Imperial academic named as new Director of 22m energy research centre

The UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) will help the UK work towards its net-zero target under the new leadership of Imperial’s Dr Rob Gross.

The UK has pledged ‘net-zero’ emissions by 2050, which requires decarbonizing key sectors such as industry, transport and heat, alongside developing and rolling out technologies that remove carbon from the atmosphere.

This new phase of funding will enable us to implement an exciting new agenda of research and engagement, and to inform the decisions that need to be made over the next five years. Dr Rob Gross


UKERC ’s research programme aims to help the UK’s transition towards a net-zero energy system and economy. It will explore the potential economic, political, social and environmental costs and benefits of energy system change, and consider how these impacts can be distributed equitably.

Dr Rob Gross , from the Centre for Environmental Policy at Imperial, has been named the new Director for UKERC’s fourth phase, which is supported by 18m funding from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) with partners contributing 4 million.

The funding will enable engineers, social scientists and natural scientists to conduct vital research on global energy challenges and their implications for the UK.

UKERC will also host and curate energy data, map and monitor public engagement, carry out systematic evidence reviews and improve the transparency and understanding of energy models.

Strong international reputation

Dr Gross said: “UKERC already has a strong international reputation for groundbreaking interdisciplinary research on the transformation of energy systems. This new phase of funding will enable us to implement an exciting new agenda of research and engagement, and to inform the decisions that need to be made over the next five years.”

The UKERC is led by UCL and encompasses 17 universities including Imperial, plus the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Chatham House and the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies. It is funded through the UKRI Energy Programme by UKRI’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, Natural Environment Research Council and Economic and Social Research Council.

UK Research and Innovation Chief Executive, Professor Sir Mark Walport, said: “Moving the UK to a sustainable, resilient energy system that delivers on our net zero ambitions requires collaboration, better data and expertise across the research and innovation ecosystem.

“UKERC plays an important role in supporting this transition, delivering world-class research, facilitating national and international collaboration and generating evidence that informs real-world decisions.”

UKERC will also continue to support the wider energy research community by facilitating engagement with other stakeholders, supporting career development and capacity building, and enhancing international collaboration.

Photos and graphics subject to third party copyright used with permission or Imperial College London.

Hayley Dunning
Communications and Public Affairs

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