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JOINT Fund series: Utility Business Model Innovation through Digitalisation in Low-income Communities

14 June 2019

2 mins

Dr Kun Fu, Elizabeth Nyeko, Professor Mathew Hughes and Dr Yogachandran Rahulamathavan lead a project supported by the JOINT Fund that aims to improve our understanding of the current energy business context under the influence of digital technologies, and the role of key stakeholders in the energy ecosystem.

This research project explores their experiences of different business models, and identify the barriers and enablers of digitalisation in driving the emergence of new utility business models. 

This project represents the first steps in developing a future impactful interdisciplinary research collaboration through carrying out an explorative field study in low-income communities of South Africa and Tanzania in Africa. It aims to improve our understanding of the current energy business context under the influence of digital technologies, and the role of key stakeholders in the energy ecosystem, explore their experiences of different business models, and identify the barriers and enablers of digitalisation in driving the emergence of new utility business models. The project will gather insights to inform the development of digitally-driven and customer-centric utility business models in the energy sector.

To date, a conceptual framework that takes into consideration the research interests of each team member involved has been developed. A pilot interview has been designed to better understand the issues regarding the business models and their potential for digital transformation in the energy sector before the field study. The team has applied for other bigger research grant- the British Council UK-China-BRI countries Partnership Fund, and are preparing for the upcoming opportunities – the GCRF Sustainable energy and international development: beyond technology and the UK Research and Innovation Future Leaders Fellowships.


More information on the JOINT Fund and this year’s projects can be found on our news story.

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