Jo Johnson announces international Energy research investments

Supplementary content information

UK Science Minister, Jo Johnson MP, today announced a series of joint UK/India investments in interdisciplinary energy research that will:

  • monitor energy use and demand
  • explore better building efficiency and incorporation of solar generation
  • use data to improve urban planning and reduce energy use and demand
  • aim to achieve reductions in carbon emissions

Four projects are funded by £4 million from the Newton Fund in India, known as the Newton-Bhabha Fund, which will be matched by an equal investment from the Department of Science & Technology in India.

They involve collaborations between UK universities and Indian Institutes.

Shri Y S Chowdary, Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, said: I am delighted at the announcement of the partnership between India and the UK on the problem of anti-microbial resistance. I am also delighted to see the announcements of new awards under the Newton-Bhabha programme. India is exponentially growing its science capability and using science and technology to transform society. Our collaboration with the UK shows how partnerships of the highest quality can help both countries advance, as well as have a global positive impact for sustainable development.

Chief Executive Designate of UK Research and Innovation Sir Mark Walport said: The UK and India are working together to deliver world class research. These new collaborative projects will strengthen bonds between our research communities and deepen our collective understanding across a range of fields: from energy and water to medicine and physics. Creating opportunities for the UK to collaborate with the best scientists from around the world is a core focus of UK Research and Innovation.

Professor Philip Nelson, EPSRC's Chief Executive, said: How we can balance energy demand against supply in a sustainable way is a major challenge around the world. Developing systems that are flexible and designing buildings that are efficient in a local context will go a long way to help us meet this challenge. EPSRC is pleased to be working through the Newton-Bhabha Fund to bring international collaborations to bear on our shared problems.

The projects are:

Residential building energy demand reduction in India (RESIDE) - Oxford Brookes University and International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT), Hyderabad - Principal Investigator Rajat Gupta. Grant reference EP/R008434/1.

This project will help support the improvement of living conditions for millions of Indian citizens through establishing the knowledge base to develop a residential building code for high quality, low-energy housing across all five climatic zones in India.

The project brings together an interdisciplinary team of architects, engineers, digital scientists, urban planners and behavioural researchers to assess all aspects of the residential energy use problem, including performance of the building fabric; in-home appliances including heating, ventilation and air conditioning; indoor environment and occupant behaviour.

iNtelligent Urban Model for Built environment Energy Research (iNumber) - University College London and Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology (CEPT) University, Ahmedabad - Principal Investigator Paul Ruyssevelt. Grant reference EP/R008620/1

iNumber will develop an urban model for buildings and municipal energy services and related tools to help cities plan for secure energy and water use. It will advance innovative research into: urban data collection (e.g. laser, infrared, and visible remote sensing), big data analytics, and 3D spatial modelling. Using these methods, iNUMBER will co-create interactive planning tools to pinpoint energy demand reductions, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, stabilise the electricity grid, and help cities alleviate poverty by providing more support and social services to poorer members of their communities.

Zero Peak Energy Building Design for India (ZED-i) - University of Bath and Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Roorkee - Principal investigator Sukumar Natarajan. Grant reference EP/R008612/1.

This project will address the challenge of peak demand for energy, which can mean supply does not reach people when they need it most ie when it is either extremely hot or cold. It will investigate building design across a range of cities and climates. It will also consider how loads can be moved between buildings to achieve a smooth demand profile at network level.

Community-scale Energy Demand Reduction in India (CEDRI) - Heriot-Watt University and Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi - Principal investigator David Jenkins. Grant reference EP/R008655/1

The CEDRI project will apply aggregation algorithms, converting small samples of individual building demand profiles into community-level profiles. After carrying out surveys and workshops with householders, the project will identify the demand-reducing measures likely to succeed (informed by real case-study communities and empirical data) and apply these to the community demand models to quantify potential impact.

It will investigate how changes can improve the local energy networks and reduce total energy demand in a way that improves key characteristics of that network (such as frequency, voltage and peak demand). The project will therefore provide guidance that will ensure that approaches to demand reduction ‘co-evolve' with the methods used to supply electricity to residential communities, over future timescales that already have considerable levels of uncertainty.

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Notes for Editors:

Newton-Bhabha Fund

In India, the Newton Fund is known as the Newton-Bhabha Fund. The Newton Fund builds research and innovation partnerships with 18 partner countries to support economic development and social welfare, and to develop research and innovation capacity for long-term sustainable growth. It has a total UK Government investment across all countries of £735 million up until 2021, with matched resources from the partner countries. The Newton Fund is managed by the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), and delivered through 15 UK delivery partners, which include the Research Councils, the UK Academies, the British Council, Innovate UK and the Met Office. For further information visit the Newton Fund website and follow via Twitter: @NewtonFund.

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

As the main funding agency for engineering and physical sciences research, our vision is for the UK to be the best place in the world to Research, Discover and Innovate.

By investing £800 million a year in research and postgraduate training, we are building the knowledge and skills base needed to address the scientific and technological challenges facing the nation. Our portfolio covers a vast range of fields from healthcare technologies to structural engineering, manufacturing to mathematics, advanced materials to chemistry. The research we fund has impact across all sectors. It provides a platform for future economic development in the UK and improvements for everyone's health, lifestyle and culture.

We work collectively with our partners and other Research Councils on issues of common concern via Research Councils UK.

Reference: PN 67-17