Dr Denise McKahn

Denise McKahn 200x200

Dr Denise McKahn

Zoe Robinson 200x200

Professor Zoe Robinson

Living Labs: Engineering, educational outcomes and energy literacy


Dr Denise McKahn joins us from Smith College Massachusetts to undertake her fellowship here in August 2019. During her visit she will be hosted by ILAS and her academic partner Professor Zoe Robinson, based in the School of Geology, Geography and Environment. Zoe is Director of Sustainability and deputy director of the Institute of Sustainable Futures.

Denise McKahn is a cross-disciplinary engineer who has studied environmental, mechanical, and electrical and chemical engineering. She is particularly interested in both fuel cell electricity and electrolytic hydrogen production and is dedicated to the development of renewably derived fuel and electricity generation technologies.

Denise’s work locates her at the intersection of science, technology and policy and at Smith she has responsibility for embedding sustainability into the curriculum and wider student experience. She is a passionate advocate for the value of the Liberal Arts context for providing a holistic engineering education which requires that students not only seek solutions to technological problems, but also consider the appropriate use of technologies and evaluate the social and environmental impacts of competing alternatives.

This fellowship brings together interdisciplinary expertise from an engineering and geographical background, with strong synergies across the Education for Sustainability, and Living Lab communities. Professor Robinson and Dr McKahn are both involved in a small international community of practice, including Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Delft University, which is interested in the development of the “Campuses as Living Labs” framework. Denise and Zoe are both interested in exploring educational outcomes within Living Lab projects, as this is still a relatively under researched aspect.

During Dr McKahn’s visit their joint planned project: Living Labs: Engineering, educational outcomes and energy literacy will focus on

  • Developing a framework of educational outcomes within a Living Lab approach which aims to maximize the benefit to students and our institutions, as well as the wider sector Community of Practice.
  • Exploring the use of sustainable energy infrastructure projects as an educational tool to enhance the energy literacy of the wider campus community, an area currently under researched and under-utilized.
  • Sharing practice and learning in the use of hydrogen in a campus gas network, drawing on the experiences of HyDeploy@Keele to inform future related energy projects at Smith College.

Denise and Zoe are keen to engage widely with colleagues across the university. If you would like to know more about the plans for Dr McKahn’s fellowship and would like to meet her during her visit to Keele, please contact Jo Flynn.