23 July 2013
The UCL Energy Institute (UCL-Energy) recently celebrated
its 4th Birthday, and so it is an opportune time to reflect on its
activities. The original business plan was for UCL-Energy to be a small core
group of 5 academics, initially supported with UCL Provost’s funding, to work
with staff across UCL in the energy area, i.e. a largely virtual research
Institute. Instead, UCL-Energy is now a highly multi-disciplinary team of 100
staff and postgraduate students co-located in Central House (a living laboratory)
with a portfolio of £24M of projects.
It has developed research strengths in two areas; the modelling of national and international whole energy systems and the detailed study of end use energy demand, in particular energy use for transport and buildings. We have recently received long term funding to secure our world leading capabilities in all these areas of national importance. Our research projects have benefited from collaboration across a wide range of UCL departments including Mechanical Engineering, Laws, Statistics, Civil Environment & Geomatic Engineering, Mathematics, Computer Science, Physics, and Epidemiology and Public Health.
The Institute has a vibrant and successful Doctoral Training Programme as evidenced by our EPSRC review and feedback from our external examiners. Our students are tremendous ambassadors for the Institute not only engaging fully in the international energy research community but winning prizes for videos and books, working with schools, exhibiting at science festivals, blogging and undertaking science-focused stand-up comedy. Our public engagement and communications programme includes regular media appearances and a successful events programme with over 4,000 contacts and over 1,400 Twitter followers.
Last summer the UCL Institute of Sustainable Resources (UCL ISR) was co-located with UCL-Energy so that both institutes could support each other and staff could easily work on projects in either of the two institutes. With ISR, UCL- Energy has exciting development plans including: expanding its capability in energy and transport research, increasing its international presence via new projects and networks, developing its teaching through its new and existing Masters programmes (this September will see the launch of our first MSc in the Economics and Policy of Energy and the Environment), and working with the other energy initiatives across College both in the UK and Australia.
The above would not have been achieved without the incredible dedication of all UCL- Energy staff and students, strong support across UCL faculties and in central College and the vision and continued support of the Provost Sir Malcolm Grant. We wish Malcolm all the very best on stepping down from his role at UCL and for the next phase of his career at the NHS.