An industrial doctorate centre to help develop essential skills for accelerating offshore renewable technologies in the UK is to be created by the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) and the Research Council’s UK (RCUK) Energy Programme.
Up to £6.5million of funding will be made available from ETI and RCUK towards the establishment of the centre.
UK universities are being invited to bid to host the centre, which is expected to be launched by October 2011. The hope at Energy is that Aberdeen’s two universities will pitch.
The closing date for applicant organisations is April 26.
The centre will address a priority area for the ETI’s engineering and technology developments and addresses a gap in the RCUK Energy Programme’s provision for cohort doctoral training.
It will train up to 50 students (through five annual cohorts of 10), with each doctoral student training for an engineering doctorate.
Students will be based for most of their training with ETI member companies (BP, Caterpillar, EDF Energy, E.ON, Rolls-Royce and Shell), within ETI technology development and demonstration teams and with third-party organisations.
Dr David Clarke, ETI chief executive, said: “This centre will provide a pool of 50 future leaders in offshore renewables engineering and technology.
“These individuals will be equipped to help solve the challenges we face in making offshore renewables a key part of the long term industrial base of the UK. It will also lead to the development of enhanced links between universities and industry to ensure a long-term pipeline of technology, training and engineering that will play a major part in the UK’s economy over the coming years.”
The EngD is equivalent to the intellectual challenge of a PhD, coupled with extensive business leadership training. Research engineers are expected to spend around 75% of their time working directly with their host company on project work and 25% on taught courses.
The ETI’s offshore wind programme is aimed at achieving significant cost reduction and enhanced reliability to offshore wind, to realise its huge potential to reduce the UK’s carbon emissions by around 50million tonnes of CO per year. The key challenges in the sector are affordable floating structure, maintenance, installation and turbine reliability and cost reduction. The ETI’s marine energy programme is focused on accelerating the development and deployment of commercially viable marine energy technologies that contribute to the delivery of cost energy and performance improvements.
The ETI is a public/private partnership tasked with developing “mass-scale” technologies to help the UK meet its 2020 and 2050 energy targets.