The UK Energy Research Centre has launched a £1.5m Whole Systems Networking Fund. Funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), this scheme aims to improve the diversity, communications and collaboration between whole systems energy researchers and those engaged in more disciplinary focused areas of research.
UKERC said: “The fund will help develop best practice around networking, encouraging better representation of UK capacity in whole systems energy research, encourage fresh voices and foster new working relationships within the community.”
Applications will be judged against criteria that include gender parity, interdisciplinary collaboration and the involvement of new voices. The fund is now open, with applications being accepted on a rolling basis for grants of up to £60,000 per project. The next review will take place on 15 December, with applicants being informed of the outcome in January.
Speaking when the UKERC was given the money by EPSRC, the centre’s director, Jim Watson, said: “Despite the increasing attention paid to interdisciplinarity within the energy research portfolio, there is a need for further action to ensure that an energy systems perspective is reflected in the portfolio as a whole. This fund will provide opportunities for those working on detailed, specific research into particular technologies, or within particular disciplines, to explore how their research relates to the whole energy system. It will also support researchers who focus on the whole energy system, and help them to make better use of insights from more specific research.”
The fund has four objectives:
- To improve the connections and collaborations between the research communities engaged in whole systems energy research and those engaged in more specific research
- To provide mechanisms for collaboration that encourage diversity, with a particular emphasis on providing opportunities for early career researchers
- To identify and learn lessons from best practice within the UK and internationally
- To work with policy, business and civil society to identify opportunities for wider engagement and impac
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