel Carr
Overall, the event demonstrated the importance of face-to-face meetings for large projects, especially those with researchers from different academic institutions with a range of research interests. The entire catchup event was optimistic, constructive, and set the foundations for future collaborations. It is hoped that, in the coming year, Supergen RAs will be able to meet more frequently, supporting each other’s research.
“I hope to continue to communicate with my friends and colleagues and do more for the Supergen project together” – Wei Gan
“The was real enthusiasm for the work that we are all doing, and I am looking forward to future face to face meetings over the duration of the research project” – Daniel Carr
- Daniel Carr, Cardiff
- Nicolas Manea, Cardiff
- Laiz Souto, Bristol
- Amirreza Azimipoor, Cardiff
- Wei Gan, Cardiff
- Jonathan Amirmadhi, Cardiff
- Andrei Manea, Cardiff
- Muditha Abeyseker, Cardiff
- Richard Oduro, Leeds
- Minghao Xu, Bath
- Phil Taylor, Bristol
- Furong Li, Bath
- Jack Dury, Bristol