Energy security will be addressed by leading UK researchers.

Energy security to be addressed by leading UK researchers

Is Britain’s energy supply under threat from global political insecurities? How will the world-wide recession affect our capacity to source energy?

As resources become more scarce and the threat of climate change grows, how vulnerable is Britain to losing the energy supplies we take for granted?

A new research cluster, focusing on these issues, will launch on Thursday 2 April 2009 at the Royal Society. Energy Security in a multipolar world will bring together expertise in energy policy, supply chains, international relations, foreign policy and low carbon technology.

The research cluster is led by the University of Exeter, with the University of Sussex, and is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

Speakers at the launch include: Catherine Mitchell (Professor of Energy Policy, University of Exeter), Andy Stirling (Professor and Science Director of the Science Policy Research Unit) and Jim Skea (Professor and Research Director of the UK Energy Research Centre). 80 academics are expected to attend, with the aim of analysing what we mean by energy security, and how to improve it.

Professor Catherine Mitchell of the University of Exeter, says: “The last few years have seen Britain move from being a net exporter, to a net importer of energy. Shifts in economic and political power around the world are making Britain’s energy supplies more vulnerable. Our imports and supply chains are based on plentiful supply and relatively cheap oil, not something which can be guaranteed in the future. This research cluster will bring together, for the first time, expertise in energy policy, international relations and supply chains to address these concerns and recommend solutions. By working together we believe we can help Britain find a way to manage and mitigate the significant risks we currently face.”

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is the UK’s main agency for funding research in engineering and the physical sciences. The EPSRC invests more than £740 million a year in research and postgraduate training, to help the nation handle the next generation of technological change.

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is the UK's largest funding agency for research and postgraduate training relating to social and economic issues. It provides independent, high quality, relevant research to business, the public sector and Government. The ESRC's planned total expenditure in 2007/8 is £203 million. At any one time the ESRC supports over 4,000 researchers and postgraduate students in academic institutions and research policy institutes.

Date: 2 April 2009

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