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Frequently Asked Questions

The MISTRAL project has received funding as an Innovative Training Network from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions (Grant Agreement No 813837).


Here are some Frequently Asked Questions about MISTRAL:

What is the motivation behind MISTRAL?
Will the project involve travel?
Who funds MISTRAL and why now?
Is this an enabling project for renewable energy?
Will MISTRAL fund installation of renewable energy infrastructure?
Are you trying to change public opinion on renewable energy?
Who is involved in this project? Are NGOs/industry/developers involved in this research?
How will the data be collected?
How and when will the public find out the results of this research?
How do I find out more about MISTRAL?

 

What is the motivation behind MISTRAL?

MISTRAL is a training programme: the aim of MISTRAL is to develop a group of researchers who can effectively evaluate the complexity of some of the aspects of the low carbon transition, particularly those linked to the development of renewable energy infrastructure. We hope that this will help identify innovative solutions for addressing some of the challenges for the low carbon transition and our project objectives are here. We advertised globally to find the brightest and best researchers who were at the start of their careers, and have recruited 15 researchers now based in eight European Universities.

 

Will the project involve travel?

Our Early Stage Researchers are conscious of the impact of their activities, especially travel, on the climate, and have agreed on a policy to minimise this. You can read it here.

 

Who funds MISTRAL and why now?

MISTRAL is completely funded by the European Union, under Horizon 2020, under Grant Agreement ID: 813837, with details here. The idea for MISTRAL emerged from activity of the International Energy Agency’s Task28, which has involved many of the lead academics in MISTRAL, in order to provide a much deeper and inter-disciplinary understanding of some of the social challenges of renewables. It was recognised that we are at the beginning of a global transition to a low carbon economy that will fundamentally change society’s relationship with energy and result in major shifts in economic, social and technological organisation, and research is required to better understand and negotiate this transformation.  While there is a large body of emerging research in this field, it is recognised that we still do not fully understand how the community, market and social-political dimensions of social acceptance of renewables investment and infrastructure development interact with each other, and over time, and we wanted to train a new generation of researchers to be able to engage with these issues. 

Our proposal was submitted to the European Commission in 2018; this was evaluated by expert independent reviewers who considered that the proposal was of sufficient quality and impact that it should be funded. The project was initiated on January 1st 2019, and will run for four years.

 

Is this an enabling project for renewable energy?

No. MISTRAL does not aim to enable or promote any energy source, but we do recognise that the current changes in our climate require a rapid shift to more sustainable forms of power generation. As the most established renewable technology in Europe, a particular focus of our research will be wind energy projects. We will research opinions, attitudes, behaviours, policies, governance, project designs and processes, and all stakeholders will be given equal respect in our research. MISTRAL aims to provide training to our Early Stage Researchers, and in doing so provide an independent (and current) scientific evidence base to help the public, regulators, policymakers, and businesses to make informed decisions concerning the development of renewable energy infrastructure. Published outputs from the programme will be made available to everyone.

 

Will MISTRAL fund installation of renewable energy infrastructure?

No. Our network has a wider range of partners, which are all listed on our website (here) and while this does include some organisations that promote wind energy projects, they are not receiving any funds from the project; this is all being invested in training our 15 researchers. No funds are being used to install - or facilitate the installation - of any infrastructure, or technically develop any energy devices. The purpose of the MISTRAL programme is solely to provide training and support to researchers who will produce independent scientific evidence to support the just development of a low carbon economy.

 

Are you trying to change public opinion on renewable energy?

No. The point of the research in MISTRAL is to understand a wide range of opinions related to renewable energy, but not to change them. MISTRAL facilitates world class research that will produce an independent scientific evidence base that will help the public, regulators, policymakers, and businesses to make informed decisions concerning the development of renewable energy infrastructure and the broader energy transition. Published outputs from the programme will be peer reviewed, and available to all under normal open access practice. We will also produce guides for the public, briefings for policy makers, and present our work at conferences and other meetings as much as possible.

 

Who is involved in this project? Are NGOs/industry/developers involved in this research?

Our 15 researchers are all based in one of eight world class European research universities. They are employed by their host university and are pursuing PhD research projects supervised by academics from their home university and other beneficiaries. A wide group of stakeholders are involved in the project (see our project partners here, and our External Expert Board here). Typically, the role of a project partner is to host a secondment for one of our researchers. This means they that they support the delivery of a research project by providing in kind support such as access to evidence, facilities, or data.

 

How will the data be collected?

As the purpose is to create an independent evidence base, our social science research will involve independent measurements led and taken by the researchers. As it is a multi-disciplinary project, the researchers will use a wider range of methods (including interviews, surveys, policy analysis, participant observation, economic appraisal) and collect different types of social, economic, and environmental data.

 

How and when will the public find out the results of this research?

We aim to be transparent and accessible in providing the results of the research findings translated into meaningful language for the public. All scientific publications arising from this programme will be peer reviewed and published in appropriate journals, which will be accessible via our website. We will also produce guides explain in our work and what we found for non-experts, all of which will be made available here.

 

This section is in development - check back for more information

 

How do I find out more about MISTRAL?

There are plenty of ways to keep up with the project:
Our Cordis factsheet is here
Our project website is here
Our Twitter account is here
We’ll be posting updates to our LinkedIn group page and our Researchgate project page

If you need to know anything else about MISTRAL, please contact our Project Manager, Dr Nick Johnston at: mistral-itn(at)qub(dot)ac(dot)uk