Social sciences Laboratory for Research on Sustainable Energy (SoLaRS)

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SoLaRS brings together researchers interested in the social aspects of energy use and supply. As well as providing a forum for advice, discussion and collaboration, the group also aims to help promoting the integration of the social sciences with other disciplines investigating energy.

Energy systems are undergoing transformations due to growing concerns over climate change, and energy affordability and security. These changes are complex and contested, they involve technological innovation, regulatory and market reforms, bringing changes to business, communities, public bodies and energy users.

Our overarching question is how are socio-technical arrangements for energy production and consumption changing in contemporary societies? A process we refer to as “sustainable energy governance”. Sustainable energy governance envisages a wide range of human activities, from food production and consumption patterns, mobility flows, public and private buildings energy use, comfort improvement, waste and disposal scenarios, up to a macro analysis of urban metabolic models and circular economy. With reference to all the fields listed above, it is becoming increasingly clearer that technical innovations and technologies do no longer suffice to guarantee sustainable energy governance. Social factors and their interdisciplinary studies are regaining a pivotal role, since social agents are recognized as fundamental variables to be taken into consideration.

Our starting points are within the social sciences. Solars lays on the Department of Culture, Politics and Society (CPS). Its interdisciplinary frame, employing sociologists, political scientists, anthropologists, experts in international relations, political theorists, philosophers, geographers, historians and linguists, and providing intellectual traditions in theoretically-informed empirical inquiry, gives Solars a very interesting background on which to develop further activities. At the same time, we aim at actively collaborating with bio-physical, computer, economy, and engineering scientists, as well as with policymakers, businesses and civil society to address one of the major societal challenges of the 21st century. SoLaRS is also part as Laboratory of the Interdepartmental Center of Innovation - IcxT (http://www.icxt.unito.it/) and an extension of the Unesco Chair in Sustainable Development (http://en.unito.it/international-relations/unesco-chair).

    1. to promote research on sustainability in the University of Turin
    2. to promote and spread knowledge on sustainability among a wider public (stakeholders, experts and citizens) by organizing seminars, workshops and conferences.
    3. to take part in fundraising competitions, with a particular focus on Horizon 2020 calls.
    4. to promote the training of experts in strategies to support and drive a sustainable energy transition.
  • Energy
    • Energy grids
    • Comfort
    • Consumption Practices
    • System dynamics and adaptation
    • Energy Ontology
    food and sustainable agriculture
    • Agroecology
    • Supply chain Analysis
    • Enviromental and Social LCA
    • Waste management
     Smart society and socio-technical systems
    • IoT logic
    • Household, Urban and Territory metabolism
    Transport and mobility
    • Freight and human mobility patterns
    • Commuting
    • Smart mobility
    circular economy
    • Bioeconomics and Ecological economics
    • Sustainable supply chains
    • Eco-design and industry ecology
    • Responsible consumtion
    • Waste prevention, Reuse and Recycling
    policy analysis
    • Stakeholder analysis
    • Implementation processes and strategies
    • Impact evaluation
    social innovation for sustainability
    • Rebound Effect

    Consumption Practices

    • Carbon, water e ecological footprint
    • Statistics
    • Agent Based Modelling
    • Multicriteria Analysis
    • Policy impact evaluation: Cost/Benefit Analysis, quantitative methods and counterfactual analysis, qualitative policy evaluation
    • Social Ecological Network and Nexus Analysis
    • Qualitative Methods for social research (Ethnography; Observation; Interviewing; Focus Groups;Oral history and Narrative method; Discourse/textual analysis); Questionnaires

    • Surveys (design and analysis);
    • Living Lab for co-designing and participatory planning;
    • System Thinking and Eco-system analysis
    • Eco-linguistics, eco-semiotics and bio-semiotics

    • Skill assessment and guidance in ecological transition processes

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UNESCO Chair in Sustainable Development and Territory management
University of Torino

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  • 10124 Torino, Italia

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