Postgraduate Paper Competition

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The Energy Geographies Research Group (EnGRG) hosts an annual competition for outstanding papers written by postgraduate students.

Details of the 2022 award winners can be found below. Three £50 prizes were awarded for the following categories:

  1. Outstanding Research Design & Methods;

  2. Outstanding Conceptual Contribution; and

  3. Outstanding Impact & Engagement.

Details of our 2023 competition will be announced early in the new year. The deadline for submissions will be at the end of May. If you have any queries about the awards, please get in touch at

Eligibility requirements:

  • All currently enrolled postgraduate students at any institution across the world are eligible to submit a paper (applicants do not need to be members of the RGS-IBG);

  • Submissions must be in English and between 3,000 and 5,000 words in length (references, tables and figures are not included in the word count);

  • Examples of eligible submissions include, but are not limited to, journal articles in development or already published, chapters, policy papers and conference submissions. If your overall piece is longer than the word limit, please select sections (up to 5,000 words total) that you would like to have considered;

  • Multi-authored papers will be accepted, but if writing with senior colleagues the student must have led a significant proportion of the writing. If the PGR is not the lead author please make clear in the justification statement which sections the student led. Co-authored submissions from multiple students are admissible but, if awarded, the winners would need to share the cash prize equally;

  • Applicants can only be considered for one award category and may only submit one piece of work.

2022 Winners

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Outstanding Conceptual Contribution 2022 Winner

Jacob McLean (York University, Canada)

"United They Roll? How Canadian Fossil Capital Subsidizes the Far-Right"

Jacob McLean’s book chapter entitled, “United They Roll? How Canadian Fossil Capital Subsidizes the Far Right” is forthcoming in Fanning the Flames: Political Ecologies of the Far Right, edited by Irma Kinga Allen, Kristoffer Ekberg, Ståle Holgersen and Andreas Malm (2023, Manchester University Press). The chapter focuses on the high point of the Yellow Vests Canada (YVC) movement, the United We Roll Convoy, which drew national media attention when YVC activists drove transport trucks from Red Deer, Alberta to protest outside the Canadian parliament in Ottawa, Ontario on February 19th, 2019. The chapter is divided into four main sections. The first section contextualizes Canada, and the province of Alberta in particular, as a place where fossil capital plays a hegemonic role in the political economy. The second section argues United We Roll was a “subsidized public” with two main tributaries: “extractive populist” groups funded by fossil capital, and far-right anti-immigrant groups emboldened by the “Trump effect” (Gunster et al., 2021; Perry et al., 2019). The third section shows how extractive populist groups struggled for and ultimately lost control of the direction of the movement they subsidized. The fourth section proposes a demarcation between big and small fossil capital and reflect on why the former eventually distanced itself from the convoy, while the latter did not. It concludes with brief notes on how the relationship between Canadian fossil capital and the far right has developed in the years since United We Roll.

Outstanding Research Design and Methods 2022 Winner

Lena Killan (University of Leeds)

"Effective mitigation of transport emissions in London neighbourhoods: spatial patterns, social factors, and wellbeing"

Recent years have seen an increased interest in demand-side mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions. Despite the oftentimes spatial nature of emissions research, links to social factors and infrastructure are often not analysed geographically. To reach substantial and lasting emission reductions without further disadvantaging vulnerable populations, the design of effective mitigation policies on the local level requires considerations of spatial and social inequalities as well as the context of well-being. Consequently, we explore spatial variations in the links between consumption-based transport emissions with infrastructural factors, such as workplace distance and public transport density, and with risk-factors of transport poverty, including income, age, ethnicity, mobility constraints in London. We find that linear models report significant spatial autocorrelation at p ≤ 0.01 in their model residuals, indicating spatial dependency. Using geographically weighted regression models improves model fits by an adjusted R2 value of 9–70% compared to linear models. Here, modelling flight emissions generally sees the lowest improvements, while those models modelling emissions from cars and vans see the highest improvements in model fit. We conclude that using geographically weighted regression to assess the links between social factors and emissions offers insights which global, linear models overlook. Moreover, this type of analysis enables an assessment of where, spatially, different types of policy interventions may be most effective in reducing not only emissions, but transport poverty risks. Patterns of spatial heterogeneity and policy implications of this research are discussed.

Read the paper here: 

Twitter: @lenakilian_


Institutional profile:

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Outstanding Impact and Engagement 2022 Winner

Maiss Razem (Cambridge University, UK

"Selling ‘cool’: The role of marketing in normalizing domestic air-conditioning in Jordan"

Use of air-conditioners (ACs) is predicted to rise globally. However, there remains a gap in understanding the role of media and emotions in normalizing AC. Guided by the social practice theory, this study investigates escalating use of ACs in Jordan, drawing on statistical data, advertisement content analysis, and expert interviews. From the marketing analysis, three periods were identified: seeding the need through prescriptions of ‘distinction’ (1971–1991), glamorizing the need prescribing ‘the good life’ (1992–2015), and need taking root with prescriptions of ‘normality’ (2016-present). Initially, AC was connoted with modernity, aesthetic taste, and luxury, embraced by affluent homeowners who shared similar aspirations with contracted newly trained architects. Prescriptions that followed deployed a wider range of emotions (family, safety, happiness, fear, envy) targeting the middle-class, with twice the ad exposure and 13-fold increase in AC uptake by 2013 compared to 1991. It is during this period that new rules, norms, and meanings around AC arguably took hold, co-evolving with the diffusion of new housing typologies and urban densification in Amman. Post 2016, drastic drop in AC advertising suggests that domestic AC has become collectively internalized in Jordan, supported by prescriptions of ‘normality’, with reduced use of positive emotions in marketing, and the demand driven by supply rather than necessity. The paper contributes to the emerging interest in understanding the role of emotions in reproducing (un)sustainable practices and recommends limiting emotional prescriptions mobilized by media, especially in countries with low AC uptake.


Read the paper here:

Twitter: @RazemMaiss

Institutional Profile:

Highly Commended Papers

Adam Gallaher (University of Connecticut)

‘Legacy and shockwaves: A spatial analysis of strengthening resilience of the power grid in Connecticut’

(Outstanding Research Design and Methods category)

Read the paper here:


Carlos Tornel (Durham University, UK)

"Decolonizing Energy Justice From the Ground Up"

(Outstanding Conceptual Contribution category)


Robert Wade (Queen’s University Belfast, UK)

"Reclaiming the Windy Commons: Landownership, Wind Rights and the Assetization of Renewable Resources" 

(Outstanding Conceptual Contribution category)

Read the paper here:

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