The FPRN was created in 2016 with the intention of fostering constructive dialogue and collaboration between research and practice communities in relation to all aspects of the alleviation of fuel and energy poverty. This has been realised through the organisation of regular networking and knowledge exchange events and by helping to shape relevant policy as policy consultees. We have also created a lively email list (subscribed to by ~200 individuals from around the world) and our website regularly features blogs from FPRN board members and fuel poverty scholars and practitioners.
FPRN’s work is underpinned by four core principles:
- Collaborating: creating opportunities for collaborative working within and between sectors in order to promote a stronger collective voice and increase the potential for impact
- Uniting policy, practice and academia in pursuit of the eradication of fuel poverty
- Disseminating and communicating fuel poverty research and intelligence to peers and end users
- Impacting: maximising opportunities for informing and shaping policy and practice.
Uniting research and practice
The network was formed in response to the fact that there was no single forum where the producers and users of fuel poverty research and intelligence could come together. There were and remain, sub-sets of existing learned societies and associations dedicated to fuel poverty or the study of domestic energy more broadly, but these groups tend to be focussed on either the academic or the policy perspective. The FPRN seeks to unite these two communities and indeed all of those with an interest in the resolution of fuel poverty, with the aim of promoting constructive and creative dialogue and creating an environment conducive to securing policy impact and positive change.
What does the network do?
The network includes members from across the academic, policy, voluntary and community and private sectors. The network mainly operates within the UK but has attracted membership from the Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand and continues to expand internationally. Membership is free and our members benefit from first refusal on events which are later opened to a wider audience, advance notice of new research and publications, and access to the FPRN mailing list through which they can circulate information and announcements or canvass opinion.
It is envisaged that FPRN will become a key mechanism for narrowing the gap between academics, policy makers and practitioners that share an interest in bringing fuel poverty to an end. FPRN will also play a key role in creatively and engagingly communicating fuel poverty research and intelligence to a wider, non-specialist audience including the media and the public.
In 2019 the organisation became a registered charity and amongst its objectives is the provision of support to researchers and practitioners early in their career. In 2020 we advanced this aim by securing funding from the Eaga Charitable Trust (upon its closure) to deliver the EPEC project which is intended to encourage a focus on energy poverty amongst early career researchers and practitioners with related interests. In 2021, we will deliver our first international workshop in Portugal with funding from the EU Engager COST Action.
The FPRN is governed by a board of eight trustees, all of whom are engaged in the production or application of fuel and energy poverty related research and are conducting their research across a number of different countries (including the UK, various European countries and Australia).