To: <env.faculty@uea>, <env.researchstaff@uea>
Subject: Towards a Sustainable Energy Economy deadline
Date: Wed, 7 Jan 2004 10:35:14 -0000
Is any one involved in proposals for this initiative?
Please let me know.
First call for research proposals
A call for expressions of interest for participation in Consortia, Research
Groups, Networks, Collaborative Proposals and Capacity Building
Closing date: 5pm, Monday 19 January 2004
Intending applicants should note that all those receiving funding from this
programme will be expected to collaborate with the UK Energy Research Centre
following its establishment on 1st April 2004.
The Towards a Sustainable Energy Economy programme (TSEC) is aimed at
enabling the UK to access a secure, safe, diverse and reliable energy supply
at competitive prices, while meeting the challenge of global warming. The
Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC), Economic and
Social Research Council (ESRC) and Natural Environment Research Council
(NERC) jointly have funding of �28 million for the programme, which is
co-ordinated by NERC on behalf of the three Research Councils, with
participation from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research
Council (BBSRC) and Council for the Central Laboratory of the Research
Councils (CCLRC). The Councils are advised on the use of the programme's
funds by the TSEC Scientific Advisory Committee.
TSEC is an interdisciplinary research programme that will adopt whole
systems integrated approaches. The Research Councils' working definition of
'a whole systems approach' is: "A whole systems integrated methodology
demanding a truly interdisciplinary approach that facilitates the joint
working of engineering, technological, natural, environmental, social and
economic scientists to tackle fundamental issues (such as sustainable
energy)." A whole systems approach should ensure that new work carried out
complements current and planned activities of the individual Research
Councils in the area concerned and will take into account known
understanding for the issues addressed.
The TSEC programme will provide a focus for, but will not be the only source
of, energy research in the UK. As such, the TSEC programme will aim to make
an impact on UK energy research by promoting this whole systems approach.
Proposers wishing to carry out research under TSEC should familiarise
themselves with the role of TSEC in the energy research landscape, as
described in Annex 1.
What research will TSEC support?
Up to �12 million of the programme's funding will be used to establish the
UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) by 1st April 2004, for which the Councils
have already invited full proposals. The Centre's two major activities will
be its own research programme and the co-ordination of a National Energy
The remainder of the TSEC programme's funds (at least �16 million) will be
used to support research that will operate independently of, but
complementary to, the research done by UKERC. Calls for proposals will be
broadly under the following themes:
managing new uncertainties.
In keeping with the whole systems approach of the programme, applications
are invited from all disciplines that have a research interest in any of the
themes (eg the environmental, social, economic and technological aspects of
What areas are covered in this call?
This first call covers all aspects of the TSEC programme but the Research
Councils wish to focus initially on two of the themes: nuclear power and
managing new uncertainties. It is anticipated that a further call focused in
particular on the other two themes - carbon management and renewable
energy - will be issued in mid-2004.
The present call invites expressions of interest for participation in:
Consortia under the theme Nuclear Power - Keeping the nuclear option
Research Groups under the theme Managing new uncertainties - The
socio-economic challenges and implications of moving towards a sustainable
Expressions of interest for Networks and Collaborative proposals will
also be considered, under either of the themes Carbon management and
Expressions of Interest for preparation for projects (Capacity
Building) will also be considered under any of the areas except Nuclear
The key features of Consortia, Research Groups, Networks, Collaborative
Proposals and Capacity Building are described in the Application Process.
Consortium bids: Nuclear power - Keeping the Nuclear Option Open
The research challenges in fission R&D span areas as diverse as maintaining
and extending the life of existing generation plant; management of the
current and future fission waste legacy; technology for future fission power
generation; and research that can contribute to an open and informed debate
on the current and future role for nuclear power in the UK's energy supply
industry. The scope of this theme has been broken down into three main
maintaining current generation capacity
fission within a sustainable energy economy
future fission power.
The sponsors intend to commission one or more large, integrated,
multidisciplinary projects that can address the research challenges, with
the scope of projects potentially cutting across the three topics.
Further details on the scope of the theme and consortia requirements can be
found in Annex 2.
Research Group bids: Managing new uncertainties - The Socio-Economic
Challenges and Implications of Moving Towards a Sustainable Energy Economy
The aim of this theme is to facilitate research on the cross-cutting
socio-economic challenges and implications of moving towards a sustainable
energy economy and their interactions with broader technological,
engineering, and environmental issues. It offers opportunities for
productive, interdisciplinary research within and beyond the socio-economic
field, with the potential to contribute to the development of whole-systems
approaches to energy issues. Many of the potential research issues have
resonance in a number of other areas of public policy and are not specific
to energy. In line with the aims of the programme, this theme is not
constrained by traditional disciplinary or Research Council boundaries,
whilst focusing on the socio-economic research agenda. Although a number of
the proposed topics and questions focus on UK and European issues, many are
generic and could be applied to both OECD and developing country contexts.
Possible topics identified under this theme include:
Processes of long-run change in socio-technical systems
Vulnerability, resilience and adaptiveness
Services, systems of provision and consumption practices
Policies in natural monopolies and liberalised markets
Public attitudes and processes of governance
Energy in the global context
Integrated appraisal of energy systems.
This framework should be regarded as illustrative, not definitive.
Researchers are encouraged to define and justify alternative topics and
questions which would contribute towards the TSEC programme's overall
More detail on this theme can be found in Annex 3.
Expressions of Interest under the themes Carbon management and Renewable
energy will be considered in this call. However, the following brief
indication of the scope of these two themes is given for initial guidance
only; a detailed scope will be provided in the next call, expected to be mid
Conventional energy research is often vertically divided, so that research
looks at the use of individual fuels, or energy use in particular
industrial, commercial or domestic sectors. There needs to be more
"cross-boundary" and "whole systems" research, looking at how different
technologies and social/environmental factors might be optimised to deliver
the overall objectives. The following are two examples of the type of issues
which should be addressed.
Fuel switching and renewables
Displacing coal and petroleum with natural gas and/or biogas, or biofuels,
or renewables are alternative ways of reducing carbon dioxide (CO2)
emissions. These options require a full whole lifecycle approach to carbon
management, integrating environmental, engineering, resource, economic and
social dimensions. Issues such as length and type of supply chains,
emissions associated with agriculture, fuel processing, infrastructure and
construction need to be fully understood to limit the risk that emissions
are increased or displaced to another part of the energy/resource chain.
Carbon dioxide capture and storage
The continued use of fossil fuels will demand effective carbon management,
particularly through reduction of the associated CO2 emissions. The greatest
long-term potential for reduced CO2 emissions to the atmosphere from fossil
fuels is likely to be through capturing CO2 from large industrial point
sources before it enters the atmosphere, and then sequestering it back into
the bio/geosphere by geological means. The research challenges include: the
mechanisms of large-scale carbon capture at source, CO2 storage, transport
and distribution, and geological sequestration, monitoring and verification
technologies as well as modelling the long term fate of CO2 injected into a
variety of geological scenarios. Understanding is also needed of the
potential risk posed by CO2 leakage into terrestrial and marine settings,
and of the economic risks, costs and benefits, public acceptability and
regulatory issues associated with moving towards large-scale CO2 capture.
The objectives for TSEC in this area will centre on work that supports the
development of renewable and sustainable energy systems of relevance to the
UK economy. Specifically, it will: encourage the introduction of renewable
and sustainable energy systems into the UK economy; encourage consideration
of renewable energy in the context of social/economic/environmental issues
and carbon management; and provide data for the development of policy. TSEC
will fund research that is complementary to that supported through other
Research Council activities, such as the ongoing Sustainable Power
Generation and Supply Programme (SUPERGEN). Again, the following is purely
an example of the type of research which could be funded.
Carbon cycle audits
Audits of full lifecycle carbon (or carbon equivalents of other greenhouse
gases emitted in the lifecycle) need to be undertaken, and the energy
balances of different renewable energy generating technologies need to be
considered and understood, if true impacts on carbon reduction are to be
achieved. For example, if energy crops are to be encouraged, then
consequences on land use change, aquifer recharge, and rainfall run off need
to be fully understood. It would also be important to ensure that the crops
are 'low-input' in terms of energy usage and that the energy balance is
therefore positive. Environmental impacts of growing energy crops would have
to be compared with the alternative land use (food crops, set-aside, etc)),
and consideration given to their potential economic and social impacts.
Risks, barriers and incentives in renewables innovation
Innovation will be essential in the renewables industry if the sector is to
play a central role in future energy supply. Research is required to
understand and quantify the risks inherent in the development of new
technology and the barriers preventing its exploitation to inform both the
priorities of future renewable energy R&D and the development of future
market instruments and incentives that can encourage the effective
management of risk and enable the exploitation of the outputs of R&D. In the
longer term, new disruptive technology may significantly affect the
operation of the energy market, and research is required to investigate how
incentives and market instruments can adapt to changing market conditions
while still providing a long term framework within which companies can make
capital investments requiring a return on capital over long (20-30 year)
timescales. (In addition to research on such issues relating specifically to
renewables there are opportunities for broader cross-cutting research on
these issues under the Managing New Uncertainties Theme).
