First EERA Conference showed value of interdisciplinary collaboration in energy research

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In November 2016, the University of Birmingham hosted the first European Energy Research Alliance (EERA) Conference to provide a platform to support cooperation on strategy and developments across energy fields and technology.

The EERA Conference attracted over 200 UK and international delegates from academia and industry, primarily those amongst EERA, to discuss how research from different energy fields collaborate to nurture new solutions for the future, and how industry and policy makers align priorities to support research and innovation efforts for the benefit of society as a whole.

The event included both scientific sessions of relevance across the EERA joint research programmes (energy systems, materials, hearth underground energies), alongside interaction with stakeholders (mobility, university and industrial innovation), and instruments to support energy research, and coordination of resources at national and EU levels.

Hervé Bernard, EERA Chairman, said:

“With over 175 leading research organisations from 27 countries active in 17 joint research programmes, EERA is a unique voice in European energy research, gathering all low carbon technologies under the same umbrella. We want to build on this unique mix of expertise and know-how and work more across our research groups, in cooperation with stakeholders. This conference is a step in this direction.”

The conference took place only a few days before the adoption of the Communication ‘Accelerating Clean Energy Innovation’ by the European Commission, which proposes an integrated approach, and coordinated measures to support energy efficiency, achieve EU global leadership in renewable energies, and to provide a reasonable deal for consumers.

As highlighted by Patrick Child, Deputy Director General at the European Commission (Directorate General for Research and Innovation), and one of the keynote speakers at the conference – “These objectives cannot be achieved in silos: they require strong cooperation and EERA, with its 17 joint research programmes and links with industry and other stakeholders, has an important role to support cross-fertilization and a multidisciplinary approach in energy research.”

The conference came at an important time for the development of the Association, with the recent appointment of Adel El Gammal as its first Secretary General. Adel El Gammal, said:

“I am very pleased that my appointment as Secretary General coincides with the first EERA scientific conference, which is a catalyser of opportunities for cooperation between researchers and stakeholders. I look forward to further consolidating EERA’s role as key contributor in the EU SET Plan and as the main actor in low carbon energy research in Europe, achieving impact in the short and in the longer-term alike.”

Thank you to our industrial sponsors: ERA (Energy Research Accelerator), ETI (Energy Technologies Institute) and Catapult Energy Systems.