LACC Awarded a Newton Fund Impact Scheme Grant

Electrifying the Amazon: The impacts of access to renewable energy in riverine communities

We are delighted to announce that the LSE Latin America and Caribbean Centre (LACC) has been awarded a Newton Fund Impact Scheme (NFIS) Grant for a project to be conducted in collaboration with the Federal University of Amazonas (UFAM). Associated partners include Brazilian research organisation, Universidade do Estado do Amazonas (UEA) and Brazilian NGO, Fundação Amazonas Sustentável (FAS).

Dr Charles Palmer (Associate Academic, LACC and Associate Professor of Environment and Development, LSE Department of Geography and Environment) will lead the research in the UK in collaboration with Dr Grace Iara Souza (Research Officer, LACC). The Brazilian team comprises lead investigator Dr Helder Cruz da Silva (Researcher, Department of Electricity, UFAM), alongside Dr Alessandro Trindade (Researcher, Department of Electricity, UFAM) and Dr Edilza Laray de Jesus (Professor, Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Human Sciences, UEA).

The 20 month project (May 2020 –  December 2021) titled, ‘Electrifying the Amazon: The impacts of access to renewable energy in riverine communities’, will evaluate the socio-economic impacts of two alternative configurations of solar photovoltaic systems in riverine communities and provide recommendations for expanding access to other communities in the Brazilian state of Amazonas.

charles newton grant cover

The communities typically rely on diesel generators for the provision of electricity, which can hinder development and generate negative environmental impacts. This collaboration builds upon two previous Newton Fund Institutional Links grants: (‘STAR Energy: Sustainable and Replicable Off-grid Renewable Energy System for Riverside Communities in the Amazon’, Coventry and UFAM, 2017 – 2019, and ‘Participatory Approaches to Natural Resource Conservation in the Brazilian Amazon’, LSE and UEA, 2017 - 2019).

The new project focuses on communities enrolled in Bolsa Floresta Program (PBF), which aims to protect tropical forests and reduce poverty. Enacted by the State of Amazonas in 2007 and managed by FAS, the programme has to date enrolled almost 600 poor, riverine communities that manage 16 million hectares of forest. To help meet the aims of PBF, the policy develops alternative livelihoods and sources of income in order to reduce pressure on forests.

Expanding access to and improving the quality of electricity supply can help to increase the scope and scale of these activities thus potentially improving incomes, enhancing especially the role of women in local economies, strengthening participation in environmental governance and encouraging more inclusive economic growth in Amazon communities.

The project will evaluate energy demand, incomes, gender implications, and greenhouse gas emissions for two different configurations of solar photovoltaic systems: centralised and decentralised. The data collected will help inform strategies for improving outcomes in the community, as well as devise implementation strategies for plans to roll-out solar photovoltaic energy systems to other communities.



This work is supported by the Impact Scheme grant, ID 537126926, under the Newton Fund. The Newton Fund Impact Scheme is delivered by the British Council in partnership with UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) on behalf of the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). For further information, please visit


The Newton Fund Impact Scheme (NFIS) is delivered by the British Council in partnership with UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) on behalf of all Newton Fund delivery partners. NFIS provides funding for current and previously funded Newton Fund grantees with the aim of maximising impact from Newton Fund activities. The collaboration between UK and partner countries can build upon the original partnership or form a new partnership.


The Newton Fund builds research and innovation partnerships with 17 active partner countries to support their economic development and social welfare, and to develop their research and innovation capacity for long-term sustainable growth. It has a total UK Government investment of £735 million up until 2021, with matched resources from the partner countries.

The Newton Fund is managed by the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), and delivered through seven UK delivery partners, which includes UK Research and Innovation (comprising the seven research councils and Innovate UK), the UK Academies, the British Council and the Met Office. For further information visit the Newton Fund website ( and follow via Twitter: @NewtonFund.


Photo credit: Daily life of people in the Amazon, Brazil (CIFOR) Neil Palmer/CIAT, 2011, Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.