MRI Synthesis Workshop 2021 | Renewable Energy Transitions: Comparative Assessment in the Hindu Kush Himalayas, Andes, and Alps
MRI News
article written by MRI
10.02.21 | 01:02

As part of our commitment to support our research community to advance key research questions relevant for knowledge on social-ecological systems in mountains, the MRI funds MRI Synthesis Workshops

These workshops bring together global change researchers to address specific topics of interest to the mountain research community, with the objective of producing synthesis products such as articles for publication in peer-reviewed scientific journals or the compilation of relevant data into publishable datasets or databases. For the 2020 call, the MRI Coordination Office received 13 proposals that met the conditions for funding support, from which two were selected. Due to the complex situation around the COVID-19 pandemic for much of 2020, the first of these Synthesis Workshops will take place online in 2021. 

Renewable Energy Transitions: Comparative Assessment in the Hindu Kush Himalayas, Andes, and Alps

Christopher Scott (Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy, University of Arizona, USA & Mountain Chair at the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, ICIMOD), and Chi Huyen Truong (Himalayan University Consortium, HUC, ICIMOD). 

Scott and Truong will explore key synthesis questions around the water-energy-food nexus, including water availability and its use in energy, agriculture, and other needs in mountain areas as part of the 2021 HUC Academy. The funding from the MRI will support expanding the scope of the Academy that ICIMOD already provides for the HKH region, enabling additional input and participation from researchers (including early career researchers) from the Andes and the European Alps. This will facilitate an interregional exchange that not only enhances learning and networking opportunities for participants, but also provides a comparative basis for a synthesis of these key issues across those mountain regions under examination.


The impacts of climate change in mountain regions are accentuated by elevation-dependent warming
and precipitation variability higher than in other regions, coupled with greater dependence of mountain communities on local sources of energy and other resources. Energy systems are central to climate change both as drivers and responses. The development and use of energy resources, particularly fossil fuels, are the principal causes of global warming. At the same time, climate-change impacts across a range of social and ecological systems require mitigation and adaptation in which less carbon-intensive energy uses play a central role. Climate-change dynamics are not uniformly distributed globally, with temperature rise occurring differentially higher in polar and mountain regions. Especially in mountain regions, energy-use alternatives can be constrained due to inadequate infrastructure, remoteness, and reliance on traditional forms of energy that may be difficult to diversify.

This workshop, jointly sponsored by ICIMOD’s Himalayan University Consortium and the Mountain Research Initiative (MRI), and coordinated by the University of Arizona’s Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy, is a community-led activity bringing together experts including young professionals to connect and synthesize existing data, information, publications, and/or other forms of knowledge to provide new insights on the state of mountains and renewable energy transitions in a global context.


This virtual workshop aims to synthesize current understanding and address future challenges related to energy transitions in mountain regions with an emphasis on renewable energy in the context of climate change in the Hindu Kush Himalaya, Andes, and Alps.

Workshop participants will also address current challenges in mountain regions related to climate- change impacts on energy systems with an emphasis on renewables and transitions towards carbon neutrality as well as to present and discuss adaptation solutions by mountain communities and economic sectors.


The workshop will be limited to 50 registered participants, including 15 invited experts and 35 participants. Interested researchers, policy makers, and practitioners should apply via the HUC Portal by 1 March 2021

Please note that in order to encourage participants from Latin America and Europe, the deadline has been extended to 10 March 2021 for applicants from those two regions only.

Notification of acceptance will be communicated by 16 March 2021.

Young and female professionals, those from under- represented communities, and graduate students are especially encouraged to apply.

Applications from past HUC fellows who successfully completed the Water–energy–food nexus: Adaptive response to regional Hindu Kush Himalayan challenges course (19 May 2020 to 04 June 2020) will receive designated merit points in the selection process.


The workshop will be led by Christopher Scott (Udall Center, University of Arizona, USA) and jointly coordinated by Chi H Truong (Shachi, ICIMOD), and Carolina Adler (MRI, University of Bern, Switzerland).

Given the time zone differences among the regions of expected participants, the workshop will be held for two-and-a-half hours each on three consecutive days (7–9 April 2021), totalling seven-and-a-half hours of content.

Key Dates

Application deadline: extended to 10 March 2021 for applicants from Latin America and Europe, and those who are based elsewhere but working on relevant issues of the Andes and Alps
Notification of acceptance: 16 March 2021
Synthesis workshop: 7 – 9 April 2021, Zoom, 4pm – 6:30pm (CET), 7:45pm – 10:15pm (Nepal), 7am – 9:30am (U.S. MST)

For further information, please contact Achala Sharma.

Read the workshop flyer here. Find the workshop on the MRI Events calendar here


The MRI’s financial support for synthesis workshops is made available thanks to the Swiss Academy of Sciences (SCNAT) and the Office of Foreign Affairs of the Principality of Liechtenstein.  

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LLV Amt für Auswärtige Angelegenheiten ENGLISCH

Cover image courtesy of ICIMOD.