IUS Professor Collaborates on Decarbonization Efforts for City of Rijeka

IUS Professor Collaborates on Decarbonization Efforts for City of Rijeka

Associate Professor Dr. Aliaksandr Novikau, from the Political Science and International Relations (PSIR) study program, has contributed to developing a more sustainable energy future for the city of Rijeka, Croatia.

The SSH CENTRE is a 3 million Euro Horizon Europe project representing the cross-European Centre of Research Excellence for Climate-Energy-Mobility Social Sciences and Humanities. Dr. Novikau had the opportunity to contribute to knowledge brokerage alongside colleagues from Université Grenoble Alpes (France) and Charles University (Czechia) and as part of the team “Fossil-free heating and cooling”. Currently the decarbonization potential of district heating is largely untapped as globally 90% of the heat is produced from fossil fuels. Thus, the team’s focus has been on supporting Rijeka’s efforts to decarbonize its district heating system. Its work involved exploring how social science and humanities research can inform policymakers for overcoming social challenges associated with the transition. These challenges can include engaging the public, addressing limitations faced by stakeholders, and fostering collaboration between different groups.

Dr. Novikau’s experience in teaching social science research methods at IUS was useful for the project. At a workshop held in Rijeka on May 7–8, 2024, he presented the potential of various SSH research methods to understand and address the social dimensions of decarbonization of district heating. His presentation highlighted the importance of established traditional observational research techniques alongside participatory methods that encourage engagement.

This project is a great example of how IUS academics can contribute to sustainable development goals on a global scale using their teaching and research conducted at our university.