A new EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Renewable Energy Marine Structures (REMS) was officially opened on 4 March, at Cranfield University by Maria McCaffery, CEO of RenewableUK.

The Centre, funded by a partnership between the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and companies from the energy and power industries, will train fifty Engineering Doctorate (EngD) students who will study for four years each, over the next eight years. The first cohort registered in October 2014. This is a collaboration between Cranfield University and the Department of Engineering Science at the University of Oxford.

Professor Sir Peter Gregson, CEO and Vice Chancellor of Cranfield University welcomed everyone and said: “This specialist Doctoral Training Centre will build on our expertise in the renewable energy sector, and the collaboration between Cranfield University and the University of Oxford will ensure a stimulating environment in which doctoral research students can play a significant role in building the UK’s capabilities in sustainable energy technology for the future.”

Professor Brennan, Director of Energy at Cranfield University and REMS Centre Director, added: “Offshore wind is already becoming a cornerstone in the UK’s energy mix, with wave and tidal power emerging as major technologies so that we have a secure and sustainable energy supply for the 21st century. This new Centre will ensure that the UK and Europe remain at the forefront of this very important sector so that not only can we satisfy domestic requirements, but that we export our services and technologies ensuring the UK leads the world in the development, implementation and cost-effective operation of offshore structures for wind, wave and tidal power.”

Maria McCaffery, CEO of RenewableUK said: “The Centre is opening its doors at just the right time, as the UK’s world-leading offshore wind sector is expanding rapidly, with installed capacity expected to double by 2020 to meet our renewable energy targets, and a further trebling needed between 2020 and 2030. Meanwhile, the wave and tidal sector is about to see a step change as we move closer towards the deployment of the first commercial-scale arrays in British waters, marking the dawn of new industries. These are exciting times to be working in the field of offshore renewables, but we are well aware that if we’re to maintain our global lead, we will need to attract more first-class engineers into the sector in the years ahead. That’s why I’m immensely proud to have been invited to open this centre of excellence”.

Professor Philip Nelson, CEO of EPSRC said: “Investing in tomorrow’s scientists and engineers is vital if the UK is to have the right skills we need to address the energy challenges we face. This EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training will be working closely with the energy and power industries. This means that researchers can be well informed by industry needs and likewise industry is plugged in to cutting edge research.”

EPSRC-funded centres bring together diverse areas of expertise from both academia and industry to train engineers and scientists with the skills, knowledge and confidence to tackle today’s evolving issues, and future challenges. They also provide a supportive and exciting environment for research students and create new working cultures, building relationships between teams in universities and forging lasting links with industry.