On January 26, 2018, SCCER CREST together with Energieforschung Stadt Zürich, NFP71 and the Swiss Federal of Energy held a conference on the topic of “Social sciences in dialogue with practitioners – the energy future of cities and communities”. The event took place at the Kongresshaus Biel-Bienne and presented an opportunity for formal and informal interaction between three key players of our energy future - academic research, cities and communities. More specifically, the conference allowed cities and communities to learn about the most recent findings in research while at the same time offering a platform to communicate relevant research questions from the practitioner’s perspective. After the opening session, participants were invited to join one of three issue-specific sessions on decentralized vs. centralized energy supply, the effect of future mobility on energy consumption and transformation processes with regard to the building stock. Including the opening and closing sessions, more than twenty presenters offered their valuable insights. However, of at least equal importance were the floor discussions, which strongly benefited from an audience with a wide variety of backgrounds.