DMU's life-changing work wins UK and International awards!

A De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) project which has transformed lives for thousands of villagers in remote parts of South Asia has been named the best green energy scheme run by a university anywhere in the world.

De Montfort University Leicester (DMU)’s OASYS – Off-grid Access Systems for South Asia – project has provided reliable electricity supply to about 5,000 households using solar power.

Last night it took the top spot in the Community Innovation category of the Green Gowns Awards 2015, which reward the UK’s greenest universities - and then went on to win the International award too, judged against work being carried out in universities worldwide.

The project has been led by Professor Subhes Bhattacharyya, Professor of Energy Economics and Policy, and involves a collaboration of British and Indian researchers.

Without reliable power, activity in the villages stopped at dusk and locals had to rely on kerosene lamps and candles to work at home by night or gather for community events. 

Thanks to the OASYS project, businesses can open for longer, people feel safer at night with better lighting and students can study later. 

Energy on tap also means two primary schools can use computers, which teachers hope will increase enrolment and drive up interest in secondary education. It has also reduced the danger of elephants roaming into the village at night because they are deterred by street lights.  

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green gowns inset

AWARD: From left: Iain Patton, Chief Executive, Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC), DMU's Warren Manning, Nigel Wright and Karl Letten, Pauline Pingusson, Project Lead, Campus Responsables (International Green Gown Award partner in French speaking Europe and Canada)

Prof Bhattacharyya, who is part of DMU's award-winning IESD research team, said: “This is a great recognition of the work we’ve undertaken in the rural communities in South Asia to enhance access to electricity. This project highlights the public good ethos and the globalisation agenda of De Montfort University and demonstrates the mutual benefits of fruitful international co-operation for research and development.

“Being a multi-partner project, the credit of the award goes equally to all project partners, without whose support and active participation, the project would not be realised. The recognition will motivate us to continue working in such socially relevant areas in the future, thereby contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations.”

The Community Innovation category rewards initiatives that create significant benefits for communities, disadvantaged groups or developing countries.
Karl Letten, DMU’s environmental and sustainability officer, said:  "It is absolutely amazing to have won the Green Gown awards. The OASYS project is such a great project and it’s great that the project has been recognised in this way. The OASYS South Asia project is a clear demonstration of how DMU’s world leading research is helping communities right across the world."


The Green Gown awards are held every year and run by the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EUAC). The awards were established in 2004 to recognise the excellent sustainability initiatives run by universities and colleges around the UK.

Ian Patton, CEO of the EAUC said: “Every year the Green Gown Awards rewrite what business as usual looks like for UK universities and colleges.  Sustainability makes business sense and this year’s inspiring initiatives prove that sustainability benefits staff, students, the wider community and of course the bottom line.”

Posted on: Tuesday 01 December 2015

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