When the LCEDN was set up in 2011 it undertook to create a review of the crossover between energy and international developmentresearch in the UK. Rather than being concerned solely with research, however, developing this review has been increasingly aimed at looking at the suitability of renewable energy business models in developing economies and mapping existing UK expertise (in academia, within UK industry, as well as in the government and NGO sectors) on how to create a knowledge transfer interface between sectors and between academic disciplines to make for far greater and far more efficient involvement of all interested agents in the enterprise of renewable energy for development.
The Development of the Interface
The LCEDN decided to create something specific, flexible and accessible, using existing data sources where possible, utilising new data visualization methods and software to create a knowledge interface designed to speed up the flow of knowledge about energy, development and low carbon transition pathways between all interested actors, to enhance existing UK expertise in this area and its visibility.
The Interface is therefore being developed as an online tool which will be regularly updated and so constitute a valuable reference point for academic, private sector and NGO interest. It is being created from a range of different, existing online quantitative search capacities represented visually in a way that makes them easily accessible and which will be complemented by qualitative project analyses provided by (for instance) successful EPSRC/DFID/DECC projects in the recent Understanding Sustainable Energy Solutions call.
The data visualization presented online (in its’ current form) will look at:
What institutions are doing what
Using the database on which the online registry of experts is based at www.lcedn.com, there will be a visual representation of areas of expertise correlated with academic institutions and research centres
Major centres of research and thematic priorities
The landscape will use a list of UK institutions’ performance (research projects, paper citations etc.) within the broad category of “energy and development” to produce a visual representation of current areas of expertise in the UK, plus changesin the patterns of different research themes over time.
Online data visualization tools
Much of the data can be deployed by existing open-source data visualisation tools.
The prototype interface was rolled out at the LCEDN event at the Wellcome Trust on the 24th-25thJune 2013 to field test it with representatives of the private sector, government, academia and the NGO sector and to seek their input in terms of what their knowledge requirements are, how the interface can best be developed to meet them and how this can be done on a continuing, interactive basis. The project is and will remain under continuous development and we will be relying very much on feedback from Network members and site visitors as to how useful the various visualizations are and in what directions to take them in the future.