Social Sciences and Humanities for Advancing Policy in European Energy (SHAPE-ENERGY)

  • Project team:

    Sumpf, Patrick (Project leader ITAS); Christian Büscher, Jens Schippl

  • Funding:

    Horizon 2020

  • Start date:


  • End date:


  • Project partners:

    Anglia Ruskin University, UK; Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany; Politecnico di Torino, Italy; École Nationale des Travaux Publics de l'État, France; Norges Teknisk-Naturvitenskapelige Universitet, Norway; Middle East Technical University, Turkey; Univerzita Tomase Bati ve Zline, Czech Republic; Black Sea Energy Research Centre, Bulgaria; Energy Cities, France; Friends of Europe, Belgium; Duneworks, Netherlands; Acentoline Comunicación Editora, Spain; European Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, Sweden

  • Research group:

    Knowledge society and knowledge policy

Project description


Social Sciences and Humanities for Advancing Policy in European Energy (SHAPE-ENERGY) is a €2m investment through the EU Horizon 2020 programme. Specifically, it represents a new European platform for energy-related social sciences and humanities (energy-SSH). Energy-SSH has played less of a role to date in shaping (European) energy policy than Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines. In funding this project, the European Commission is supporting better integration of energy-SSH into the policy process. SHAPE-ENERGY is running for two years (from 1 February 2017), and is coordinated by the Global Sustainability Institute, Anglia Ruskin University (Cambridge, UK).


SHAPE-ENERGY aims to develop Europe’s expertise in using and applying energy-SSH. Our innovative Platform will unite those who ‘demand’ energy research, because they can use it to develop practical initiatives, with those who ‘supply’ that research. Each of our Platform activities (below) will create space for these two groups to meet and collaborate in ‘shaping’ the European energy agenda. This will build deep and shared understanding of what is needed and what is possible, as well as stretching their collective ambition.


The Platform will co-ordinate an exciting array of activities, including: 18 multi-stakeholder workshops in partnership with cities across Europe; MEP workshops in Brussels; conferences; Horizon 2020 sandpits; early career researcher summer schools and secondments to Horizon 2020 energy projects; funding for collaborative think pieces; funding for an innovative ‘research design challenge’; and online policymaker-citizen debates. SHAPE-ENERGY will also undertake an extensive review of the current state of the energy-SSH research landscape, and attempt to bring European energy researchers / practitioners together around a commonly agreed framework for future interdisciplinary energy-related endeavors. SHAPE-ENERGY will ultimately provide the European Commission with recommendations for the future direction of the energy work programme in Horizon 2020 and beyond.


SHAPE-ENERGY will work across the full range of social sciences and humanities, including energy-related research (both current and potential) within: Business, Communication Studies, Demography, Development, Economics, Education, Environmental Social Science, Gender, History, Human Geography, Law, Philosophy, Planning, Politics, Psychology, Science and Technology Studies, Sociology, Social Anthropology, Social Policy, and Theology.

ITAS work packages

ITAS is involved in all work packages, but primarily conducts the “Research Design Challenge” and has the lead in evaluating the platform’s activities. This evaluation merges in a ‘2020-2030 research and innovation agenda’ for European energy research. Moreover, ITAS conducts a multi-stakeholder workshop and produces an annotated bibliography on smart technologies and a cross-cutting theme report on multi-stakeholder interests.

Project website


This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 731264.




Patrick Sumpf
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS)
P.O. Box 3640
76021 Karlsruhe