Energy company E.ON UK, and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) have launched a new £10m university research programme to look at the next generation of low carbon energy solutions.

The £10m fund will be open to all UK universities and, as one of four partner universities, it is expected the University of Birmingham will benefit from the programme, which will sponsor a range of green energy projects.

E.ON UK Chief Executive Paul Golby said: “The aim of this fund is to tap into the ideas and expertise that lie within our universities and to take them forward to help ensure security of supply while lowering our emissions.

“We need new and progressive ideas to help industry ensure the lights stay on and to tackle the challenge of climate change.

“The programme compliments our own £15m low carbon research programme and supports our work with the Energy Research Partnership and National Institute of Energy Research.

“Together the research and eventual development and deployment of these ideas will make an impact on how we use our power and how we protect our climate in the decades to come. “

EPSRC Chief Executive, Professor John O’Reilly said: “The government’s Energy Review reiterates the importance of securing a mix of clean, low carbon energy sources to meet our power needs for the future. It also emphasises the importance of demand reduction. There is now clear consensus that only a mix of technologies can deliver a reliable, sustainable, low carbon-emission energy supply for all. To help achieve this mix we need to maintain and develop our diverse energy research portfolio.

“We find that working in close partnership with business to commission research is highly beneficial. Each project will have an E.ON UK champion to ensure good engagement between the science and engineering researchers and the real world research issues.”

The programme fits in well with the Research Councils’ Energy Programme, which has a broad portfolio ranging from highly speculative science to more applied research. The research carried out through this programme will be pre-competitive and published according to normal academic practice. This will create an environment fostering the exchange of new ideas and the rapid take-up of new developments.

The five-year programme was developed with support from four partner universities that already have expertise in low carbon research - University of Birmingham, University of Nottingham, Loughborough University and Imperial College, London.

University of Birmingham Vice-Chancellor, Professor Michael Sterling, said: “Energy issues have moved centre stage in the national agenda and Birmingham is well placed to contribute to all aspects from technology to policy. I am delighted that our strengths have been recognised and we look forward to making a major contribution to our region’s strength in energy and to helping shape national policy.’


Notes to editors:


E.ON UK is the UK’s largest integrated energy company – generating and distributing electricity, and retailing electricity and gas – and is part of the E.ON group, the world’s largest private sector energy services company. We employ around 12,000 people in the UK;

Our retail business, branded Powergen, is a leading energy supplier in the UK, with around six million electricity and gas customers, both residential and small business.

Our generation business produces enough electricity to cater for the needs of around 8m homes from a portfolio of world-class gas-, coal- and oil-fired power stations;

Through Central Networks, we run the electricity distribution network in central England, delivering a reliable supply to 4.9 million customers.


EPSRC co-ordinates the Research Councils’ Energy Programme. The participating Research Councils are BBSRC, CCLRC, ESRC and NERC. The Research Councils’ Energy Programme brings the Research Councils together to develop their portfolio in energy research and postgraduate training to help meet the objectives and targets set out in the 2003 Energy White Paper, to work in partnership with energy-related business and other stakeholders, to promote international engagement and to develop the UK’s capacity in energy research. The current research portfolio is over £100m.

EPSRC, on behalf of all the Research Councils, and E.ON UK are members of the Energy Research Partnership and both are involved in the development of the National Institute for Energy Technologies.

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is the UK’s main agency for funding research in engineering and the physical sciences. The EPSRC invests more than £500 million a year in research and postgraduate training, to help the nation handle the next generation of technological change. The areas covered range from information technology to structural engineering, and mathematics to materials science. This research forms the basis for future economic development in the UK and improvements for everyone’s health, lifestyle and culture. EPSRC also actively promotes public awareness of science and engineering. EPSRC works alongside other Research Councils with responsibility for other areas of research. The Research Councils work collectively on issues of common concern via Research Councils UK.

For further information

Kate Chapple, Press Officer, University of Birmingham, tel 0121 414 2772 or 07789 921164.