UK Energy Research Centre

Funded by the Energy Programme, the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) carries out world-class research into sustainable future energy systems. It is the hub of UK energy research and the gateway between the UK and the international energy research communities.

The centre's interdisciplinary, whole systems research informs UK policy development and research strategy.

UKERC was established in 2004, following a recommendation from the 2002 Energy Review initiated by Sir David King, the UK Government's Chief Scientific Advisor. UKERC was funded for an initial five years and in May 2009 was awarded a further round of funding for another five years.

UKERC organises its networking and research activity under five related themes and four functions.

Themes for Phase 2

The Technology and Policy Assessment (TPA) theme was established to meet demand from policymakers, industry and other stakeholders for independent, policy-relevant assessments that address key issues and controversies in the energy field. The TPA team draws on existing energy research to develop accessible, credible and authoritative reports relevant to policymakers, other stakeholders and wider public debate.

UKERC is developing strategies for marine and land-based energy production and greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation technologies which limit environmental impacts while safeguarding or even restoring the ecosystem. The Centre is also looking at ways to integrate the socio-economic valuations of ecosystem goods and services into technology evaluation.  This will allow UKERC to see the impact of energy production and GHG mitigation technologies on the UK's carbon footprint.

Researchers are investigating UK energy supply to 2050, taking into account radical developments being put in place from 2020 onwards. They are analysing options for longer term decarbonisation, while recognising the long life-time of energy assets and the need for a smooth trajectory of change.

The demand for energy is the driver of the whole energy system, influencing not only the total amount of energy used, but also the location, type of fuel and characteristics of the end use technology. The objective of the theme is to research how socio-economic and technical change affect energy demand in the UK and to apply this to the need for more radical change to respond to climate and energy security challenges.

The primary goal of the Energy Systems theme is to bring together the best modelling expertise in the UK and integrate it into a world-class modelling research effort. The UK energy-economic system is extremely complex and hence requires sophisticated tools: approaches designed to investigate different aspects of the integrated system.

Functions for Phase 2

The UK Energy Research Centre has created tools to assist policy makers and researchers to review the current status of UK Energy research and Development and identify the key research challenges. This includes 'Landscape' documents which detail current energy-related research activities and capabilities in the UK and 'Roadmaps' which identify the sequence of research (and other) problems to be overcome before new technologies can be commercially viable.

The UK Energy Data Centre provides an outward-facing energy data service to the UK energy research community and long term data curation facilities for data generated by current and future Research Council funded projects. It aims to add value to existing data sets by, for example, establishing and supporting long-term data sets, or hosting scenario models and supporting data sets.

The National Energy research Network (NERN) aims to network energy researchers from all disciplines, giving members visibility of a wide and multifaceted area and providing opportunities through information and through interaction with other members.  NERN membership is free and is open to organisations and individuals involved in energy research who can make a contribution towards energy R&D in the UK.