The aim of the TSEC Trust Symposium was to bring together key individuals from the UK energy research community with leading UK and international social scientists who had previously worked on issues of trust in other social and technological contexts, in order to:
- stimulate inter-disciplinary debate;
- allow UK energy researchers to engage with and learn from leading UK and international social science researchers working on issues and concepts of trust;
- develop new synergies between different strands of energy research and research on trust;
- improve the capacity of UKERC researchers to effectively engage with and critically employ concepts of trust within their own research; and
- contribute to UKERC’s networking function and build up the strengths of the research community.
Sustainable development, global warming and energy security are issues for the current generation and action/inaction now will profoundly affect future generations. Changes seem to be inevitable, but there is room for debate about the extent to which the market will deliver the necessary energy transition or there must be policy-led ‘managed change’. Whichever course is taken, changes on the scale and of the complexity required will depend on cooperation between stakeholders at many levels. Trust/mistrust will play a part, positive or negative, in securing that cooperation. As yet little work has been done on trust in an energy policy context. The TSEC Trust workshop and project are part of an attempt to build capacity among researchers to undertake that task.