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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/H047441/1
Title: Cheap Solar Electricity - The Essential Fuel of the 21st Century
Principal Investigator: Robertson, Professor N
Other Investigators:
Yellowlees, Professor L
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
CLEAPS G-24i National STEM Centre
Science Media Centre SSERC
Department: Sch of Chemistry
Organisation: University of Edinburgh
Scheme: Partnerships- Public Engage
Starts: 24 May 2010 Ends: 23 August 2013 Value (£): 152,343
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Solar Technology
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
09 Mar 2010 Partnerships for Public Engagement 14th Call Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
This project aims to involve the public of all ages and backgrounds with the ground breaking discoveries of EPSRC-funded scientists in the field of solar energy generation. Through this project, our team of scientists at Edinburgh University and beyond will collaborate with a number of public engagement experts to enable school students and the public of all ages and backgrounds to explore, discuss and reflect upon the issues related to innovation in low-cost solar energy technologies and its pressing need for the future of our planet. This proposal brings together the expertise and scientific entrepreneurship provided by the scientists within the innovative EPSRC Supergen consortium on Excitonic Solar Cells, with the public engagement expertise of The UK Association for Science and Discovery Centres, The Scottish Schools Equipment Research Centre (SSERC), The science media centre, CLEAPSS and the National STEM centre. Bringing all these partners together will be a newly appointed public engagement leader with a PhD in the field of innovative low cost solar energy. The goal is for this specialist to provide the resources and embed partnerships between the researchers and science centres, science festivals, Beacons, schools networks and university outreach teams so that public engagement is an embedded part of the role of researchers in this area. Low-cost solar energy is arguably the most important challenge ever faced by mankind and the importance to 21st century society cannot be overstated. We will use the new and established partnerships to maximise engagement between the Consortium and the Public and deliver substantial benefit to both. This will be aimed at two outcomes: (i) energising and supporting the researchers within the network such that all contribute to ongoing engagement activities on behalf of the consortium and (ii) obtaining coverage through large media outlets. There has never been a time in human history when a scientific challenge, namely sustainable energy supply, has been more urgent or important in maintaining the wealth and cohesion of society. World energy use is predicted to double by 2050 and more than treble by 2100 but already at today's level, dangerous quantities of CO2 are building up in the atmosphere. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (www.ipcc.ch/) estimates that, without action, CO2 concentration will triple over historic levels by 2100 leading to very damaging climate change. Sustainable energy is unique as a scientific challenge as the status quo cannot be maintained and floods, droughts, mass migrations, economic disruption and wars may be the consequences of inaction. Solving the problem of climate change is a long-term issue that requires sustained commitment from scientists, governments and the public to make real change possible. This requires a commitment from researchers in the field to make their work accessible and to engage in dialogue with the public on the current science and the future directions of the field. Since everyone has a stake in this challenge, the public of all ages and backgrounds must be included in regular open and honest conversation with scientists, policy makers and industrial experts in a host of different ways, through events, family activities, media, dialogue opportunities, schools workshops, exhibitions, projects and festivals.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
Sectors submitted by the Researcher
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Project URL:  
Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.ed.ac.uk