The UK's engineering and manufacturing base has been shrinking for decades, and as the financial crisis and subsequent recession have taken their toll, many players in the UK are looking to develop the region’s high-end engineering sector as a way of creating jobs and, ultimately, put UK Plc back on course to sustained growth.
The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is one body that believes growing the UK's engineering base is essential, and sees the energy sector as one area where efforts must be concentrated. It has therefore just invested around £60 million in 13 Centres for Doctoral Training (CDT) in the area of energy.
The CDTs from across the UK will join forces to maximise the impact of their research and training through a network supported by the Research Councils UK Energy Programme. By doing so, it is envisaged that these CDTs will be able to broaden and deep training and the provision of a common framework to support world-class energy post graduate research training.
It will also allow CDT Directors to come together to share best practice and resources as well as allowing them to coordinate conferences and events giving a better overview of the energy landscape. The network itself comprises of all 13 centres covering numerous energy disciplines and based in universities across the country and will work with other centres/cohorts of students as appropriate.
The CDT model is an innovative venture where cohorts of research students undertake a 4 year PhD including taught courses and professional development in addition to their research projects. This new style PhD is intended to produce elite graduates with an in-depth understanding of the energy landscape and the ability to take a leading role in industry or academia. The aim is to secure the future supply of world leading energy researchers, to enable the UK to meet its future energy challenges and to drive the low carbon economy.
The network, launched at Durham University on 31 October 2011, is led by Professors Colin Snape (University of Nottingham) and Paul Williams (University of Leeds). It includes a number of CDTs focusing on clean energy including: the UK Wind Energy Research Doctoral Training Centre (Strathclyde), the Centre for Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Research CDT (Birmingham, Loughborough, Nottingham), the Doctoral Training Centre in Low Carbon Technologies (Leeds), and the Industrial Doctorate Centre in Offshore Renewable Energy (Edinburgh).
The network’s web presence will be hosted on the UK Energy Research Centre's website and should go live within the next few weeks.
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