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The first Call for Proposals focuses on three topics:
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- Governance of energy vector change
- They invite proposals that explore how different levels of governance interact with multiple and evolving energy vectors for the delivery of decarbonised energy services. Here governance refers to decision making processes, and the associated practices and activities. It also includes the role of different actors, or networks of actors, in decision making and their respective levels of agency.
- Topics may include:
- How local, regional, national or multilateral/intergovernmental governance affect the development of new or expanded vectors such as heat distribution networks.
- The changing roles of different agencies and actors in the context of new loads on existing vectors, such as upgrading electricity grids to provide heat, or new uses of existing vectors, such as using the gas grid for hydrogen.
- Interactions across vectors to promote a more integrated energy system, such as using district heat stores to help accommodate variable renewables.
- Interactions of individual levels of governance in the development and emergence of different vectors, for example the role of local authorities in promoting the development of low carbon heat.
- Interactions of multiple agencies; such as the interactions between Ofgem, local authorities, network operators and planning agencies in delivering energy system change. The interaction of legal duties, roles and responsibilities among these bodies, how this impacts on decision-making and collective investment choices and scope for reform & improved alignment.
- Finance: the impact of policy at different scales
- They invite proposals that will explore the impact of policy on financing low carbon energy at different scales.
- Topics may include:
- The distributional aspects of investment in lower carbon energy – across heat, electricity generation, storage and distribution as well as energy efficiency and demand response.
- Barriers to low carbon energy investment and where/how policy could influence these.
- Mechanisms for widening access to green finance.
- Who pays for, and who benefits from low carbon energy investment, and where/how might policy affect this balance.
- The scope for innovation in financing and financial products to enable a more equitable transition to new low carbon technologies and propositions.
- Cooling the transition
- They invite proposals that consider how demand for cooling might change in future, how cooling can be decarbonised (‘clean cooling’), and implications for energy systems.
- Topics may include:
- How centralised or distributed cooling systems, or sectors with high cooling loads (such as datacentres/servers) could contribute to demand management and/or to benefit from – or integrate with – growth in variable renewable energy.
- An investigation into the changing cooling needs within a key sector such as food and drink, or across different sectors; the effect of climate change and climate mitigation policies (e.g. in the transport sector).
- Space conditioning in a changing climate: evolving heating and cooling needs be both met in different building types and how this can be addressed in building and system design. This can include the effect of ICT in commercial buildings.
- The impact of changing climate and unmet cooling needs across different social economics groups, especially vulnerable groups.
UKERC anticipates that approximately £1 million will be distributed under the first call for proposals
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- Expressions of Interest (EOIs) are invited from eligible UK researchers, i.e. applicants based in UK Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), Research Council Institutes and Centres, and Independent Research Organisations (IROs) approved by any of the Research Councils.
- UK Higher Education – All UK Higher Education Institutions that receive grant funding from one of the UK higher education funding bodies are eligible to receive funds for research, postgraduate training and associated activities.
- Research Institutes – The Research Councils have established a long-term investment as major funder to a number of research Institutes, all of which are eligible for grant funding from all Research Councils.
- NHS Bodies – with research capacity (the Board, NHS Clinical Commissioning Group, NHS Special Authority, NHS Trust, NHS Foundation Trust, NHS Local Health Board) are eligible to apply as lead applicants for all RC’s.
- Public Sector Research Establishments – The Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) have given approval for organisations which pass UKRI’s definition of Public Sector Research Establishments (PSREs) to be eligible to apply against a limited number of Research Council opportunities, e.g. the Strategic Priorities Fund (SPF).
- Other Organizations – may also be eligible to become an Independent Research Organisation (IRO) if they possess an existing in-house capacity to carry out research that materially extends and enhances the national research base and are able to demonstrate an independent capability to undertake and lead research programmes.
- Innovate UK Catapult Centres – do not currently meet the research councils’ eligibility criteria.
- Individuals may submit no more than one EOI as Principal Investigator plus one as Coinvestigator, or two as Co-Investigator, to this call.
For more information, visit http://www.ukerc.ac.uk/news/ukerc-flexible-fund-first-call.html
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