The Application Process
The schemes and theme areas under which EoIs will be accepted in this call
are highlighted in colour in the table below.
Nuclear power Managing new uncertainties Carbon management Renewable
Characteristics of the schemes
A Consortium will comprise a number of academic groups, normally from
different disciplines and institutions, working in partnership with
appropriate stakeholders and users to design and deliver a collaborative
programme of world-class research. It is expected that the consortium will
deliver higher quality research outputs than groups working in isolation.
This call for expressions of interest is open to all potential partners of a
research consortium, irrespective of their existing links to academic
research in the field. Consortia may be funded at a value of up to �5m.
Expressions of interest can be submitted by individuals, existing groups,
and existing or new collaborations. However, where expressions of interest
are made by a group or collaboration, the Research Councils reserve the
right to take forward those expressions in total or in part during the
Consortium-building process, potentially excluding elements of proposed
A Research Group will be a national focal point for research where
researchers can collaborate on long-term inter-disciplinary projects. It
will facilitate the building of strong relationships with research users,
international collaboration and the development of the careers of new and
Funded initially for five years, Research Groups will be expected to provide
the training for postgraduate students and other new researchers where
appropriate, and to improve opportunities for securing co-funding or
sponsorship from sources outside the Science Vote. Applications for Research
Group funding will normally be expected to be in the range of �200k - �600k
per annum although applications outside this range can be considered.
A major task of UKERC will be to co-ordinate a National Energy Research
Network that will draw in all significant research activities. However, once
the components of this network are known, the TSEC programme will wish to
support new research 'nodes' that complement them. Such complementary
activities would normally be UK-based networks that link research groups and
industrial organisations, across disciplines, to develop new or enhanced
These will be intended to support focussed, co-ordinated, collaborative
research into specific issues and will be expected to enhance opportunities
for inter-disciplinary collaboration. A minimum of three eligible
institutions are required for a proposal under this scheme, each of which
will be separately awarded funds. The consortium will retain ownership and
management of the science programme, and a lead institution will be expected
to act as co-ordinator.
Collaboration awards will provide funding for up to five years with costs
ranging, as required by the research, from modest sums up to approximately
�2M. Proposals may include tied research studentships.
Proposers are free to submit expressions of interest for one or more themes.
For projects that require considerable preparation, applicants may submit an
Expression of Interest for capacity building, to a maximum of �50k, for:
support for a researcher to work in a different science department for
a period of up to 12 months (eg for a natural scientist to work in a social
support for an overseas researcher to work in a UK institution, or for
a UK researcher to work in an overseas institution, for up to 12 months
focusing on interdisciplinary research issues;
support for a series of four or more interdisciplinary events
(involving social and natural scientists) over a 12 month period;
scoping studies, focusing on any of the TSEC themes. Applicants must
demonstrate the interdisciplinary nature of the proposed research. Awards
may be up to 12 months in duration
Standard Research Council eligibility criteria will apply to this call;
those normally eligible to participate in any Research Council programme can
apply. Research Council funding can only be awarded to UK universities,
Research Council institutes, Government Research Establishments and
not-for-profit research organisations. Organisations and industry which are
themselves ineligible for receipt of Research Council funding may
participate, using their own cash or in-kind support.
Applications from members of the public or individuals outside academia will
not be accepted.
Academic expressions of interest may be submitted by leaders of individual
research groups within one or more universities. While existing groups of
researchers are able to apply as a team, it should be recognised that the
Research Councils may recommend the building of new partnerships involving
only a minority of members from existing collaborations. Where there is
scope to do so, it is recommended that individuals submit their own
expression of interest on behalf of their group.
The Selection Process
An initial sift of EoIs will be conducted by expert panels established by
the Programme Scientific Advisory Committee or by the SAC. Applications will
be judged on their quality, innovation, originality and compliance with the
objectives of the programme.
Quality - The proposal should indicate clear potential to support
innovative and high quality research of international standing and include
information on the capacity and track record of the applicants in delivering
such high quality research. This should not rely on publication lists, but
present evidence of recognised first-class research, innovation and
Innovation - The proposal should present novel approaches to current
research challenges and persuasive approaches to roadmap solutions. This
should be in the context of the research theme defined in the technical
Originality - The proposal should demonstrate innovative approaches to
problem solving with evidence of ability, creativity and vision and added
value to current research in the field. The application should be focused
toward addressing research challenges of the theme.
Objectives - The applicant should communicate an enthusiasm for
collaboration and ability to contribute to a programme of research that
delivers the objectives of the TSEC programme. They should demonstrate
awareness of the drivers affecting the research agenda and the potential to
contribute to the development of whole-systems approaches to energy issues.
