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Frugal innovation for Sustainable & Resilient Energy Resource Optimisation: Mitigating the Energy Crisis

   Business School

About the Project

Project summary

This project investigates the interrelationships between frugal innovation, sustainability and circular operations for sustainable and resilient energy use in developed economies. A qualitative research design will be executed to deepen understandings of adoption and diffusion of frugal innovation, focusing on connections with circularity, in the context of the UK food and hospitality sector. This is intended to scale up the adoption of frugal innovation for resource-sensitive energy use.

Project details

Unlike traditional resource-intensive innovation, frugal innovation facilitates transformation in environments where resource shortage typically deters innovation. Traditionally focused on emerging markets, this is now a global phenomenon as organisations face significant challenges to innovate. Adopting frugal innovation is now an imperative to maintain competitive advantage. Frugal innovation capability may be a higher order strategic capability as organisations strive to increase affordability and sustainability as well as impact economic growth and benefit civic society. The study aims to explore relationships between frugal innovation adoption, sustainability practices and circular operations in the UK food and hospitality sector.

The study rationale is twofold: (1) to address the fragmentation of frugal innovation research and deepen understanding across lenses of conceptualisation, development and diffusion; (2) to explore connections with frugal innovation, sustainability and circularity, essential to scale up the strategic adoption of frugal innovation.

A qualitative research design enables exploration of the scope, antecedents, enablers, barriers and emerging areas of application and adoption of frugal innovation. The current energy crisis will be the backdrop to this study, exploring how organisations adjust to the crisis, where a dramatic rise in electricity and gas prices necessitate sustainable energy. This is particularly problematic for SMEs in food and hospitality, many of whom continue to recover from the pandemic and struggle to survive the added pressure of unprecedented energy costs.


It is expected that the candidate will have a first class Honours Degree or Master Degree (with distinction) in marketing and /or science or engineering discipline and be familiar with innovation management practices and processes in their area. Knowledge of qualitative research design and methodologies is essential. 

Funding Notes

Fully-funded scholarship for 3 years covers all university tuition fees and an annual tax-free stipend for UK students. International students are also eligible for the scholarship, but they would need to find other funding sources to cover the university tuition fee difference between the Home rate and the International rate. Exceptional international candidates may be provided funding for this difference

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