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Clarkson University Professor to Study Energy Conflict in Canada as Fulbright Research Fellow

Clarkson University Associate Professor of Political Science Stephen Bird has been selected as a Fulbright Research Fellow for fall 2016.

Stephen BirdAs the Visiting Research Chair in Public Administration and Governance at the University of Ottawa, Bird will work with their Positive Energy Research Group on energy conflict.

"Energy conflict reflects the inability of society to make or agree upon decisions for the use of energy overall," he said. "It has a huge scope, and I'm going to focus more of my work on domestic and local energy decision making. A lot of that area involves social acceptance -- the willingness of people to accept energy facilities in their communities."

Bird plans to assess different approaches to accrue benefits to communities that take on the liabilities of establishing energy infrastructure. Energy facilities include everything from wind or solar farms, transmission lines, oil pipelines, and gas fired electricity plants.

During his time at the University of Ottawa, Bird also will work on an overall theory for energy conflict and how it translates to applied policy. Energy production and development is a long-term issue, he said, so while decisions often take place at the local level, it is important for democracies to have a cohesive vision for energy at the regional or national level.

Those national decisions aren't being made, however, because energy issues are so contentious.

"At the applied policy level, I'm hoping to determine best practices to achieve successful outcomes where energy facilities have a relatively higher degree of community acceptance," he said.

Bird said he looks forward to continuing his work with the Positive Energy Research Group in the fall and studying energy conflict approaches that have worked in Canada, and then replicating that research in the United States.

Bird brings the number of Clarkson University faculty members to receive Fulbright Awards over the past decade up to 16. In all, 42 members of the faculty have received Fulbright Awards.

Bird joined the faculty at Clarkson in 2009. He received his bachelor of arts in music from Berklee College of Music, a master of liberal arts in government from Harvard University, and his Ph.D. in political science from Boston University.

Clarkson University educates the leaders of the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as an owner, CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. With its main campus located in Potsdam, New York, and additional graduate program and research facilities in the Capital Region and Beacon, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university with signature areas of academic excellence and research directed toward the world's pressing issues. Through more than 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, education, sciences and the health professions, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo and connect discovery and innovation with enterprise.

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