In May 2014, the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) was awarded £14 million from EPSRC, ESRC and NERC for a third five year phase of research and engagement activities (2014-19). This new phase will build on UKERC’s first two phases (2004- 2014). As was the case for UKERC phase 2, the new phase of UKERC includes a flexible research fund that will be allocated through a series of open research calls, overseen by an independent Research Committee. Around £4 million will be available for the flexible research fund during UKERC phase 3.
The flexible research fund has a number of objectives, including:
- To bring a wider range of researchers and disciplines into UKERC’s research programme, including researchers from outside the energy community;
- To build collaborations between the UKERC research community and other research communities– including other energy researchers, groups and centres;
- To allow the research programme to develop flexibility in the light of new scientific insights or external developments (e.g. in energy policy);
- To fill gaps in the UKERC research programme and/or the wider Research Councils Energy Programme; and
- To scope and develop new research agendas in partnership with funders, the research community and other stakeholders.
On 30 June 2014, an initial Town Hall Meeting was held at the UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources in London, to discuss potential priorities for flexible funding.