Governance

UKERC reports to a Funders Group convened by UKRI, and is advised by an independent Advisory Board.

Specific funding activities are also overseen by independent groups of experts, with the Flexible Fund overseen by the Research Committee and the Whole Systems Networking Fund overseen by a Steering Committee.

Funders Group

A new Funders Group was formed in 2014. The Group comprises of representatives from the three research councils that fund the Centre: the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

Advisory Board

The Advisory Board provides high-level advice to UKERC on:

  • The strategic direction of the Centre, including its interaction with Government and the Research Councils and its role respective to other UK energy initiatives
  • Its collaboration, communications, and outreach strategies, including liaison with the business sector and policymakers
  • Its networking and co-ordination activities nationally and internationally
  • The Centre’s research programme

UKERC’s Advisory Board meets at least twice a year.

Members of the Advisory Board are:

Keith MacLean, Chair of UKERC Advisory Board; Joanne Wade, ADE;  Philip New, Energy Systems Catapult; Chris Stark, Climate Change Committee; Ian Temperton, Plastic Energy Ltd; Mike Colechin, Chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee for EPSRC; Dhara Vyas, EnergyUK; Nick Eyre, Centre for Research into Energy Demand Solutions (CREDs); Rebecca Newsom, Greenpeace; Sara Walker, Centre for Energy Systems Integration (CESI); Philip Sellwood, Independent; Richard Rodgers, Northern Ireland Government; Kersti Berge, Scottish Government; John Howells, Welsh Government; Damitha Adikaari, BEIS; Beth Scott, University of Aberdeen; Alex O’Cinneide, Gore Street Capital.

Flexible Fund Research Committee

Reflecting UKERC’s interdisciplinary approach, membership of the Committee reflects a wide range of disciplines including: physical science; biological science, environmental science; engineering; social science; and economics. Their main tasks will be to:

  • advise on research strategy, and priorities for the fund;
  • advise the Research Coordination Team on the specification of the calls for research proposals;
  • assess the proposals – selected through peer review – against the objectives of UKERC’s overall research programme.

Members are: Rebecca Ford, University of Strathclyde; Geoff Hammond, University of Bath; George Day, Energy Systems Catapult; Sara Walker, Newcastle University; Jen Roberts, University of Strathclyde; Abhishek Asthana, Sheffield Hallam University; Paul Brockway, University of Leeds; Xinfang Wang, University of Birmingham, and Monica Giulietti Loughborough University.

 

History

The Centre was established following a recommendation made by the Chief Scientific Advisor’s Energy Research Review Group’s 2002 report.

Broadly, the report recommended setting up a new Energy Research Centre to:

  • Bring together Government, industry and academia
  • Be a networking centre to co-ordinate UK research, facilitate industry collaboration and promote UK participation in international projects
  • Be a centre of excellence in its own right
  • Help maximise returns from research investment and leverage private sector funds

Phase 1: 2004-2009

The UK Research Councils invited bids to run the Centre, with submissions received from three consortia of academic institutions lead by Imperial College London, the Kelvin Consortium (comprising several institutions including Manchester University), the Science and Technology Facilities Council (at the time known as CCLRC), the New and Renewable Energy Centre and the University of Oxford.

On advice of the Scientific Advisory Committee the bids were combined, with Professor Jim Skea invited to lead the consortia. The Research Councils accepted the new proposal and activities started in October 2004. Professor Jim Skea assumed the role of Research Director in July 2004; John Loughhead was appointed as Executive Director in November 2004.

Phase 2: 2009-2014

In early 2009, UKERC was invited by the Research Council’s Energy Programme to submit a proposal for a further five years work. Led by Prof. Jim Skea, the proposal was accepted and UKERC Phase II began on 30 April 2009.

The UKERC Research Programme changed significantly in terms of partners and objectives and also a new Research Fund has been established.

Activities such as the Research Atlas, the Meeting Place and the National Energy Research Network all continue in UKERC Phase 2.

Phase 3: 2014-2019

Led by Prof. Jim Watson, UKERC’s activities were substantially re-oriented in Phase 3.

The first two phases of UKERC focused on understanding what a decarbonised UK energy system would look like in 2050 and how the transition towards this system could be achieved.

The third phase recognised the increasingly contested and uncertain nature of energy system change. It explored the UK energy transition in an uncertain world, and the synergies and trade-offs between the key drivers for this transition.

Phase 4: 2019-2024

UKERC Phase 4 commenced in 2019 and runs until 2024. It is being led by Rob Gross.