Industrial Doctorate Centre: Sustainability for Engineering and Energy Systems

Lead Research Organisation: University of Surrey
Department Name: Centre for Environment & Sustainability


The current EngD Centre in Environmental Technology started in 1993 and was described in EPSRC's Review of the EngD Scheme in January 2007 as excellent EngD Centre that should act as an exemplar to others . The new EngD Centre will build on this success with a related and expanded remit: to prepare engineers and scientists to meet the growing challenges in developing the UK towards sustainability in engineering and energy systems. The 5A rated (RAE 2001) Centre for Environmental Strategy (CES) is a unique, multidisciplinary research centre and alone in having the breadth and depth of expertise required to lead the new EngD Centre, with project and supervisory support from leading research groups across all Faculties at the University of Surrey. The success of the current EngD Centre has attracted an international reputation. Delegates from the US, Portugal, Switzerland and Sweden have attended EngD conferences in the past, to observe how the programme functions and the professional standards reached. The Surrey EngD Management Executive Committee are currently advising the MIT-Portugal programme (an initiative to involve MIT in refreshing post-graduate engineering education throughout Portugal) on how an industrially-based doctoral programme modelled on the current Surrey EngD could be introduced in Portugal.Demand across industrial, business and policy sectors for highly skilled personnel to address this transdisciplinary, internationally-important agenda is growing rapidly and major skills shortages have been identified. Our approach is to selectively recruit and develop graduates with excellent technical skills and with the breadth and flexibility to understand the complex environmental, economic and social dimensions of sustainability and to develop them to become effective agents of change in the transition to a sustainable economy. The EPSRC Review also recognised that a key strength in the current EngD is the high demand and repeat business from sponsoring companies : we have worked with 57 sponsoring organisations since 1993, with 30% returning to sponsor subsequent projects. Building on our experience in attracting, working with and retaining business, policy and industrial sponsors who are familiar with the Surrey EngD approach, we seek to augment the proposed intake of 50 EPSRC sponsored Research Engineers (REs) over five years, with a further 10 REs supported from University resources (an investment of 1M).The new Centre will retain the mission and approach of Surrey's existing EngD: taking a systems perspective and developing the professional graduates needed to drive and support progress towards sustainable delivery of goods and services. The demand for such trained personnel is illustrated by the increasing requirement for engineers and scientists to demonstrate competence in engineering for sustainability to achieve chartered status and throughout their continuing professional development. Increasing interest in carbon labelling and the requirement, shortly to be announced by the Carbon Trust, for accreditation in validating life cycle GHG emission calculations will increase further the demand for skilled professionals in this area. The key development for the new Centre is explicit recognition of the priorities for low carbon and sustainable energy operations and investments; our response is to develop and expand clusters of projects to meet the needs of our sponsor companies and the UK economy as a whole.End-user interest in sustainability and low carbon and energy systems is growing strongly, driven by multiple business and policy concerns. A continued and enlarged EngD Centre will allow us to go on working with companies, industrial sectors and policy makers to train the next generation of sustainability practitioners and leaders to respond to the challenge of creating and embedding sustainable practices across the UK.


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