£18 million to secure the future of UK energy research
19 March 2009
Issued by NERC on behalf of the RCUK Energy Research Programme
An £18.5 million investment towards securing the UK's future energy supply, providing energy solutions for the future and dramatically reducing carbon emissions is announced today by the Research Councils' Energy Programme.
The investment will support the second phase of work at the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) for 2009 – 2014. UKERC is a key part of the Research Councils' Energy Programme. As well as being a world-class, whole systems research centre, it also acts as a bridge between the UK energy research community and the wider world of business, policy and international energy research.
During a successful first five year term, UKERC has built the Research Atlas, the first tool to show the live status of energy research and development in the UK; contributed to the G8 talks through workshops to improve collaboration on clean energy and low carbon society issues; and carried out computer modelling to quantify a range of low-carbon scenarios, with the results being used to support the government's Energy White Paper.
To mark the conclusion of its first phase, UKERC will, in April, showcase the results of its ambitious cross-centre research project, 'UKERC Energy 2050'. This key project demonstrates how the UK can meet its goal to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050 while dealing with anxieties about energy security.
Lord Drayson, Minister for Science and Innovation, said:
"This funding will help our drive to build a thriving, low carbon economy – one that allows us to compete in a changing world and deliver our climate change commitments."
"Climate change is the biggest challenge of our generation. We can rely on science to find solutions to the complex environmental challenges that lie ahead, but one of the real strengths of the UK Energy Research Centre is that it will bring together scientists from a variety of disciplines, to find these solutions faster".
UKERC has also produced a series of incisive reports tackling major controversies in the energy field – such as the contentious issue of 'rebound effects' where, for example, people might drive more in a fuel-efficient car or even use money saved on fuel to fund an overseas holiday. Its renowned annual Summer School gives UK and international students the chance to learn from energy experts; student numbers have increased four-fold since the School began in 2005.
John Loughhead, Executive Director of UKERC, said:
"The continued support of the Research Councils underlines the importance of UKERC's work in vital energy research, and will allow us to forge ahead with ambitious whole systems projects looking at how the UK can move towards a resilient low-carbon energy system. Over the next five years we'll also be focused on encouraging collaboration between national and international business and research communities as well as supporting early career researchers."
To enable this wider participation in its activities, UKERC has set up a research committee to consider new proposals for research funding. The committee will operate under the chairmanship of Nick Hartley, a senior advisor at independent economic consultancy Oxera and a member of UKERC's Advisory Board.
NERC Press Office
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1. The UK Energy Research Centre was established in 2004 following a recommendation from the 2002 review of energy initiated by the government's chief scientific advisor, Sir David King.
UKERC is a central part of the Research Councils' Energy Programme and is funded by three research councils: the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).
2. The UKERC Energy 2050 showcase event will be held on Thursday 30 April at the Institution of Engineering and Technology, Savoy Place, London. For more information please contact the UKERC press office – see contact details above.
3. The UK Research Councils' Energy Programme brings together engineers and physical, natural, social and economic scientists, not just to create the technologies but to examine their social and economic consequences. EPSRC is taking the lead on energy research on behalf of all the UK Research Councils.
4. The Research Councils all receive funding from the government's science budget, which is administered through the Department of Innovation, Universities and Skills.
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