EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Future Power Networks and Smart Grids

Lead Research Organisation: University of Strathclyde
Department Name: Electronic and Electrical Engineering


This Centre will focus on the EPSRC priority area of power networks. It directly focuses on the effect of increases in the use of renewable energy sources on the existing energy supply network and how future network technologies will deal with these challenges. The vision of the Centre is to create a cohort of at least 70 doctoral level engineers prepared for industry, utility, government and academic roles at the heart of innovation and advances in the future power networks. They will be a key cohort in the delivery of the UK's low carbon ambitions and will need creative skills, innovation and the underpinning knowledge in multiple fields to address research domains directed at the heart of the smart grid challenge. The requirement for a smart grid is instrumental for the delivery of low carbon electricity.

This Centre will train students in the blend of traditional and emerging power network concepts and advances in information and communication technologies, consumer and demand side technologies, and integrated energy systems required to deliver future networks. We see five key elements to the training. First, an Induction Programme to outline the fundamental topics and challenges. Advanced Topics will then provide Masters level research topic oriented training in the key subjects that would underpin innovation in the networks. Experiential Learning modules will train the students in a wide range of relevant practical topics that develops an awareness of industrial reality and gives the students specific skills. Mini-projects will be used to provide experience of team working across disciplines, to provide an early link with industrial partners and to promote cohort experience. The final element is Continual Professional Development (CPD) and Research Training including elements of the graduate training programmes of our industrial partners. Student development is augmented through an industrial or international secondment being available to every student.

Planned Impact

This Centre will train students in the blend of traditional and emerging power network concepts and advances in information and communication technologies, consumer and demand side technologies, and integrated energy systems required to deliver future power networks. This targets the skills challenge in the electrical power networks industry, and the lack of high quality graduates able to deliver the smart grid. The training will deliver doctoral level engineers that are prepared for key technical tasks within the power networks and utility industry, and this is a positive impact for society.

A number of industrial partners have agreed to provide placements in which projects are undertaken with the company and on their premises. This will provide an immediate industrial impact where research concepts, systems and approaches can be delivered as knowledge exchange impact, leading to enhanced performance of the UK power networks industry. Direct engagement with the industrial partners, and their funding of the research programme and strong engagement, will lead to new intellectual property that can be capitalised upon by UK manufacturers (new products), consultancies and service providers (new offerings, analyses, services) and network operators (increased efficiencies and reduced capital and operational expenditure). Overall, this will lead to the impact of reduced energy costs for the UK consumer.

Academic impact will be achieved through the internationally leading and novel research activities planned for the Centre. Extensive links and engagement with leading international academics are being put in place to underpin this.

Society will benefit directly by the CDT helping to elevate the standing of the engineering profession and producing more engineers aware of the implications of their technical work for policy and their wider responsibilities to the public, with a particular emphasis on energy. The CDT's impact on policy will be accentuated by the key roles played by our senior staff in government-industry steering groups such as ETI Strategic Advisory Groups, Ofgem Innovation Working Group, IET Power Networks Joint Vision Group, Scottish Grid and Economics Group, and the Scottish Smart Grid Sector Strategy Group to name a few. Our international links through CIGRE, CIRED, and the IEEE will ensure that our outcomes influence a global community.

Our CDT cohorts, alongside our early career research communities, are central to our ambitions to inspire a generation through impact and engagement. Strategic engagement initiatives, such as Strathclyde's Technology and Innovation Centre, are intended to transform the way in which universities work with industry and communicate effectively with all stakeholders, including the public. The CDT cohort will benefit from interactions within this environment, leading to further uptake of the research among stakeholders.


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