Government commits £60m to energy research at Midlands universities

18 Mar 2015 16:21:16.553

The Government has today (18th March) confirmed £60million for a new energy research project in the Midlands.

The Energy Research Accelerator (ERA) is a multimillion research hub which will build on the expertise of six leading Midlands universities, the British Geological Survey and surrounding industrial base to deliver a step change in energy research and development, securing the UK’s leadership position in the sector.

  • Funding will see a step change in energy research in critical areas such as thermal energy and energy storage.
  • Partnership between six leading UK Universities — the Universities of Nottingham, Birmingham and Warwick, Loughborough, Aston and Leicester — and the British Geological Survey (BGS).
  • The University of Nottingham will lead on G-ERA, the Geo-Energy Research Accelerator. G-ERA will focus on delivering to the full potential of our primary resources through unlocking the potential of shale gas, reducing the energy wasted in urban environments, the next generation of carbon-capture technology and energy storage, and realising the full potential of solar energy.

As well as the Government’s commitment of funding for the initiative, it will also see major investments from industry partners.

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George Osborne MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer, said: “The Midlands is an engine of manufacturing growth so we are today giving the go ahead to the £60 million investment in the new Energy Research Accelerator that they have sought.”

The Energy Research Accelerator will build upon the power of advanced manufacturing, multi-disciplinary research and industry expertise within the Midlands Region and the leadership of the M5 Group of Universities by supporting its exceptionally strong regional industrial base to harness the potential of cities in the region by bringing together leading academics in energy research with a proven track record of successfully working at the interface of academia, policy and industry.

The Energy Research Accelerator will develop new ways to reduce energy costs in manufacturing, adding competitive advantage to the UK in today’s global markets and will catalyse new research to secure the UK’s international lead in new energy technologies, across the region’s leading universities, and develop and deploy technologies as well as creating significant inward investment for the region and the UK.

The creation of the Energy Research Accelerator will also:

Bring leadership, innovation and competitive advantage in the energy research and development sector for the UK.

Provide a step-change in the economic impact of new technologies and services through partnerships with the industrial sector, earlier deployment, and the ability to operate demonstrators in both the city and campus environments.

Deliver wide-ranging energy research in collaboration with industry to convert innovation and emerging technologies into practical solutions with a powerful global benefit and value.

Deliver jobs, and apprentices, wealth creation and the next generation of trained scientists and engineers for the energy sector and for the new industries that will emerge.

Professor Sir David Greenaway, Vice-Chancellor of The University of Nottingham, said: “This is an outstanding opportunity for Nottingham and for the ERA consortium as a whole, underlining its status as the Midlands powerhouse for energy research.

“The Energy Research Accelerator has the potential to transform not only the UK’s energy performance, but our economic performance as well. It will be crucial in helping to meet our long-term energy needs cleanly and securely, building on existing academic expertise to make the UK truly world-leading in energy research and development.

“I am delighted that The University of Nottingham will play a key role in helping to shape the UK's energy future.”

The Energy Research Accelerator will operate demonstrators in both the city and campus environments and harness the potential of advanced manufacturing, enabling the faster deployment of new technologies to deliver competitive advantage and a step change in economic impact.

The University of Nottingham is a leading international centre for energy research, with a reputation for excellence across a broad range of technologies encompassing bioenergy, fossil energy, energy storage, the built environment and electrical grids with a current grant portfolio in excess of £40m. The research is stimulating innovation, resulting in licensing and spin-off activity through collaborations with industry, developing national and global enterprise networks. As part of the strategy to further grow its internationally leading research programme, the University has invested £7m funding in new energy technologies and bioenergy buildings. 

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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham has 43,000 students and is ‘the nearest Britain has to a truly global university, with campuses in China and Malaysia modelled on a headquarters that is among the most attractive in Britain’ (Times Good University Guide 2014). It is also one of the most popular universities in the UK among graduate employers, in the top 10 for student experience according to the Times Higher Education and winner of ‘Research Project of the Year’ at the THE Awards 2014. It is ranked in the world’s top one per cent of universities by the QS World University Rankings, and 8th in the UK by research power according to REF 2014.

The University of Nottingham in Malaysia (UNMC) is holding events throughout 2015 to celebrate 15 years as a pioneer of transnational education. Based in Semenyih, UMNC was established as the UK's first overseas campus in Malaysia and one of the first world-wide.

Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest-ever fundraising campaign, is delivering the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news…

Story credits

More information is available from:
Tim Utton

Tim Utton - Deputy Director of Communications

Email: Phone: +44 (0)115 846 8092 Location: University Park

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