Valorisation best practices of DISGI

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Johanna presenting in the Hague

On Tuesday, March 27 Johanna gave a short presentation at the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) in The Hague. Her lecture was part of an internal NWO workshop on valorization of research. About 30 NWO staff attended the workshop. Johanna was invited to share the experiences and best practices of the DISGI project. These activities can be seen as examples of social valorization. These social valorization activities DISGI engages with are manifold and address different audiences. They range from giving inspirational lectures for students and public enrolled in Studium Generale activities to organizing knowledge exchange events with businesses.

Contact us if you would like to know more about our activities or if you want to organize an event with us.

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Has the NSGM become what it attempts to solve?

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In 2015 India’s Ministry of Power established a National Smart Grid Mission (NSGM) with a total outlay of INR 980 crore. The aim of this mission is to unify existing government-led smart grid activities in India (MoP India, 2015b). Those activities show that, like several western countries already did before, India also wants to hop in on to the development of IT-enabled electricity grids. With already several smart grid pilot projects over the country, an institutional framework, i.e. the NSGM, and an India Smart Grid Forum, the country intends to combat the problems that have plagued its electricity grids from the beginning. Continue reading

Small is Beautiful – Lecture by Johanna Höffken

On Thursday, 20 October out team member Johanna Höffken will give a lecture on ‘Small is beautiful’ where she will also talk about our project? The lecture is organised in the context of TU/e becoming a Fair Trade University soon.

Here are the coordinates:

Thursday 20 October
12.45-13.20 hrs lecture (12.30 hrs welcome to get lunch)
Trappenzaal Vertigo

More information here: https://www.tue.nl/en/university/about-the-university/sustainability/sustainability-at-the-tue/go-green-office/fairtrade-university/

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Demystification and localization in the adoption of micro-hydro technology: Insights from India by Johanna Höffken

Our team member Johanna Höffken has just published an article titled ‘Demystification and localization in the adoption of micro-hydro technology: Insights from India’ in Energy Research and Social Sciences journal.

Here’s the abstract:

The phrase ‘small is beautiful’ holds true for the micro-hydro plants discussed in this article. Micro-hydro plants can convert the energy of falling water into electricity. In India, access to electricity cannot be taken for granted, especially in rural areas, which do not yet have grid extension or where it is too costly or infeasible. In these cases, micro-hydro plants are a welcome solution. Here I discuss the efforts of two non-governmental organizations, a private company, and a government agency, to facilitate micro-hydro projects in India, thereby increasing the socio-economic empowerment of rural inhabitants without electricity access. Based on extensive ethnographic data and constructivist conceptualizations of scale and consequences I find that these projects can indeed be described as “beautiful” technology interventions. In line with the common discourse on “small is beautiful,” the projects emphasize community engagement, control, and locality. Yet, importantly, they are “beautiful” in diverse ways. The actors set different priorities when implementing their small-scale technology interventions. Highlighting these priorities is important because they can empower people to acquire different roles, ranging from engaged consumers to prosumers. Instead of solely concentrating on the (small) scale of a technology I plead to consider the significance of implementing these interventions.

You can find the full article here: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214629616302092

Upcoming paper presentation by Dr Johanna Höffken at 4S/EASST conference in Barcelona

Dr. Johanna I. Höffken will attend the upcoming 4S/EASST conference “Science and Technology by Other Means”, which will take place from August 31-September 3, 2016 in Barcelona.

Together with a colleague from Renmin University Bejing she will present a paper in the session on “Smart eco-cities: experimenting with new urban futures”.

Paper title: Smart and eco cities in China and India

Authors: Johanna Höffken (Eindhoven University of Technology)  and Agnes Kneitz (Renmin University)

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Image: Johanna Hoeffken

 

Short Abstract

The development of smart and eco cities in both China and in India has gained high political attention and momentum on the national policy agendas. Following a comparative approach we explore the meaning of smart and eco by analyzing public discourses around eco and smart cities in China and India.

 

Long Abstract

The development of smart and eco cities in both China and in India has gained high political attention and momentum on the national policy agendas.

Since 2014, China is officially building an “Ecological Civilization” for which eco-cities are believed to be strong pillars. India has announced a “Smart Cities Mission” for similar reasons in May 2015 and has engaged 98 cities to compete in a smart city challenge. Winning cities will be supported in the implementation of their smart city plans.

The proposed paper explores the meanings of “smart” and “eco”, which are the key rhetoric lynchpins of these initiatives. In particular, the paper analyses the public discourses around eco and smart cities in China and India. It shows how manifold political, economical, and social aspects influence the shaping of the two concepts and what this might mean for the type and orientation of urban development in these two growing Asian nations.

The paper contributes empirical insights from recent and topical initiatives currently unfolding in China and India. It thus contributes new empirical/conceptual insights about smart-eco city dynamics to a growing body of STS literature on urban development in Asia.

Continue reading

Dutch Embassy in India Interviewes Johanna Hoeffken

Our project lead Dr Johanna Hoeffken was recently interviewed by the Dutch Embassy in India.

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Dr Johanna Hoeffken

She argued that the Smart Grids in India project (DISGI) has taken some key innovative steps towards understading, developing and implementing smart grids in India. These include:

  • Forming an interdisciplinary collaboration of scientists, businesses and societal stakeholders, both in India and the Netherlands
  • Bringing together two Dutch companies, PRE and Rural Spark, and two research institutions, TU/e and TERI University, with a total of 3 post docs, an engineer, a social scientist and an ethicist
  • Conducting a long-term and close study of smart grids
  • Giving equal importance to the technology, social embedding, ethical acceptability and institutional support

Read the full interview on the Dutch embassy website.