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8 October 2009 | PR 09/134

New school to help energy scientists put solutions into practice

A new £3m venture will help the next generation of scientists and engineers meet the biggest challenges of the 21st century.

The Midlands Energy Graduate School (MEGS) – a collaboration between the universities of Loughborough, Nottingham and Birmingham – will produce highly-trained postgraduates in renewable energy, power generation and carbon capture, hydrogen and fuel cells, sustainable building, energy efficiency and many other areas crucial to the low carbon economy of the future.

Responding to unprecedented climate change and the need for more secure energy supply, MEGS will train significant numbers of postgraduate researchers to help satisfy the increasing national demand for leading academics and industrialists in the low-carbon energy sector. Its graduates will make a major contribution to addressing the skills gap, combining specialist knowledge of energy technologies with highly-developed engineering skills to put solutions into practice.

The School had its official launch at the East Midlands Conference Centre, Nottingham, on 6 October.

MEGS will be run by the Midlands Energy Consortium, a flagship collaboration between the three universities formed in 2007 to bring together the cutting-edge energy research of more than 200 academics taking place at Birmingham, Loughborough and Nottingham.

Professor Colin Snape of The University of Nottingham, Director of MEGS, said: “The school will provide an unrivalled concentration of energy-related research and development within the UK, and will significantly increase the number of postgraduates in low-carbon technologies to match the clear market demand. They will be thoroughly versed in cutting-edge fossil energy research, capable of operating in multi-disciplinary teams across a range of roles, and skilled to analyse the overall economic and social context of their projects.”

Professor Shirley Pearce, Vice Chancellor of Loughborough University, said: “The Midlands Energy Graduate School is an exciting initiative that will bring a new level of collaboration to doctoral training in energy. It will provide students at the three consortium universities with an exceptional opportunity to broaden their understanding of energy technologies by drawing upon the expertise of some of the country’s leading specialists in their field.”

Modules will delivered across the three institutions via a video-conferencing facility and there will also be summer school/networking activities, collaborative MSc programmes and an annual energy focused recruitment fair for undergraduates to attract them to work in the energy sector.

Professor Richard Green, of The University of Birmingham, will lead a module on the overview of the energy system in the UK, from a technical and a socio-economic point of view.

Professor Green said: “I am delighted to be involved in the Midlands Energy Graduate School – teaching by video-link is an excellent low-carbon way to share our expertise across the three universities, and give all of our research students a broader experience and better foundation for their future careers. Our three universities complement each other very well in energy research, and this is a way of maximising our collective impact.”

Core funding of £3m for MEGS was awarded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England. The School takes its first students in October 2009. Over the next five years, 150 new PhD students will benefit from the enhanced training within themed doctoral training centres in the areas of:

The Midlands Energy Consortium has already had significant success – winning the national competition to host the £1bn Energy Technologies Institute, a UK-based company formed from global industries and the UK government.

– Ends –

For all media enquiries contact:

Hannah Baldwin
Head of PR
Loughborough University
T: 01509 222239
E: H.E.Baldwin@lboro.ac.uk

Tim Utton
Deputy Director – Communications
University of Nottingham
T: 0115 846 8092
E: tim.utton@nottingham.ac.uk 

Kate Chapple
Press Office
University of Birmingham
T: 0121 4142772
E: k.h.chapple@bham.ac.uk 

Notes for editors:

  1. Loughborough University is one of the country’s leading higher education institutions, with an international reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry and unrivalled sporting achievement.

    It was awarded the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year 2008-09 title, and is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in national newspaper league tables. In the 2009 National Student Survey, Loughborough was voted one of the top five universities in the UK, with 21 out of 33 of its subject areas being ranked in the top ten for overall satisfaction and has been named winner of the 2006, 2007 and 2008 Times Higher award for the UK’s Best Student Experience. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen’s Anniversary Prizes – an achievement bettered by no other institution.

    It is a member of the esteemed 1994 Group – a set of internationally recognised, research-intensive universities – and has a reputation for the relevance of its work. Its degree programmes are highly regarded by professional institutions and businesses, and its graduates are consistently targeted by the UK’s top recruiters.

    Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

  2. 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 (THE) World University Rankings.

    More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to RAE 2008, with almost 60 per cent of all research defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Research Fortnight analysis of RAE 2008 ranks the University 7th in the UK by research power. In 27 subject areas, the University features in the UK Top Ten, with 14 of those in the Top Five.

    The University 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. Twice since 2003 its research and teaching academics have won Nobel Prizes. The University has won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in both 2006 (International Trade) and 2007 (Innovation – School of Pharmacy), and was named ‘Entrepreneurial University of the Year’ at the Times Higher Education Awards 2008.

    Nottingham was designated as a Science City in 2005 in recognition of its rich scientific heritage, industrial base and role as a leading research centre. Nottingham has since embarked on a wide range of business, property, knowledge transfer and educational initiatives (www.science-city.co.uk)  in order to build on its growing reputation as an international centre of scientific excellence. The University of Nottingham is a partner in Nottingham: the Science City.

  3. The University of Birmingham has around 27,000 students and 6,000 members of staff and a turnover of £410 million.

    Birmingham encompasses not only the lakeside setting and green landscape of its Edgbaston campus, but also has bases across Birmingham as well at the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford upon Avon, the Ironbridge Institute at the Ironbridge Gorge and at its outward bound Priestley Centre on the edge of Lake Coniston in the Lake District.

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