Project objectives

Participatory Integrated Assessment of Energy Systems to Promote Energy Access and Efficiency (PARTICIPIA) is a three-year project funded under the EDULINK II programme; an ACP-EU Co-operation Programme in Higher Education funded by the European Development Fund (EDF) and the Development Co-operation Instrument – Relations with South Africa (DCI).

This project, co-ordinated by the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (Spain), aims at developing and implementing innovative and competitive Master modules and/or programs in Participatory Integrated Assessment of Renewable Energy Systems in the ACP-member states of Botswana, Namibia and South Africa. In this way, and through the dissemination of related know-how through non-academic channels, the action seeks to foster access to alternative energy technologies and their efficient utilization in different socio-economic and geographical contexts in Southern Africa.

Building on the scientific knowledge developed in innovative scientific fields (complex systems theory, bio-economics, metabolic analysis of socio-ecological systems, science for governance) and on existing expertise in alternative energy technologies, this project specifically aims at:

  1. Establishing an academic collaboration between the ACP member-state universities, Stellenbosch University (SU, South Africa), Polytechnic of Namibia (PN), and University of Botswana (UB), and European universities, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), University of Bergen (UBe), Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM), Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M), and Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF). The partnership will focus mainly, but not exclusively, on the collaborative development and implementation of innovative curricula on participatory processes of governance and decision making in relation to an integrated assessment of the performance of energy systems relevant to the energy contexts in Southern Africa, and on the training of local staff to run these curricula independently;
  2. To support SU, UB and PN in the incorporation of these new innovative curricula into existing or new Master programmes of academic excellence so as to equip their graduates with high-level skills, necessary for contributing to national and regional energy policies in South Africa, Botswana and Namibia, and in assuring that new teaching materials meet (inter)national quality standards;
  3. To improve regional and international inter-institutional networking of the participating ACP (SU, UB and PN) and European (UAB, UBe, UAM, UC3M, UPF) Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) to strengthen their research capacity and ability to take part in and lead institutional projects through exchange of expertise and experiences as well as multilateral transfer of know-how across HEIs. The Alianza 4 Universidades (A4U), a strategic partnership between the four leading Spanish public universities involved in the project, will provide institutional support for establishing a long-term collaboration among the HEIs.
  4. To disseminate the know-how generated by the activities of the project through non-academic channels through the involvement of two international agencies, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations and the New Partnership for Africa Development Agency (NEPAD) of the African Union, so as to inform the social discussion on the choice of energy systems in relation to different and effective “problem structuring” of sustainability issues, and capture the perception of local stakeholders about the performance of alternative energy systems.


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