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Vulnerability and energy poverty: research practices in European countries and their replicability in Brazil

Grant number: 22/05020-9
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research
Effective date (Start): October 23, 2022
Effective date (End): November 26, 2022
Field of knowledge:Interdisciplinary Subjects
Principal Investigator:Celio Bermann
Grantee:Celio Bermann
Host Investigator: Maria Julia Fonseca Seixas
Host Institution: Instituto de Energia e Ambiente (IEE). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal  
Associated research grant:15/03804-9 - Environmental governance of macrometropolis paulista in face of climate variability, AP.PFPMCG.TEM


Energy poverty in Brazil presents several multidimensional research challenges. Due to the country's noticeable geographical and socioeconomic differentiation, the thermal comfort threshold varies considerably from one climatic region to another. Together with the uneven quality of urban and rural infrastructure and the thermal and energy efficiency of housing, taken as a whole, all these challenges define the boundaries of a still under-researched energy efficiency agenda articulated across access, quality, expenditure, and technical performance issues. European countries have long since established a research tradition on a broad range of energy-related topics, which is now heavily institutionalized by implementing a regional energy policy under the new "European Green Deal" to tackle climate change and energy transition challenges. Meanwhile, there still are few academic contributions in Brazil, and the development of social policies regarding energy deprivation and energy efficiency are fragile if not absent altogether. As the coordinator of the Research Group on Energy Governance (GPGE from its acronym in Portuguese) at the Institute of Energy and Environment of the University of São Paulo, the author of this research proposal coordinates several academic projects on energy efficiency, energy poverty and energy vulnerability, including one post-doctoral research and three doctoral research projects. Against the background mentioned above, this proposal aims to enable the exchange of experiences and knowledge with research centres in Portugal and the United Kingdom. In Portugal, the selected host institution is CENSE (Center for Environmental and Sustainability Research) at the New School of Science and Technology of Lisbon, with Professor Julia Seixas and Professor João Pedro Gouveia. They have developed and coordinated important research work on energy poverty and vulnerability in Portugal. The latter has had a relevant engagement in European Community initiatives on the subject, such as ENGAGER-Energy Poverty Action. In the United Kingdom, the academic exchange will be supported by the Department of Geography at University of Manchester, which hosts the Energy Poverty Action - ENGAGER project, coordinated by Professor Stefan Bouzarovski, an outstanding researcher on energy poverty issues and the founder of the European Observatory on Energy Poverty. The researcher will be working on four topics across the two stays: i) the articulation of energy poverty with broader issues of social vulnerability; ii) the relationship between the research institutions/research groups and the communities in a situation of multidimensional energy deprivation; iii) the methodologies employed by researchers to assess energy efficiency evaluation; and iv) the institutionalization of the problem of energy deprivation, legislation and its policy implications. Among the expected results is the elaboration of an institutionalization proposal by creating agencies and multi-level spheres of management on energy poverty in Brazil and the formulation of public policies to reduce its negative consequences. As a result of this research and the exchange activities, the researcher will produce joint publications in peer-reviewed international journals with colleagues in Portugal and the UK. (AU)

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