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CenSES - a “national energy team” with a social perspective

SINTEF is a partner in one of the three new national centres for research in environmentally friendly energy (FMEs) which were launched in February. The CenSES virtual research centre will focus on studies and decision-support systems that will underpin the development of a new sustainable energy system.

One prerequisite for a new, more environmentally friendly global energy system is that new technologies and energy systems are well understood, accepted and used by the general public.

CenSES will integrate insights from energy economics, energy systems analysis,
political science, sociology, innovation studies, technology and scientific studies.

The overarching aim of the centre is to improves the basis for decision-making in our energy strategy for the future at both consumer and system level, for decision-makers in the public and private sectors.


Two SINTEF participants

NTNU has overall responsibility for CenSES, which will be led by Professor Asgeir Tomasgard, who also has a part-time position in the Department of Applied Economics at SINTEF Technology and Society.

As a partner in the centre, SINTEF is represented by SINTEF Energy Research and SINTEF Technology and Society.

Important aspects

SINTEF Group director Tonje Hamar of SINTEF Technology and Society says that it is extremely important that FME centres are being established to focus on societal aspects of the energy and environmental challenges that we face.

“Society needs holistic analyses, and it is important to incorporate the understanding provided by the social sciences in the decision-making processes that will underlie future energy strategies,” she says.

Strong partnership

Hamar emphasises that participation in CenSES is an important investment for SINTEF, which has made a significant contribution to the development of the new centre.

“This is a strong partnership, which is now ready to start collaborating on long-term research topics in this vitally important field.”

The rest of the team

Besides NTNU and SINTEF, the CenSES team includes the Institute for Energy Technology (IFE), the Norwegian School of Management and Business Administration (NHH), Social and Industrial Research AS (SNF), the University of Oslo and Sogn og Fjordane Regional College/Vestlandsforskning.

Other new centres

The three new centres that were launched by Minister of Petroleum and Energy Terje Riis-Johansen in February, and which are collectively known as FME Society, all approach energy policy via the social sciences. The two other centres are:

- Oslo Centre for Research in Environmentally Friendly Energy (CREE). Host institution: The Frish Centre. SINTEF Energy Research is a sub-contractor to this centre.
- Strategic Challenges in International Climate andEnergy Policy (CICEP). Host institution: CICERO.


Photo: CenSES will aid Norwegian efforts to develop emission-free sources of energy