[04 February 2019]

£5.5m bid win for Aura Doctoral Training Centre to boost wind energy skills and investment

A major new multi-million investment in the Humber’s offshore wind economy is set to further secure a “talent pipeline” for the region and drive innovation and investment across the UK.

The University of Hull’s Energy & Environment Institute leads a consortium that has won funding for the Aura Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), which provide government money for grants to undertake research and postgraduate degrees in the sciences.

The bid, which is worth £5.5 million and will create a host of opportunities for over 70 post-graduate PhD students, was announced today (4th February 2019) at the EPSRC CDT launch event at The Stock Exchange in London.

The win is a major step forward for the University of Hull and its CDT partner universities which include Sheffield, Durham and Newcastle and integrates the core strengths of each institution in environment, engineering and energy. The CDT research, which is focused on offshore wind and the low carbon economy, integrates engineering and the environment and will be centred on the Humber, which is the global leader for current and future offshore wind development.

Commenting on the win, Professor Dan Parsons, Director of the Energy & Environment Institute at the University of Hull said: “I am absolutely delighted that our consortium has been awarded this substantial amount of funding to set up the Aura CDT. CDTs are a very effective way of training a significant number of PhD students and creating an environment for real innovation to flourish through pure and applied research. It will integrate academic and industry expertise locally here in the Humber, which is rapidly becoming the home of the offshore wind sector, bringing much needed investment to the region.”

He continued: “The Aura CDT will contribute to the UK’s talent pipeline for offshore wind and a low-carbon transition, developing our future leaders and ensuring that academia and industry work closely together to develop solutions for the challenges currently facing the offshore wind industry. The CDT mechanism is a real opportunity for post-graduate students because it provides a four-year, funded doctoral training programme to a significant number of PhD students. We will be looking to attract some of the best minds to join us and the recruitment drive for those students joining us at Hull and which my team – led by Dr Rob Dorrell – is already working on will be launched very soon for the first cohort starting this September.”

The Aura Director, Ben George, added: “This major funding award for the CDT is critical to the Aura initiative in the Humber. As a catalyst for collaboration in offshore wind and low-carbon energy, the hard work that the Aura team and its partners have been putting in over the last two years to bring all the key stakeholders together is bearing fruit. The Aura CDT, which will focus on innovation in offshore wind, is helping to realise the ambitions for a low-carbon society as set out in the Government’s Industrial and Clean Growth Strategies. I am very excited the Aura collaboration is front and centre of this latest success, which many of our industry partners will be taking an active part in”.

Lord Prescott said: “This is a fantastic success for the Humber region as we continue to establish our position as leaders in offshore wind regionally, nationally and globally. This is another important step in moving towards a low-carbon future and clean growth economy which is something very close to my heart. I am very pleased to see how we are making progress right here in the Energy Estuary.”

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For more information on Aura please contact aura@hull.ac.uk