Imperial College London

Imperial College London and EDF Energy launch new SparkFund



Imperial College London and EDF Energy have launched a new series of collaborative projects to research areas of common interest in the energy sector.

Energy Futures Lab and the EDF Energy R&D UK Centre have launched the new SparkFund initiative. The initiative will support three projects over the next three months to investigate research areas that are of interest to academia and industry.

EDF and the College have a long standing relationship working on many different topics ranging from nuclear engineering to energy system design and economics. The SparkFund initiative follows on from the FlexiFund programme, which has run for the last four years. “The FlexiFund projects demonstrated the success of working closely with industry” says Professor Tim Green, Director of Energy Futures Lab, “but with the pace of change and innovation within the energy sector EDF Energy R&D UK Centre and we wanted a new approach to testing concepts and ideas quickly before investing in larger scale projects”. 

The SparkFund was conceived to fund innovative precursor research projects related to the UK energy challenge. The initiative aims to provide an environment where collaborations between academia and industry can flourish, bringing together world-leading experts from across the College and EDF Energy R&D UK Centre.

“The SparkFund provides a unique opportunity to work collaboratively with world-renowned academics in investigating and testing potential game changing and disruptive innovations for the energy sector. This agile approach to research will help the College and EDF to discover and develop promising topics quickly and focus time and resources more effectively on larger follow-on projects” says Dan Bentham, Head of R&D - Smart Customers at EDF Energy, “It is great to see strong synergies between our work and the research being done at Imperial and the collaboration between organisations and departments that this fund has created.”

There was a fantastic response to the funding call from across the College. A panel from Energy Futures Lab and EDF Energy R&D UK Centre had the difficult job of choosing from a long list of very different and innovative projects. However, a decision was reached and the successful projects were:

The projects are expected to deliver results and proposed next steps within three months. At the end of the year the SparkFund Panel will decide whether these projects are the start of something much bigger.

Look out for future SparkFund calls and if you would like to know more about the SparkFund or the strategic relationship between EDF and Imperial College please contact the Corporate Partnership Team.


Neasan O'Neill

Neasan O'Neill
Faculty of Engineering

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