As we dial up the central heating this winter and worry about the heating bills, there may be a smarter solution on the horizon, thanks to important research being conducted in energy consumption at Trinity College Dublin’s newly launched Trinity Research in Social Sciences (TRiSS).
The research that aims to reduce energy consumption and save people money will be led by Associate Professor in Economics and Director of TRiSS, Eleanor Denny. The Trinity economist has been awarded €1.5 million in EU Horizon 2020 funding to lead European research in behavioural economics and energy consumption.
The European Commission has identified increased energy-efficiency as the most cost-effective and rapid way to reduce CO2 emissions. Consumers from a range of sectors have a significant role to play in decreasing energy consumption across Europe through more energy efficient behaviour.
The TRiSS led research, ‘CONSEED’ (CONSumer Energy Efficient Decision Making) will involve Ireland as well as research collaboration with Norway, Slovenia, Spain and Greece. This team of world-class researchers drawn from across Europe will examine the effectiveness of current energy efficiency labelling and will test new and exciting alternatives.
Professor Denny and the pan European team will run trials and experiments across a range of consumer sectors. They will examine how consumers make investment decisions involving energy. They will propose how consumers can make more efficient energy consumption decisions with regard to choice of central heating, buying electrical appliances, vehicles and property.
TRiSS Director, Professor Denny said: “I am delighted to be leading this research which will have a real impact on energy policy across the EU and globally. The findings will refine Irish and EU energy policy with the potential to deliver significant environmental and cost savings. It has real societal value and is the type of research that the newly launched TRiSS will be at the forefront of in its range of fields, from economics to education, from law to psychology and across all the 14 disciplines it will cover.”
Provost, Dr Patrick Prendergast said: “Trinity has been a beacon in social sciences research. Today’s launch of TRiSS reinforces our position as well as that of Ireland’s as a leader internationally in this area. The announcement of EU funded research in energy consumption research is just one example. But also look to our role in major longitudinal studies on childhood research such as Growing Up in Ireland, on ageing in The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing among many other public facing research projects that influence policy and have a real impact on Irish and global society for the benefit of all.”
The launch event was opened by the Provost of Trinity, Dr Patrick Prendergast and the Secretary General of the Department of Public Expenditure, economist, Robert Watt.
It showcased the global societal significance of Trinity’s social science research with a series of brief, stimulating presentations from some of our leading academics:
Trevor Spratt − ‘What can Children tell us about the future?’
Professor of Childhood Research, Trevor Spratt is the Director of Trinity Children’s Research Centre. His research interests stem from his experiences of social work practice. One of his main research interests is how the experience of childhood adversities becomes translated across the life-course into physiological, psychological and social outcomes. The work of the Children’s Research Centre is concerned both with establishing what constitutes good childhoods as well identifying those children who are vulnerable to the impact of adversity in order to assist policy makers and professionals identify and provide effective interventions.
Oran Doyle −‘Shifting the Constitutional ground’
Associate Professor in Law, Oran Doyle is Head of the School of Law in Trinity College Dublin. His principal research interest lies at the intersection of constitutional law and legal theory, analysing problems of constitutional structure that affect constitutional orders around the world. He has published widely on the subject of constitutional change and is currently a constitutional law adviser to the Citizens’ Assembly.
Gail McElroy −‘Women, elections and representation’
Professor in Political Science, Gail McElroy is Head of the School of Social Sciences and Philosophy. Her primary research interests are in the fields of legislative behaviour, party competition, public opinion and European Union politics. She is a principal investigator on the Irish National Election Study and has run the Irish Candidate Study since its inception. Recent published work explores the continued under-representation of women in Irish politics, the meaning of Left and Right in Ireland and the nature of party competition in the European parliament.