BiographyDr Schiffer grew up in rural Germany. She studies Design at Leeds Beckett University (2008) and holds a PhD from Queen's University Belfast (2016). Prior to joining Leeds Beckett University, Dr Schiffer led the Scottish part of Community Power, a European funded project that aimed to improve policy and legislation to speed up the development of community-owned renewable energy. She also serves as Senior Independent Director on the board of Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland, is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and Fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA).
Areas of Research / Professional Expertise
Dr Schiffer’s research explores how human-centred design processes can help create socially just futures in the context of energy and water access challenges. Geographically her research is largely focused on The Gambia and Ghana.
Recent projects and collaborations include:
• Initial fieldwork to explore the water and energy nexus in the rural Ashanti region of Ghana. The research received money from the Global Challenges Research Fund awarded through the 2018 Leeds Beckett Building International Collaborations Prize;
• Follow-up research to investigate the energy aspirations of women and young male adults in the Gambian community of Kartong. The project titled ‘Designing energy futures in The Gambia’ was funded through the 2018 BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grants scheme;
• Collaborative research with NUI Galway to investigate historic energy changes in The Gambian community of Kartong funded through the 2017 Shape Energy Research Design Challenge;
• Research into the lived experience of water consumption practices on urban river islands located in the Brazilian state of Pará. Fieldwork in 2017 was part of the EU funded AguaSociAL project aimed at fostering social innovation in the water treatment sector of the Amazon region.
She enjoys travel to experience different cultures and landscapes, nature walks and collecting edible mushrooms.