What’s been in the UK science news?
Government pledge to support nuclear research
On Tuesday, the Minister for Universities and Science, Jo Johnson, provided some welcome relief to nuclear scientists based in the UK. The Joint European Torus (JET) project, based in Oxfordshire, is the world’s largest nuclear experiment seeking to pave the way for the nuclear fusion to become a mainstream source of energy. The project has been supported by a €283m contact, of which 88% comes from the EU. Johnson has confirmed that the Government will underwrite any funding that will be lost from the UK’s exit from the EU, and will continue to fund the research after the current contract ends.
Statistics give renewable energy a clean bill of health
On top of news that coal consumption is at its lowest rate since the industrial revolution, the UK continues to surpass its renewable energy targets. Figures published today have shown that renewable energy accounted for 8.9% of final energy consumption in 2016, up 0.7% from 2015. The UK’s primary source of renewable energy remains to be from onshore and offshore wind farms, accounting for 45% of the renewable energy produced. The UK has set a target requiring 8.5% of energy consumed to be sourced from renewables, a target that was 7.5% in 2015.
Efficient appliances aid lower energy consumption
A report from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has shown that EU regulations have helped to reduce electricity and gas consumption since 2008. The Climate Change Act, calling for stricter laws on insulation and improvements to home appliances has helped to reduce electricity and gas demand by 17% and 23% respectively. The publication confirms that although the cost per unit of electricity and gas has indeed risen, household bills have fallen thanks to EU and UK efficiency standards which forced engineers to design appliances that use less energy. The CCC has warned, however, that household bills will rise should the Government neglect energy efficiency policies in the future.
Materials and manufacturing round 3
Competition opens: Monday 8 May 2017
Competition closes: Wednesday 12 July 2017 12:00pm
Innovate UK is to invest up to £15 million in innovation projects in manufacturing and/or materials. Projects will be funded to focus on identified technical or commercial challenges. These should lead to increased productivity, competitiveness and growth for UK small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Projects will range in size from total project costs of £50,000 to £2 million. Projects should last between 6 months and 3 years. Projects must involve at least one SME, working alone or in collaboration with other organisations. Projects longer than 12 months or with costs of £100,000 or more, must be collaborative with other grant claiming partners. More information and applications are available here.