UT’s Chien-fei Chen was recently informed that she was among a select group of faculty across the country to be named a Fulbright Global Scholar.
Chen, an environmental sociologist and research associate professor and director of education and diversity for CURENT, a National Science Foundation and Department of Energy center housed in the Tickle College of Engineering, was one of only 20 people from the US to be selected for the Global Scholar program.
“This is a great honor to have my research selected for further study,” Chen said. “Being able to have Fulbright backing will allow me to further explore ideas related to interdisciplinary aspects of energy equality. Renewable energy technology is growing fast, but it also raises pressing justice issues related to equity and fairness.”
Her proposal, “When East Meets West: An Interdisciplinary and Cross-cultural Research on Energy Justice and Renewable Technology Adoption for Future Smart Communities” focuses on energy needs and uses across social lines.
Of particular interest to Chen is the concept of energy justice, the idea that low-income households should have the same access to renewable energy as the rest of the population.
Using the integrated method of examining social, behavioral, environmental, and technical impacts on communities, Chen hopes to better understand and model how energy use and access differs across populations when comparing eastern and western cultures.
Though focused on China and the United Kingdom, her work will use methodologies that allow results to be extrapolated into similar areas.
By better understanding energy issues, Chen hopes to combat global energy inequality issues, inform energy policy, and improve outcomes for underserved areas.
Through the award, her hosts will be the School of Engineering at Cardiff University in Wales in the United Kingdom and the School of Economics and Management at China University of Geosciences in Wuhan.
The Fulbright Global Scholar award was created to help US academic projects spanning across international borders, giving them combined teaching and research activity that can last up to two years.