Stephanie Hirmer is a researcher at the Energy and Power Group. She is also a Visiting Research Fellow at the Centre for Sustainable Development at the University of Cambridge where she completed here PhD and now delivers a course on Energy, Development and Rural Livelihood. She is a co-founder and technical director at Rural Senses Ltd., a social enterprise that aims to deliver projects that truly benefit and empower receiving communities.
Previously, Stephanie worked as a researcher for the Smart Villages Initiative; lived and worked in rural Uganda and Germany where she worked as a consultant for the German Development Agency (GIZ). As part of this work she designed and implemented community-run hydropower schemes with local governments, worked on an up-scaling strategy for pico-hydropower and solar PV, and developed and implemented operation and maintenance procedures for the same projects. She has also successfully delivered projects for clients such as KfW, Dorsch Consulting, Arup etc.
Stephanie’s primary research interest is on understanding what is important to project beneficiaries when it comes to infrastructure design solutions. She has developed a novel value driven approach – complementary to traditional needs assessments or socio-economic surveys – that, by means of indirect probing, helps to uncover what is of value to project beneficiaries. This is known as User-Perceived Value (UPV). UPV may be defined as: “the benefits, concerns, feelings and underlying drivers that vary in importance and act as the main motivators in the lives of the people—as perceived and defined by the beneficiaries themselves at a given time”.
Her research interests include:
Stephi’s research looks at 'Improving Sierra Leone's Energy System'. This is part of the prestigious UK Department for International Development (DFID) funded Energy and Economic Growth (EEG) applied research programme.
As part of this role she is developing an ‘Impact of Delivery to Effort for Delivery’ framework which seeks to identify the best solutions for Productive Uses of Energy in varying settings.