Applicants for consortia will be informed of the outcome of their bids in
January 2004 and if successful will be invited to a workshop in March 2004
to facilitate the formation of consortia partnerships. Attendance at the
workshops will be mandatory for consortium members, including users and
industrial collaborators. Following the workshops, consortium partners will
be invited to submit EPSRC grant applications, which will be subject to
rigorous peer review.
Applicants for Research Groups will be informed of the outcome of their bids
by mid-March 2004 and if successful invited to submit full proposals by
mid-June. Assessment of full proposals will entail applicants being
interviewed by the assessment panel in September/October 2004.
All other applicants will be informed of the outcome of their bids in
February 2004 and successful applicants invited to submit full proposals as
How to Apply
Expressions of Interest
Expressions of Interest must be submitted using the Research Councils' joint
application form (available in Word or PDF versions)and (with the exception
of proposals for Research Groups on Managing the New Uncertainties - see
below) be accompanied by no more than four sides of A4 text (minimum font 12
pt), including diagrams, figures and charts etc. in support of the
application. This should include any relevant information that will assist
assessment of the project that is not covered in the sections of the
application form. It should include
Details of the track record of the applicant or business and the
particular qualities they would bring to the proposal.
Identification of the broad challenge which the applicant would seek to
address or to which they would be able to contribute
Definition of the perceived key research challenges within the theme.
Indication of potential deliverables.
Information on the collaborating organisation in terms of cash or
in-kind support and proposed benefits from collaboration.
Expressions of interest for Research Groups under the 'Managing the New
Uncertainties' theme must be submitted using the Research Councils joint
application form. However instead of the four sides outlined above the form
should be accompanied by the following information:
A research proposal of no more than 3,000 words outlining the main
proposed elements of the proposed Group's research programme and how this
would contribute towards the achievement of the objectives of the Towards a
Sustainable Energy Economy Programme
Plus the following appendices:
- no more than 1 side of A4 (minimum font 12 pt) providing
details of references cited in the research proposal
- no more than 1 side of A4 (minimum font 12 pt) giving details
of the proposed strategies for involving non-academic users at all stages
and outlining the potential for collaboration and/or co-funding
- no more than two sides of A4 (minimum font 12 pt) outlining
the proposed management structure of the Research Group, including time
commitments of the proposed Director(s) and abbreviated cvs for all named
- no more than one side of A4 (minimum font 12 pt) outlining the
Group's strategy for contributing to the development of inter-disciplinary
research capacity in the field.
In section E of the form, under Scheme applicants should state Consortium,
Centre Group, Network, Collaborative proposal, or Capacity building, as
appropriate; and under Call should insert 'TSEC call 1': followed by the
appropriate theme name: Nuclear; Managing new uncertainties; Carbon
Management, or Renewable energy.
As the majority of institutions have not yet registered with the Research
Councils for electronic submission, in this call electronic submissions
cannot be accepted. An original plus ONE copy are required in hard copy.
Faxed copies are not acceptable.
All applications should be submitted to reach the NERC at the address below
no later than 5pm on 19th January 2004. Personal callers may deliver
applications during normal office hours only (9am - 5pm Monday - Friday).
The Research Councils will reject late or incomplete submissions and those
that do not comply with the application criteria set out above.
Receipt of applications will be acknowledged after the closing date. It will
assist administration of the call if applicants do not telephone to enquire
if their proposal has been received.
Applications and administrative queries should be addressed in the first
Dr Chris Baker (e-mail preferred)
Science and Innovation Programmes
NERC, Polaris House, North Star Avenue
SWINDON, Wiltshire SN2 1EU.
Telephone 01793 411758.
Queries regarding the technical aspects of the Nuclear Power theme should be
addressed to: Dr Peter Hedges, EPSRC, telephone 01793 444176. Queries
regarding the application criteria or eligibility for the Nuclear Power
theme should be addressed to the Associate Programme Manager Mr Robert
Heathman, Room GFN, EPSRC, telephone 01793 444131.
Queries regarding the application criteria or eligibility for the Managing
New Uncertainties theme should be addressed to Mr Paul Rouse, Senior Science
and Development Manager, Research Training and Development Directorate
(RTD), ESRC, at the above address, telephone 01793 413030, or Mr Oliver
Moss, Science and Development Manager, RTD, ESRC, telephone 01793 413064.
All other queries should
Dr. J.P. Darch
School of Environmental Sciences
University of East Anglia
Tel : 44 (0)1603 592994
Fax : 44 (0)1603 593035
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