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OU researchers secure €350,000 for social innovation research

Researchers from The Open University (OU) are collaborating with universities, research centres and small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) across Europe on a new €10 million project to decarbonise the continent. The OU team is part of a three-and-a-half-year Horizon Europe-funded European Network of Research Infrastructures for CO2 Transport and Injection (ENCASE) programme, exploring Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) implementation.

Dr Francesca Calo and colleagues Dr Alessandro Sancino, Dr Aqueel Wahga and Professor Edoardo Ongaro and Professor Ali Ataullah from the OU´s Faculty of Business and Law (FBL) will use their €350,000 portion of the funding to develop and evaluate Social Innovation labs, processes and initiatives to integrate research infrastructures in local communities such as East Kilbride in Scotland. Social Innovation labs involve collaborative actions and participatory processes that satisfy social needs, achieve common desires and aspirations to help improve society.

CCS involves capturing the carbon dioxide produced by power generation or industrial activity from the atmosphere, transporting and storing it underground. Project-funder, the European Union (EU) wants to increase community understanding of the process that it believes can substantially reduce carbon emissions and catalyse economic growth.

The researchers will work on developing the UK co-creation initiative with Scottish infrastructure partner TUV SUD National Engineering Laboratory. They will also lead research exploring if, how and under what circumstances the social innovation labs developed worked in the other research infrastructures, using qualitative and quantitative methods.

Lecturer in Management, Dr Calo is principal investigator for the OU’s contribution to ENCASE. She said:

“These social innovation labs will help develop co-creation initiatives involving different stakeholders, including the public sector, non-profit organisations, and local communities. The co-creation processes and resulting projects will focus on environmental sustainability and integrating seven research infrastructures in their local contexts.”

This article was originally published on The Open University research news webpage; click to read the original article.