The MECS partnership draws on the knowledge and experience of partners from around the world, led by a core project management team at Loughborough University.

The management team

Ed Brown

MECS Research Director

Ed Brown is the MECS Research Director. He is a Professor of Global Energy Challenges at Loughborough University with research interests in the fields of governance and international development issues with current research outputs focusing upon: questions of transparency and corruption; financial globalization and the financial needs of the poor; and energy access and low carbon energy transitions. Ed has also long had a particular interest in the Central American region where he has explored the political economy of state reforms as well as the broader impacts of neoliberal globalization. As well as being the MECS PI, Ed is the Co-Coordinator of the UK Low Carbon Energy for Development Network through which we are building bridges between the divergent branches of academia working on energy and international development issues. Through this he also leads the LCEDN’s involvement in DFID’s Transforming Energy Access initiative. He is (or has recently been) PI on three EPSRC/DFID-funded projects in this field. One involved networking the projects funded under the RCUK Understanding Sustainable Energy Solutions (USES Network) programme, whilst the other two were research projects, one exploring the implications of political decentralization for energy governance in Africa (READ) and the other exploring the potential of solar nano-grids in the contexts of Kenya and Bangladesh (SONG).

Simon Batchelor

UK Research and Innovation Co-ordinator

Simon is the UK research and innovation co-ordinator. He has over 30 years’ experience in development. Starting in agriculture and water provision in the 80’s, he focused on Wind and Solar energy, contributing to the early development of renewable energy in Africa and Asia.  In the 90’s, he designed and implemented an innovative programme of social mobilisation in Cambodia – which saw considerable impact over a ten year period.  This experience influenced his interest in the importance of social factors in technology adoption, and led to stream of participatory research focused on the role of energy in development. In 2002, based on research in Africa, Simon began to Champion the potential of using Mobile Phones for banking the unbanked and lowering remittance costs.  From 2010 onwards he has returned to his clean energy roots, and is currently part of a number of research teams on low carbon programmes.  A practitioner at heart, he is currently Director of Gamos Ltd, which undertakes action research and learning on the social factors influencing development programmes.

Louise Medland

Project Manager

Louise has worked in international development for 10 years in a range of roles that have taken her all over the world. Having originally intended to specialise in renewable energies, she ended up becoming a water, sanitation and health (WASH) specialist for 10 years and even did a PhD focusing on toilets. She’s now managing the MECS programme and is based at Loughborough University.

Yabei Zhang

ESMAP Senior Energy Specialist

Yabei leads the Efficient and Clean Cooking and Heating initiative, focusing her support on cooking programs in Africa and South Asia. Since she joined the World Bank as a Young Professional in 2008, Yabei has managed energy projects in the East Asia and Pacific, Europe, and Central Asia regions, with a focus on household energy and energy efficiency. She led the regional flagship program the East Asia and Pacific Clean Stove Initiative with country programs in China, Mongolia, Indonesia and Lao PDR; and co-ordinated efficient and clean heating projects in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Prior to joining the World Bank Yabei worked at the Joint Global Change Research Institute .She holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Maryland and a MA in City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Jane Spencer

Challenge Fund Manager

Jane Spencer joined the MECS team in March 2019 and is responsible for the coordination of the MECS Challenge Fund. She is the first point of contact for all Challenge related enquiries and is based at Loughborough University. Following two years setting up and establishing a Doctoral Training Programme for the Energy Research Accelerator, Jane has experience of working in multi-partner collaborative projects. Jane has a broad range of experience encompassing university administration, event management and facilitating links between industrial and academic partners to increase research and development within the field of renewable energy.

Joni Cook

Research Administrator

Joni joined the world of energy in 2017. An ecologist by training she now works within the MECS team and is responsible for building internal and external communications for the MECS programme and the LCEDN. Joni has a broad range of experience in maximising the impacts of communication plans and driving engagement and participation across programme agendas.