Stephanie Hirmer is a Senior Researcher in Climate Compatible Growth at the Energy and Power Group where she looks at integrating community viewpoints into energy-related decision-making. As part of this role, she works on the Climate Compatible Growth (CCG) Programme—a flagship £38 million UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO)-funded programme. Here, in her role as Deputy-Research Director, she leads the strategic direction of the research, and also leads a workstream on Advanced Geospatial Modelling. She is also a Visiting Research Fellow at the Centre for Sustainable Development at the University of Cambridge where she completed her PhD and now delivers a course on Energy, Development and Rural Livelihood.
Stephanie's academic career is underpinned by years of practical work experience with international organisations, including the German Development Agency (GIZ) in Uganda and Germany, KfW, Dorsch Consulting, and Arup in the Middle East and UK. This has involved working on projects such as employment generation for water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) infrastructure in informal urban settlements; training, design and implementation of awareness raising campaigns for developing infrastructure; assessing programmes on resilience; and planning and implementing rural electrification projects (solar and hydro). She is also a Co-founder at Rural Senses, a social enterprise underpinned by the User-Perceived Value (UPV) method designed to carefully solicit community values and developed during her PhD research. The company has received international recognition (e.g., Google and Microsoft social impact awards) for its proprietary and needs-based data collection approach and its AI-enhanced data analysis.
Stephanie's particular research interest is on creating value for women and vulnerable groups through energy services, using geospatial modelling, machine learning approaches (e.g., Natural Language Processing (NLP) for analysing qualitative text), and value research (i.e., what is important to people and how can this be accounted for in infrastructure solutions). Her multi-disciplinary and multi-method research is directly working towards Sustainable Development Goals 1 (No Poverty), 5 (Gender Equality), 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy), 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), and 9 (Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure), and touches on political economy, behavioural science, just transition and development economics.
- Principal Investigator, UKPACT project on the integration of national and sub-national energy planning in Kenya.
- Co-Investigator, FCDO funded programme, Climate Compatible Growth (CCG) programme looking at the role of energy-enabled high-income economic opportunities (e.g., hydrogen production, waste management) to drive sustainable and economic growth in rural areas in LMICs.
- Principal Investigator, RAEng Frontiers of Engineering for Development, looking at the feasibility and benefits of lithium-ion second-life battery systems for rural schools in East Africa.
- Africa needs context-relevant evidence to shape its clean energy future. Nature Energy (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41560-022-01152-0
- Opportunities stemming from retrofitting low-resource East African dwellings by introducing passive cooling and daylighting measures. Energy for Sustainable Development, 69 (2022), pp.179-191. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.esd.2022.06.007
- The Resource Curse in Renewable Energy: A framework for risk assessment. Energy Strategy Reviews 41 (2022): 100841. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.esr.2022.100841
- The power of language: Exploring values, empowerment dynamics and communication strategies for gender-inclusive energy service design in rural Uganda. Energy Research & Social Science 85 (2022): 102379. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.erss.2021.102379
- Can electric vehicles be good for Sub-Saharan Africa? Energy Strategy Reviews 38 (2021): 100722. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.esr.2021.100722
- Data needed to decarbonize paratransit in Sub-Saharan Africa. Nature Sustainability 4, 562–564 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41893-021-00721-7