Energy programme generates £500 billion in UK revenues

A green field with solar panels lined up

Since 2004, the EPSRC-led energy programme has invested £1.1 billion, supporting extensive collaboration via 1,233 grants.

By 2018, the grants had generated around £500 billion in UK revenues and employed over two million people.

Funding supported a full spectrum of activity, from more nascent research areas such as microbial fuel cells and hydrogen purification, through to projects with much broader research scope, such as whole energy systems and carbon capture and storage.

The study also identified several examples of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council-funded (EPSRC) projects that have delivered scientific and industrial advances in tandem.

Taking ambitious risks

The energy programme was able to identify and take ambitious risks:

  • providing initial investment
  • acting as a catalyst for follow-on funding from both the public and private sectors
  • accepting the degree of uncertainty that comes with early-stage investment in energy research

Researchers supported by the programme have produced around 23,500 research outputs and have delivered more than 1,000 tangible policy impacts, most notably in terms of energy economics, sustainability and energy regulation.

The programme has invested around £13 million directly into projects with specific training and skills development objectives via grants for doctoral training centres and fellowships.

It has also supported more than 800 secondments between UK universities and a range of other academic institutions and private sector research teams nationally and internationally.

Support and impacts extend across the world

More than 2,000 researchers involved in energy programme grants have moved between research institutions within the UK and internationally, including notable proportions having taken up positions in:

  • China
  • the US
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • France
  • Germany
  • India

In 2005 project partners generated £233 billion in UK revenues and employed around 1.1 million people. By 2018 the employment figure had almost doubled, and UK revenues had increased to around £500 billion.

Spin-out successes

Analysis of secondary data demonstrates that in 2019 the spin-out companies supported by the programme generated known UK revenues of £28.9 million and employed 180 people. Since 2010, 13 of these spin-out companies have secured a total of £49.3 million of investment.

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