UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources


Energy, Resources and Development

Energy, Resources and Development focuses on the livelihood, social and policy dimensions of energy and natural resources in low- and middle-income countries.

wires on a telegraph pole

What we do

We use social research methods and policy analysis to examine the governance of energy and natural resource use in developing countries and the outcomes for different social groups. This theme has used the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework for analysing the interlinkages between different types of resources – from land to water, and energy to infrastructure – and the impacts on people, planet and prosperity. 

We work closely with our colleagues in the UCL Energy Institute and the cross-Faculty UCL Energy & Development Group. 

Our work 

Recent research and teaching activities have focused on:

  • Mapping the interlinkages between sanitation and the SDGs. Working with colleagues from UCL Engineering, Development Planning, Science Policy, and Health, the research reveals all 17 SDGs call for action to improve access to sanitation. Finding evidence of multiple actual and potential synergies, the research calls for multi-stakeholder partnerships to deliver holistic, appropriate solutions that meet the needs of local populations.
  • Examining the socio-economic impacts of sugarcane in expansion areas of Brazil. Drawing on the UN Human Development Index and the Social Responsibility Index of São Paulo, this research has developed a method to examine the relationship between the presence of sugarcane processing mills and socio-economic development at the municipal level in that state of Mato Grosso do Sul.
  • In January 2020, a new module for the MSc Economics and Policy of Energy and Environment (EPEE) was launched to focus on Energy, Resources and Environment in Developing Countries. The module covers key theories and frameworks for understanding energy, resources and development, and uses case studies to illustrate the importance of local contexts in shaping the outcomes of energy and resource governance.
  • Advising government departments and International organisations. For example, we are advising energy and development programmes funded by the Department for International Development (DFID) including Energy and Economic Growth and Transforming Energy Access, and Dr Julia Tomei is currently seconded to the Climate and Environment Division within DFID. We have also worked with UN agencies on sustainable energy and development, particularly the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the UN Commission on Science and Technology for Development.

  • OVERCOME project: digital innOVation in flood Early warning and wateR-related disease prevention for COMmunity capacity build and rEsilience. This project will work to address specific challenges in glood, drought, and related disease risk management through creation of innovation technological methodologies and applications.

Energy, Resources and Development Staff

Julia Tomei
Lecturer in Energy, Resources and Development
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Jim Watson
Professor of Energy Policy
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Nick Hughes
Senior Research Fellow
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Oliver Broad
Research Associate
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Photo credit: Julia Tomei, UCL ISR