IVUGER Network Funding Retreat

09 May 2019

The IVUGER network (Increasing Visibility of Underrepresented Groups in Energy Research) keeps on growing, as illustrated by our second event which was a resounding success.

We recently hosted a free residential funding retreat for 30 female early career researchers (ECRs). This provided a unique opportunity for the successful applicants to apply for up to £12,000 to support collaborative research projects on energy systems decarbonisation. Other key objectives included:

  • accessing training and networking opportunities
  • raising their profile in the UK energy space and accelerate their careers
  • building new collaborations
  • improving their record in attracting research funding.

We received an extraordinary number of (brilliant) applications from all over the country, making the task of selecting the final list of participants a gruelling one. After much deliberations a group of 30 innovative female researchers from a variety of institutions, specialisms and backgrounds were selected.

The participants were grouped into six interdisciplinary groups, allowing for more holistic and impactful research. Over the two day retreat individuals were able to work on their specific projects, but also to access tailored training from Imperial College’s Dr Liz Elvidge and Dr Karen Hinxman, this focused on accessing funding, writing for a lay audience, working collaboratively, increasing research impact, and on how to improve their CV.

“The interactive exercises, the overall peer-to-peer support, and covering different aspects of the funding application process were some of the most useful aspects of the retreat. All good advice.” (IVUGER participant)

“Working in interdisciplinary team of researchers; having to find ways to collaborate together, and getting tips on how to work together” (IVUGER participant)

On the final day, each of the groups presented their research proposal to an expert panel from BEIS, CREDS, UKERC and Imperial College. The three winning proposals s were collectively awarded £12,000 to fund their projects on “Heat as a service”, “Predicting the uptake of air conditioning in UK households to 2050”, and the “Social and political implications of delivering a low carbon heat future in the UK’.

So what next?

The Funding Retreat was the beginning of a series of collaborations between this cohort. IVUGER is currently working alongside the awarded groups to take their research further, and all participants were keen to stay in touch and work collaboratively towards developing new research beyond IVUGER – using some of the lessons learned at the retreat.

“I wanted to thank you again for helping to organise the IVUGER funding retreat – which I found really useful. And since, I have gone on to win a small pot of funding for a week long ECR women’s writing retreat for interdisciplinary scholars working broadly in sustainability research” (IVUGER Participant)

Because IVUGER is all about visibility, we will also be showcasing the great work achieved by all of the participants at a third event later this year. This Showcase aims to demonstrate that when the right opportunities are in place for everyone to access, our energy sector as a whole can go so much further. With the right opportunities in place, we will for once and for all be able to say that we are effectively using the UK’s full capacity – in the best way possible.

Further information

This blog was authored by Dr Gbemi Oluleye.

IVUGER is one of the 18 projects awarded funding the Whole Systems Networking Fund, and was awarded to Dr Zoe Harris and Dr Gbemi Oluleye.

For more information, please contact Dr Gbemi Oluleye (co-PI) or Ana Laranjeira (Research Assistant).