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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/S023836/1
Title: EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Renewable Energy Northeast Universities (ReNU)
Principal Investigator: Beattie, Professor NS
Other Investigators:
Zoppi, Professor G Barrioz, Dr V Gibson, Professor EA
Halliday, Professor DP Yu, Professor EH Stimming, Professor U
Phan, Professor A Mendis, Dr B Errington, Dr RJ
Groves, Professor C Wu, Dr H
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Airbus Operations Limited AVID Vehicles Ltd Durham County Council
Dyer Engineering ltd EEF Enocell Ltd
EpiValence Ltd Equiwatt Limited Green Fuels Research
Hiden Analytical Ltd Hitachi Europe Ltd Horiba UK Ltd
Huazhong University of Sci and Tech Intray JEOL
Johnson Matthey Knowledge Transfer Network Ltd Kurt J Lesker Co Ltd
Nanyang Technological University Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult OpTek Systems
Oxford Instruments Plc Power Roll Limited Saint Gobain
Shell Siemens Solar Capture Technologies
SP Energy Networks TESCAN Brno s.r.o. The Great North Museum: Hancock
University of Calgary University of Cambridge University of Luxembourg
Department: Fac of Engineering and Environment
Organisation: Northumbria, University of
Scheme: Centre for Doctoral Training
Starts: 01 April 2019 Ends: 30 September 2027 Value (£): 5,756,307
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Bioenergy Energy - Marine & Hydropower
Materials Synthesis & Growth Solar Technology
Wind Power
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
07 Nov 2018 EPSRC Centres for Doctoral Training Interview Panel S – November 2018 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Renewable Energy Northeast Universities (ReNU) is driven by industry and market needs, which indicate unprecedented growth in renewable and distributed energy to 2050. This growth is underpinned by global demand for electricity which will outstrip growth in demand for other sources by more than two to one (The drivers of global energy demand growth to 2050, 2016, McKinsey). A significant part of this demand will arise from vast numbers of distributed, but interconnected devices (estimated to reach 40 billion by 2024) serving sectors such as healthcare (for ageing populations) and personal transport (for reduced carbon dioxide emission). The distinctive remit of ReNU therefore is to focus on materials innovations for small-to-medium scale energy conversion and storage technologies that are sustainable and highly scalable.

ReNU will be delivered by Northumbria, Newcastle and Durham Universities, whose world-leading expertise and excellent links with industry in this area have been recognised by the recent award of the North East Centre for Energy Materials (NECEM, award number: EP/R021503/1). This research-focused programme will be highly complementary to ReNU which is a training-focused programme. A key strength of the ReNU consortium is the breadth of expertise across the energy sector, including: thin film and new materials; direct solar energy conversion; turbines for wind, wave and tidal energy; piezoelectric and thermoelectric devices; water splitting; CO2 valorisation; batteries and fuel cells.

Working closely with a balanced portfolio of 36 partners that includes multinational companies, small and medium size enterprises and local Government organisations, the ReNU team has designed a compelling doctoral training programme which aims to engender entrepreneurial skills which will drive UK regional and national productivity in the area of Clean Growth, one of four Grand Challenges identified in the UK Government's recent Industrial Strategy. The same group of partners will also provide significant input to the ReNU in the form of industrial supervision, training for doctoral candidates and supervisors, and access to facilities and equipment.

Success in renewable energy and sustainable distributed energy fundamentally requires a whole systems approach as well as understanding of political, social and technical contexts. ReNU's doctoral training is thus naturally suited to a cohort approach in which cross-fertilisation of knowledge and ideas is necessary and embedded. The training programme also aims to address broader challenges facing wider society including unconscious bias training and outreach to address diversity issues in science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects and industries. Furthermore, external professional accreditation will be sought for ReNU from the Institute of Physics, Royal Society of Chemistry and Institute of Engineering Technology, thus providing a starting point from which doctoral graduates will work towards "Chartered" status.

The combination of an industry-driven doctoral training programme to meet identifiable market needs, strong industrial commitment through the provision of training, facilities and supervision, an established platform of research excellence in energy materials between the institutions and unique training opportunities that include internationalisation and professional accreditation, creates a transformative programme to drive forward UK innovation in renewable and sustainable distributed energy.
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