Strathclyde part of new Research Alliance to tackle net zero challenges

Householder checking energy consumption

Strathclyde is one of a trio of universities at the centre of a new interdisciplinary, cross-sector research alliance in Energy, Homes and Livelihoods to help Scotland meet its net zero challenges.

Supported by the Scottish Funding Council (SFC), the new multi-institutional partnership is one of three new Alliance for Research Challenges (ARCs) to connect research excellence to national challenges.

Researchers from St Andrews, Edinburgh and Strathclyde form the leadership team, with the Universities of Dundee, Glasgow and Stirling and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland also part of the Alliance, which will be open to all universities in Scotland.

Research collaboration

The ARCs represent a new approach to research collaboration in Scotland, with funding also for alliances for brain health and food, with an additional alliance in development to examine the best uses of emerging quantum technologies.

The Research Alliance in Energy, Homes and Livelihoods, led by the University of St Andrews, will receive up to £600,000 over the next four years from the SFC to examine how to cope with the transition to new sustainable sources of energy.

Strathclyde’s Professor Zoe Shipton and Dr Gareth Johnson are leading the decarbonising heat in homes theme.

Professor Shipton said:

This new Research Alliance creates the space and opportunities to bring together the broadest range of academic and other stakeholders to really listen to each other’s perspectives, challenge assumptions and build the new interdisciplinary understanding needed to drive socially just change fast enough to meet Scotland’s ambitious net zero targets.

"Getting Scotland’s households to net zero is a complex problem. The variety of homeowners, variability of housing stock, differing family economic circumstances, lifestyles and needs, and differences in infrastructure between rural and urban areas, results in a wide variety of appropriate technical solutions for each householder and their property.

"This complexity demands that all academic disciplines come together to understand how to optimise solutions."

Major grants

The investment will enable the researchers to create multi-disciplinary, cross-sector teams to strengthen and accelerate bids for major research grants, including funding from overseas.

Helen Cross, SFC’s Director of Research and Innovation, said: “ARCs will make exciting and dynamic links between people, institutions and disciplines. In doing so they will place Scottish research in a strong position to generate new funding through successful bids to research grants in the UK, Europe and beyond.

“The ARCs are also designed to connect the priorities of the Scottish Government with areas of strength within our publicly funded research system.”

Higher Education Minister, Jamie Hepburn, said: “ARCs will connect Scotland’s research excellence to national challenges and will build on our unique collaborative ethos and world-class universities to prime the Scottish landscape to respond to challenge-focused research funding opportunities.

 “I look forward to hearing more about the innovative solutions being developed in areas ranging from healthy ageing, quantum technologies, managing our food systems, and energy transition and sustainability as the ARCs progress.”