Who are the women scholars doing energy research and what are they studying? My Submission to York University's Research Symposium

York University has put out a call for abstracts for their “Environment and Climate Change” Symposium happening in November 2016. This is the submission I have put forward!

Submission from Professor Christina E. Hoicka, PowerStream Chair in Sustainable Energy Economics, and Research Associate of Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies and member of the Environmental Research Group.

I propose that York University invite this impressive list of women scholars who do research within and about the energy sector to discuss both their research, and what it’s like to be a woman scholar in the energy sector. I have provided brief descriptions and contact information for each proposed panelist.

Title: Who are the women scholars doing energy research and what are they studying?

Abstract: The energy sector contributes to over 80% of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions and addressing climate change requires important changes in relationships between technology and communities. However, there is growing concern that lack of diversity in the workforce is a barrier to discourse and innovation of energy in communities. For example, where documented, women often make up less than 20% of an energy sector workforce. This panel presents an impressive interdisciplinary group of emerging to established internationally recognized women scholars to discuss both their important contributions to a wide range of energy research topics as well as their experience as a woman researching issues of energy and environment.

Initial suggested panelists —there are more women scholars who can be added to this list.

Bipasha Baruah, Canada Research Chair in Global Women's Issues, Associate Professor, Women's Studies and Feminist Research, Western University. She conducts research on women's participation in the green economy. Her research explores the opportunities and constraints that low-income women face in securing equitable, healthy and decent jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities in low-carbon economies focused on renewable energy and resource efficiency in different world regional contexts.

Dawn Bazely, professor of Biology in the Faculty of Science at York University, Toronto. Dawn was Director of IRIS, the university-wide Institute for Research and Innovation in Sustainability for 4 terms, spanning 2006-11 and 2012-14. From 2006 to 2011, Dawn led the Canadian section of the International Polar Year project, GAPS: Gas, Arctic Peoples and Security.

Shibani Chaudhury, Professor at Visva-Bharati University, Santiniketan, Bengal, India. Visiting Scholar to York University during her sabbatical year, 2016-2017. She is an environmental scientist, who specializes in environmental toxicology. Together with colleagues in India and the UK, Shibani's BioCPV research, which is part of the Bridging the Urban and Rural Divide Project, has been aimed at bring reliable electricity to villages in India that don't have it. Biomass from invasive plant species, such as water hyacinths and salvinia, produces the biogas, methane, through anaerobic digestion. The methane powers a generator, that kicks in when solar panels in the system don't work at night.

Runa Das, PhD in Environmental Applied Science and Management, Ryerson University. Her research explores the construct of energy literacy. What is energy literacy and how can it be measured? As well, is someone's energy literacy related to their energy consumption? Her research interests also include initiatives aimed at household energy consumption, instrument/survey development, and public perceptions of energy consumption.

Petra Dolata, Associate Professor, History Department, University of Calgary, Tier II Canada Research Chair - History of Energy. Canada Research Chair in history of energy at University of Calgary; expert on Canadian Arctic policy and international politics and history of energy.

Christina E. Hoicka, Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Environmental Studies and PowerStream Chair of Sustainable Energy Economics at York University. With degrees in engineering, environmental studies and geography, her approach to research is cross- and interdisciplinary and she employs mixed-methods approaches. Her research examines problems where communities and energy systems intersect. She has conducted research on: conducted research on: the adoption of clean energy technologies; household engagement with smart grids; participation in community-based energy efficiency programs; and renewables integration into the electricity grid.

Nicole Klenk, Assistant Professor, Geography and Planning, University of Toronto. Her research addresses role of science in addressing complex environmental problems. Her research seeks to examine the science-policy interface, the ethics and politics of knowledge co-production, mobilization and application, and new modes of environmental governance. Her areas of focus are forestry, biodiversity conservation and climate change adaptation.

Jessie Ma, IESO Distinguished Research Fellow at the Centre for Urban Energy at Ryerson University and PhD Candidate, Electrical Engineering, Ryerson University, She is the co-founder of the ALERT project, which encourages energy conservation and efficiency in Toronto’s low-income apartment buildings.  Jessie spent over a dozen years at Hydro One and was the driving force behind the launch of the corporate responsibility program.  She led the company in obtaining the Canadian Electricity Association’s prestigious Sustainable Electricity Company designation.

Gabrielle Slowey, Associate Professor of Political Science and Director, Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies. Her research concentrates on the political economy of resource extraction, unconventional oil and gas (oil sands and fracking), local resistance, environmental/ecological integrity, democracy, the duty to consult, land claims and self-government.