Energy SSH Innovation Awards for Early Career Researchers

Presented by Energy-SHIFTS, in partnership with:

Royal Geographical Society with IBG’s Energy Geographies Research Group, and the European Sociological Association: Research Network 12 Environment and Society

The Energy SSH Innovation Awards showcase the work of Early Career Researchers (ECRs) in the Social Sciences and Humanities, in advancing energy research through exciting new methods, findings and engagements with policy and practice

The Energy-SHIFTS project aims to support the contribution of Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) to energy policy. The project is led by the Global Sustainability Institute, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge. In 2020 Energy-SHIFTS published four Horizon Scan Reports listing a total of 400 priority questions for energy SSH. These reports cover four topic areas: Renewables; Smart consumption; Energy efficiency; and Transport and mobility.


We invite ECRs whose research addresses one or more of these 400 priority questions to submit an application to the Energy SSH Innovation Awards. There are three Awards, focusing on the following innovation areas:

  • Innovative methods

  • Innovative findings

  • Innovative policy and/or practice engagement


  • Three Award winners (one for each innovation area) will each receive a personal cash prize of £850.

  • These three Award winners will also have the opportunity to work with communications professionals to produce a short video about their research.
  • Nine shortlisted applicants (i.e. the three winners plus six others) will receive a professionally-designed document summarising their innovative research, based on their submission.

How to enter

To enter, submit a two-page summary of your research, using the relevant application form below. This submission should show how your research demonstrates a contribution to one of these three innovation areas as well as linking to one or more of the 400 Energy-SHIFTS priority research questions.

Submit your application as a pdf file, by email to Submissions must be received by midnight (UK time) on 26th April 2021.

You can apply to more than one Award, if your research relates to more than one innovation area, but you must submit a separate application form for each innovation area. No more than one Award will be awarded to any applicant.


1. The research described in the submission must use SSH to address one or more of the 400 priority questions that are listed in the four Energy-SHIFTS Horizon Scan reports, accessible here:

2. Only Early Career Researchers are eligible to apply. We define Early Career Researcher as anyone who has not previously held a research grant (as Principal Investigator) exceeding £100,000.

3. The Awards are open to applicants based anywhere in the world, and the research can relate to any geographic area (it does not have to be based in Europe). Submissions must be written in English. Please note that prize funds can only be transferred to an account that accepts transfers from a UK bank. No other form of payment is possible. If we are not able to transfer funds to a winner, the prize will be donated to a charity of our choice.

4. Named authors of an Energy-SHIFTS Horizon Scan report are not eligible to apply. However, you are welcome to apply if you fed into the Horizon Scans solely as a survey respondent, or engaged with Energy-SHIFTS in other ways. You are welcome to apply if you have had no past engagement with the Energy-SHIFTS project.

Judging process and criteria

Applications will be judged on three criteria (equally weighted):

  • Demonstrating that the research uses SSH to address their chosen priority question(s).

Addressing multiple priority questions will not be treated as better than addressing one question. Where the published priority questions have two or more distinct parts, it is perfectly acceptable to address just one part.

  • Demonstrating innovation in their relevant innovation area (either in methods, in findings, or in engagement with policy/practice).
  • Presenting the research in a clear and engaging way.

Applications will be longlisted by members of the Energy-SHIFTS consortium, and then judged by members of the Energy-SHIFTS consortium in conjunction with at least one external judge per Award.

The top 3 applications for each Award will be announced as a shortlist by the 31st May 2021. Winners will be announced at an online Award Event on Monday 7th June, 1pm – 2.30pm (UK time). For an invitation, please contact Sarah:

All applicants will also be notified directly of the results.


Questions can be emailed to the Innovation Awards co-ordinator, Sarah Royston:

Application forms

Download the relevant application form for your innovation area here:

FAQs and updates

Can I submit a joint application?
Yes, you can submit a joint application if your work is being carried out in close conjunction with another ECR or ECRs. Please note:
  • All named applicants must meet the eligibility criteria
  • If you are successful, all the named applicants will be recognised equally as winners of the Award. However, you will need to nominate one single bank account for the transfer of the prize fund.
  • To submit a joint application, please copy the tables in Part One of the application form, to create a Part One for each applicant, within a single joint-submission document. Then complete Part Two as normal (within the standard 2-page limit). Submit the document as one single PDF file.
Can my application use work that is part of a larger collaborative project?
Yes, you can write about work that you are conducting as part of a larger collaborative project. Please make this clear in your application (in Part Two), and explain how your particular role within this work makes an innovative contribution to energy SSH.