The UK Doctoral Training Centre in Energy Demand Reduction and the Built Environment

Lead Research Organisation: University College London


Reducing carbon emissions and securing energy supplies are crucial international goals to which energy demand reduction must make a major contribution. On a national level, demand reduction, deployment of new and renewable energy technologies, and decarbonisation of the energy supply are essential if the UK is to meet its legally binding carbon reduction targets. As a result, this area is an important theme within the EPSRC's strategic plan, but one that suffers from historical underinvestment and a serious shortage of appropriately skilled researchers. Major energy demand reductions are required within the working lifetime of Doctoral Training Centre (DTC) graduates, i.e. by 2050. Students will thus have to be capable of identifying and undertaking research that will have an impact within their 35 year post-doctoral career. The challenges will be exacerbated as our population ages, as climate change advances and as fuel prices rise: successful demand reduction requires both detailed technical knowledge and multi-disciplinary skills. The DTC will therefore span the interfaces between traditional disciplines to develop a training programme that teaches the context and process-bound problems of technology deployment, along with the communication and leadership skills needed to initiate real change within the tight time scale required. It will be jointly operated by University College London (UCL) and Loughborough University (LU); two world-class centres of energy research. Through the cross-faculty Energy Institute at UCL and Sustainability Research School at LU, over 80 academics have been identified who are able and willing to supervise DTC students. These experts span the full range of necessary disciplines from science and engineering to ergonomics and design, psychology and sociology through to economics and politics. The reputation of the universities will enable them to attract the very best students to this research area.The DTC will begin with a 1 year joint MRes programme followed by a 3 year PhD programme including a placement abroad and the opportunity for each DTC student to employ an undergraduate intern to assist them. Students will be trained in communication methods and alternative forms of public engagement. They will thus understand the energy challenges faced by the UK, appreciate the international energy landscape, develop people-management and communication skills, and so acquire the competence to make a tangible impact. An annual colloquium will be the focal point of the DTC year acting as a show-case and major mechanism for connection to the wider stakeholder community.The DTC will be led by internationally eminent academics (Prof Robert Lowe, Director, and Prof Kevin J Lomas, Deputy Director), together they have over 50 years of experience in this sector. They will be supported by a management structure headed by an Advisory Board chaired by Pascal Terrien, Director of the European Centre and Laboratories for Energy Efficiency Research and responsible for the Demand Reduction programme of the UK Energy Technology Institute. This will help secure the international, industrial and UK research linkages of the DTC.Students will receive a stipend that is competitive with other DTCs in the energy arena and, for work in certain areas, further enhancement from industrial sponsors. They will have a personal annual research allowance, an excellent research environment and access to resources. Both Universities are committed to energy research at the highest level, and each has invested over 3.2M in academic appointments, infrastructure development and other support, specifically to the energy demand reduction area. Each university will match the EPSRC funded studentships one-for-one, with funding from other sources. This DTC will therefore train at least 100 students over its 8 year life.



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