Aerial view of Bo, Sierra Leone, Joshua Hanson

Simon Trace takes on role of EEG programme director at pivotal stage

In August 2018, Simon Trace, Oxford Policy Management (OPM)’s principal consultant for natural resources & energy, was appointed as EEG’s programme director. Replacing Marcela Tarazona, who stepped down to pursue personal projects, Simon has taken on the role of programme director at a pivotal stage, with confirmation and commencement of EEG’s first research projects, including those for the Sierra Leone country programme, being imminent.

Simon’s immediate focus and actions as programme director are being shaped by EEG reaching this momentous point. Primarily, he will be concentrating on completing the final negotiations for all successful proposals from the general and Sierra Leone Request for Applications (RFAs) earlier this year, which will enable those research projects to begin.

Prior to his appointment as programme director, Simon was already leading EEG’s first country programme in Sierra Leone, developing the research agenda to inform and support government energy reforms. Simon is therefore best-placed to bring the Sierra Leone research projects into fruition.

In addition, Simon will be developing a research uptake support framework – potentially comprising a series of thematic- or country-focused meetings spanning the next three years. The aim will be to maximise cross-learning as well as the impact from investment in research.

He will also be providing input and insight into EEG’s Energy Systems Planning initiative. In particular, he will be looking to develop and implement a series of key principles that constitute good practice in national energy systems planning and development.

Commenting on his new role, Simon said: “I have previously been heavily involved with Sierra Leone research projects, looking at energy provision and its impact on economic growth. The country has some of the lowest access rates to electricity in the world, and, as EEG’s new programme director, I am looking forward to getting the research projects up and running.

“The EEG research programme offers the opportunity to deliver some new and incredibly useful insights into understanding how large-scale grid infrastructure can play an effective role in tackling the energy access challenge faced by some of the poorest populations.”

A chartered engineer with an MA in the Anthropology of Development, Simon has 35 years’ experience working in international development, with a focus on access to basic services (energy, water and sanitation), natural resource management and technology. He has held senior executive positions within several international NGOs, and has served on a number of steering and advisory groups for prominent international initiatives related to energy, including the UN SE4ALL Tracking Framework Steering Group. He is currently a member of the Strategic Advisory Group for the UK Government’s £1.5 billion Global Research Challenge Fund.