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We’re part of a world-leading renewable energy research collaboration that has received almost £5.3million from the UK government to expand its work.

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (ESPRC) has granted the funds to further develop ReNU, a Centre for Doctoral Training in renewable energies involving Durham, Northumbria and Newcastle universities. 

The funding will create ReNU+ – the ESPRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Renewable Energy Northeast Universities Plus – which will help the UK government progress towards its Net Zero aims for a low carbon economy. 

The funding was announced by the UK government’s Science, Innovation and Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan today, Tuesday 12 March. 

It is complemented by contributions from partner universities and companies resulting in a total value of nearly £11.5million. 

Widening access 

ReNU+ will be distinctive from other areas of renewable energy research due to its emphasis on equality, diversity and inclusion, and its partnerships with local government, industry and charities. 

The centre will widen access to doctoral level training to people with non-traditional educational backgrounds. 

It will encourage those in under-represented groups such as unemployed or disabled people, carers and military veterans to train as doctoral carbon champions. 

This will bring new perspectives that are essential for the transition to Net Zero, from looking at new forms of investment and regulation through to encouraging people to engage with new innovations. 

Working together 

The centre will also work closely with key partners including Northumbrian Water, SSE, Port of Tyne, the NHS, Newcastle City Council, North of Tyne Combined Authority and more.  

This support includes direct sponsorship of doctoral research projects and delivery of a high-skill training programme. 

Access to doctoral level training through ReNU+ will also be available, for the first time, to people who are not enrolled on a PhD programme, with training modules made available for businesses to support the upskilling of their staff. 

While the existing ReNU centre will continue to run to 2027, we’re preparing to train more than 50 additional doctoral carbon champions through ReNU+ over the next eight years. 

The first cohort of students are expected to enrol in autumn 2025. 

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