Today, North East England unveiled its plans to host the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI), the UK's core energy research centre to be set-up by the Government and private sector sponsors later this year.
The ETI aims to make the UK a global leader in energy research and will be responsible for the allocation of approximately £1bn of research and development funds, over the next 10 years.
The North East England Consortium comprises the Universities of Durham, Newcastle and Northumbria, together with the New and Renewable Energy Centre (NaREC), and the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI). Building on a 25-year track record of collaborative RD&D in the region, this initiative has been developed in conjunction with One NorthEast and the Science and Industry Council.
Today's event, held at Newcastle University's award-winning Devonshire Building, the proposed home for the ETI, welcomed over 70 stakeholders from both industry and academia. The Rt. Hon Nick Brown, MP, Minister for the North East, opened the meeting, declaring his support for the region's bid. The event provided an opportunity to find out more about the ETI project, and to share ideas on future collaborations.
Rt. Hon Nick Brown MP, speaking at the event, explained: "North East England is striving to become one of the world's first carbon neutral regions. Newcastle University's Devonshire Building is leading the way in showing the world what can be done to minimise carbon emissions. Today we are demonstrating just why this region would make the ideal headquarters for the Energy Technologies Institute."
The ETI will operate on a 'distributed' basis, with research taking place at scientific and academic centres across the UK and overseas. The host will act as a hub to co-ordinate activity as well as drawing on its own regional research strengths, and will drive and create funding for energy research and development projects across the UK.
North East England has a proud energy sector heritage. Professor Paul Younger FREng of Newcastle University, who is Co-ordinator of the North East England bid explains: "This area has deeper roots in energy science and engineering than any other region in the world. The first global fossil fuel export industry was established here at the end of the 16th Century and, now we lead the UK in bringing bioenergy, hydrogen technologies and geothermal energy to market. Our team believes passionately that the ETI would thrive in North East England, and is committed to bringing the project to its natural home."
The energy sector is currently estimated to be worth around £900m in North East England and is the most productive and rapidly growing of all sectors in the region, currently employing around 8,000 people. The sector is expected to grow by 206% over the next ten years with employment set to rise to 19,400 with a contribution to GVA of over £2,667M by 2016.
Five regional bids have now been submitted. A second short-listing decision is expected on 23rd August to narrow down the competition to just two bids with the final selection to be announced by Government in October.
For further information on the North East's proposal please visit http://eti.ncl.ac.uk/index.php or call the ETI team on +44 191 246 4951.