Aura joins a national consortium of universities, including the University of Hull, which have been awarded £5million to bring together a network of academic, industrial and policy stakeholders to champion and maintain the UK’s world-leading expertise in offshore renewable energy (ORE).
The ORE Supergen Hub is part of a programme of initiatives being funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and brings together the related research areas of wave, tidal and offshore wind.
Its aim is to maintain the UK’s leading position in the field and to address any technical, environmental and interdisciplinary challenges which require a coordinated response at national and regional level.
It will build a collaborative approach which will bring the added benefits of spreading best practice through the research community, supporting equality and diversity, and ensuring support of early career researchers.
The programme, which also includes hubs focusing on Bioenergy and Energy Networks and a new £1million network in solar energy, was announced on Thursday 26 July 2018 by the Prime Minister, Theresa May. In total, the four initiatives will involve academics from 19 universities and 70 stakeholder partners, including 22 from industry.
The ORE Supergen Hub will be led by Professor Deborah Greaves OBE, Head of the School of Engineering at the University of Plymouth, working alongside academics from The University of Aberdeen, University of Edinburgh, University of Exeter, University of Hull, University of Manchester, University of Oxford, University of Southampton, University of Strathclyde, and the University of Warwick.
Professor Greaves said: “Offshore renewables is an exciting and rapidly expanding field, and we expect it to play a significant role in providing energy for the UK and globally. The UK is already at the forefront of research in this area, and the ORE Supergen Hub will provide leadership for the scientific community and enable it to continue to build on that expertise. Our advisory board will help ensure we are also meeting the requirements and addressing the challenges being faced by industry.”
The University of Hull’s Aura initiative will be an active partner in the programme. Aura aims to support the developing offshore wind sector, building a vibrant industry in the Humber – the UK’s Energy Estuary, for the benefit of the region and the country. Professor James Gilbert of Aura is a Co-Director of the ORE Supergen project, as such he will help steer the four-year programme as well as leading on the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion strand of the funding.
Professor James Gilbert from the University of Hull said: “One key element of this collaborative project is the building of a community and underlining that is a commitment to equality and diversity. The Aura team as a whole have a lot of passion for finding ways of promoting equality and diversity in the offshore wind industry, hence our role in spearheading this element of the Hub. I’m excited by the potential to bring new talent to the fore and hear from new voices with a potential to make great innovations in offshore renewable energy.”
Professor Philip Nelson, EPSRC’s Executive Chair, said: “As we move towards a low carbon future we need to explore the fundamental science that can spark new technologies and systems as well as linking researchers to industry to meet their needs. As the threats from climate change become ever-more apparent there is a pressing need for the UK, and the world, to act collaboratively to address the challenges of clean energy production, distribution and storage.”
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