ESR Project 8

Local Energy Challenges and Global Sustainability: Electricity and Human Development in Uganda

Supervisors Thomas Hylland Eriksen (University of Oslo) and Andrew Bowman (University of Edinburgh)

Increasing rural electricity access is among the most important development challenges for sub-Saharan Africa. The PhD project will examine the contribution of increased electricity access to human development and sustainability in the context of northern Uganda.

The researcher will explore patterns of local electricity usage in order to identify the determinants of grid access and the socio-economic impacts of new energy flows. Using ethnographic and historical methods, the researcher will analyze the factors affecting access to grid electricity at individual, household, market and political levels, and the manner in which energy shortages and inequalities have constrained human development and threatened human security. The researcher will examine the impacts of new grid access on these factors, and the potential of renewable energy and micro-grid alternatives to increase access and enhance human development.

The project will be based at the University of Oslo but carried out in partnership with NORAD, which has funded three electricity lines to the northern Uganda area with the Ugandan Government’s Rural Electrification Agency. Alongside 12 months of ethnographic fieldwork in northern Uganda, the project will include a 3-month secondment to work with NORAD as an intern on energy issues, contributing to their research and programs in this field and writing a policy brief.

Anthusia welcomes applicants with an MA or equivalent in social anthropology. Applicants with a documented interest in energy and sustainability, and/or a previous research experience in Africa, are especially encouraged to apply.