Strategy

This strategy will be updated in line with the Delivery Plan 2016-2020 by the end of June 2016.

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) leads the Research Councils UK (RCUK) Energy theme on behalf of all research councils, bringing strategy to UK energy research in support of government targets.

The overarching goal of the Energy theme is to sponsor research and PhD training to secure a low-carbon future, through the creation of reliable, economically viable energy systems while protecting the natural environment, resources and quality of life. The Energy theme will be shaped with advice from internal and external advisory bodies, including the RCUK Energy Scientific Advisory Committee, stakeholders and the academic community.

Our aims are to realise the benefits from past research and to focus our resources and build our portfolio in areas with the potential to meet the UK's 2050 climate change targets.

We will work with partners across government, including the Energy Research Partnership and the Low Carbon Innovation Group, to produce a comprehensive roadmap of UK research and PhD training needs to meet UK carbon dioxide (CO2) reduction targets.

In addition, working in partnership with industry, the Technology Strategy Board (now 'Innovate UK'), the Carbon Trust and the Energy Technologies Institute, we will support the research required to develop energy technologies to address UK and global energy challenges and so realise the maximum return from our previous investments.

We will continue to work with the energy research community to provide research and postgraduate training in line with the research and PhD training roadmap, supporting internationally leading individuals, teams and consortia as well as building capacity – from early career researchers to current and future research leaders.

Focusing on speculative research through core disciplines such as engineering, physics, chemistry and mathematics, we will prioritise transformative, creative and potentially disruptive research in areas such as new materials, as we help define the UK's future energy options and accelerate levels of technology readiness. We will continue to support UK research to develop fusion for energy, which is potentially transformative, but a long-term international endeavour.

The October 2010 International Review of Energy found that RCUK's portfolio has a leading edge in world-ranked energy science and is having a huge impact on the UK's 2050 climate targets. We will work across the research councils to achieve targets arising from the Energy International Review, recommendations from which will also be used to inform the Energy theme's plans and priorities over this Delivery Plan period.

Our portfolio will be developed to address specific recommendations of the International Review's action plan, working in partnership with industry and other public sector funders as appropriate.