Plans to create three new energy research hubs focused on bioenergy, networks and offshore renewables have moved a step closer to becoming a reality after bid leaders were chosen to draw up detailed proposals.
Phil Taylor, Patricia Thornley and Deborah Greaves have been selected to head up the next phase of the Supergen programme run by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.
The academics have all received grants of around £150,000 to prepare and build consortia, scope out research strategies and devise networking and engagement plans over a sixth-month period. If successful at the following stage of the programme in 2018, they will each be awarded a further £5 million to establish the new hubs.
Professor Phil Taylor from Newcastle University will prepare the proposals for the energy networks hub, while University of Manchester professor of sustainable energy systems, Patricia Thornley, will lead the bid for the bioenergy hub. Professor Deborah Greaves, who heads the School of Engineering at the University of Plymouth, will be responsible for the offshore renewables bid.
The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, the Natural Environment Research Council and the Economic and Social Research Council will provide funding and other support for the proposed hubs.
The Supergen programme was set up in 2001 to help deliver sustained and coordinated research across eight key areas: bioenergy; networks; storage; fuel cells; hydrogen and other vectors; solar; wind; and marine, wave and tidal. EPSRC has already invested £150 million in seven Supergen research hubs.