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Philomathia Social Sciences Research Programme


Principal Investigator - Professor Jorge E. Vinuales (Department of Land Economy)

Reliance on fossil fuels is a defining feature of our civilisation since the industrial revolution in the eighteenth century. Moving away from such reliance at the lowest social and economic cost is one of the major challenges humanity faces today.

The ‘Law of Energy Transitions’ project conducted at the Cambridge Centre for Environment, Energy and Natural Resource Governance (C-EENRG) aims to develop a systematic survey of (a) the governance instruments used in different countries to effect a shift in the energy matrix, (b) their comparative performance based on common metrics, (c) their interactions beyond the domestic level through regional (e.g. European) and international (e.g. international organisations, forums, treaties, soft-law) coordination techniques.

It is first intended as a detailed census of the many existing species of regulatory techniques, as a prelude to the analysis of their individual and comparative performance in reaching a particular policy goal (e.g. reducing emissions of greenhouse gases, increasing energy efficiency or reliance on – certain – renewable energy sources) and, more fundamentally, to the engineering of such tools to optimise their effectiveness while minimising their social costs (e.g. the brisk changes in the demand for labour or the impact of energy policies on human freedoms).

The Philomathia Foundation has generously supported a post-doctoral fellowship to conduct research on the international legal dimensions of energy. Leslie-Anne Duvic-Paoli has recently joined C-EENRG as the new Philomathia Fellow on International Energy Law. In this capacity, she will support the ‘Law of Energy Transitions’ project and develop an independent line of research in order to strengthen international energy law at Cambridge.

The project has led to the creation of a Platform on International Energy Governance, which brings together leading universities and research centres undertaking research in the field of international energy law and policy: 

The database of bilateral energy agreements supported by Philomathia as part of The Law of Energy Transitions project has now been made publicly available. It appears in the opening page of C-EENRG:

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History of Wealth Project

This project, co-funded by the Philomathia Foundation and the Isaac Newton Trust, investigates the broader significance of wealth an inheritance in 19th and early-20th century Britain.

Masters in Public Policy

This programme was launched by POLIS in October 2013, and aims to train future policy-makers to value and promote evidence-based policies that can most benefit society.