The Midlands Energy Consortium consists of the universities of Birmingham, Loughborough and Nottingham. The consortium, initiated by the universities respective Vice-Chancellors in October 2006, draws on many existing collaborations and recognises the synergies between the three institutions' research activities.
Our three universities have long invested significantly in energy research. Each has now integrated this activity by establishing interdisciplinary schools and institutes which draw on capabilities in engineering, physical and social sciences. Each interdisciplinary organisation is lead by a director, who provides co-ordination for all energy related research within that university, and who collaborates closely within the consortium.
In September 2007 we were chosen to act as host to the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI). The role of the ETI is to lead the UK's efforts in establishing a low-carbon economy based on a secure, affordable supply of energy. The ETI is a public/private partnership, backed by companies BP, Caterpillar, EDF Energy, E.ON, Rolls-Royce and Shell. The institute will manage a 10-year collaborative R&D programme with a potential investment fund of £1.1bn. Bids to host the Institute were judged on energy research capability, reputation and culture; space, facilities and accessibility; and commitment to the ETI.
The Institute for Energy Research and Policy was founded in 2005 to build on the wide range of high-quality research in energy at the University of Birmingham. The vision for the institute is a network of researchers from a range of disciplines engaged on projects of international excellence, contributing their expertise to each project. Over 60 academic staff are members of the institute and research spans hydrogen storage materials, fuel cells, new combustion and energy conversion technologies, renewable energy sources, energy efficiency, power systems and energy policy.
The Sustainability Research School is one of five interdisciplinary research schools established by Loughborough in 2006. It has around 45 academic members across 12 departments who are committed to interdisciplinary collaboration. Research spans new low carbon combustion technologies, sustainable design and manufacture, environmental science, sustainable economics and business, renewable energy technologies, hydrogen systems and economy, fuel cells, distributed energy and energy efficiency in buildings. The school's director is Professor Dennis Loveday, a building physicist whose research covers heating and cooling systems, and thermal comfort within buildings.
The Energy Technologies Research Institute was founded in 2006 to draw Nottingham's energy research together. The institute is made up of bio scientists, social scientists, chemists, physicists and engineers who are investigating clean fossil fuels and carbon abatement technologies, hydrogen and fuel cells, renewable energy production, energy efficient technologies for the built environment and infrastructure technologies for green energy. The Institute's Director is Professor Colin Snape, a fuel scientist whose research includes focuses on clean coal technology and carbon capture.
The University of Birmingham has around 27,000 students and 6,000 members of staff and a turnover of £360 million. Based on the quality and quantity of research activity, the University was ranked 12th in the UK in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise.
Loughborough is consistently ranked among the top 20 UK universities and has a well-earned reputation for internationally recognised, pioneering research. The University has more than 40 research centres and institutes; five interdisciplinary research schools in Design, Health and Life Sciences, Sustainability, Systems Engineering, and Materials; and three EPSRC Centres for Innovative Manufacturing in Intelligent Automation, Additive Manufacturing and Regenerative Medicine.
The University of Nottingham is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 100 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and Times Higher (THES) World University Rankings. It provides innovative and top quality teaching, undertakes world-changing research, and attracts talented staff and students from 150 nations. Described by The Times as Britain's "only truly global university", it has invested continuously in award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia.