IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference (GHTC)
Technology for the Benefit of Humanity // Santa Clara University, USA / September 8-11, 2022

Interactive sand-pit workshop: Modern Energy Cooking Services

Interactive sand-pit workshop: Modern Energy Cooking Services

Date: Thursday, October 17, 1-5 pm



Transitions to clean modern cooking using gas or electricity beyond solid biomass (e.g. firewood and charcoal) is still lagging behind despite the 1.8 billion people having access to electricity. Barriers such as load shedding, weak grids, affordability of electricity, accessibility of liquid petroleum gas (LPG), tradition, perceptions, and a lack of suitable cooking appliances hold back scale up of modern clean energy cooking.

This workshop invites all energy access and/or clean cooking stakeholders from the humanitarian, development, academic and energy organizations to join an interactive sand-pit workshop presented by Modern Energy Cooking Services project team supported by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), UK Aid, funded £39.8 million programme

Sandpits involve a highly multidisciplinary mix of participants, from researchers, practitioners to potential users of research outcomes, to drive lateral thinking and innovative approaches to address research challenges beyond “business-as-usual”. Small breakout groups will involve intensive discussion where free thinking is encouraged to tackle problems of modern energy cooking to uncover radical solutions. These group will have the opportunity to cross-pollinate ideas, network and develop project proposals for open funding calls coordinated by the MECS programme.

Description of workshop

The session is divided into five activities:

Activity Time
1. Defining the scope of modern energy cooking 10 mins
2. Agreeing on a common set of terminology and language amongst diverse disciplines and backgrounds. 10 mins
3. Sharing an understanding of the problem. 15 mins
4. Using creative and innovative thinking techniques to focus on the problem. 15 mins
5. Developing ideas into research project proposals. 40 mins


Participants are encouraged from all backgrounds and disciplines, from technologists and engineers to designers, social scientists, psychologists, healthcare specialists and finance. The philosophy of the sandpit is that participants will shape the process and the outputs. Participants are expected to contribute fully and constructively including making hard decisions about prioritisation of ideas and research groupings for tackling the challenge of modern energy cooking services.


Anh L.H. Tran (Coventry University, United Kingdom (Great Britain))

Dr Anh Tran is a Senior Lecturer in Humanitarian Engineering at Coventry University. Her research focuses on sustainable food, energy and water systems and services in displacement and challenging remote context. She has over 10 years’ experience with working with communities on international development engineering projects in Africa, Asia, South America and Australasia. Anh cross-pollinates engineering and social science on topical issues of sustainability, climate change and poverty alleviation. Anh has secured over £1.5M research funding from EPSRC, British Council, Innovate UK and RA Eng. She also champions increasing global diversity in the engineering sector and is a member of the EPSRC Early Career Research Forum.