Imperial hosts Labour science and energy team


Power lines

A group of Labour peers from the House of Lords visited the Imperial campus this week to discuss the work of Imperial experts in energy innovation.

Hosted by Professor Mary Ryan, Vice Provost (Research and Enterprise), members of Labour’s Shadow Energy Security & Net Zero and Science, Innovation and Technology teams visited the Hitachi-Imperial Digital Energy Demonstrator in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. Professors Peter Childs, Co-Director of the Energy Futures Lab, Tim Green, College Academic Leader for Sustainability, and Dr Philip Clemow showed how the future electricty grid will need to become larger and more dynamic to meet the UK’s future energy demand.

The Labour team consisted of Baroness Maggie Jones, Lord Steve Bassam and Lord Wilf Stevenson from the shadow Science, Innovation and Technology team, as well as Baroness Judith Blake and Lord Chis Lennie from the shadow Energy Security and Net Zero team.

Following the tour, the peers discussed the challenges and opportunities for the UK energy sector in the transition to a zero-carbon system with Imperial experts. They were particularly interested in the need for skills development in key industries and how universities and other institutions can play a role in delivering the engineers, technicians and other jobs needed in the future. Alyssa Gilbert, Director of Innovation at the Grantham Institute and Professor Ramana Nanda, Director of the Institute for Deep Tech Entrepreneurship, discussed the current obstacles that innovators and young businesses face in terms of raising early-stage capital and deploying products to the market in the UK.

The role of nuclear energy within the UK’s future energy mix was also discussed, with Dr Michael Bluck, Director of the Centre for Nuclear Engineering, and Professor Robin Grimes, Faculty of Engineering, explaining the importance of the sector and the reliable baseload it could provide to the UK, alongside other renewables. 

Dr. Ana Mijic, Director of the Centre for Systems Engineering, and Professor Nilay Shah, Professor of Systems Processing Engineering, emphasised that policy interventions cannot be done in isolation and that policymakers needed to take a systems approach to designing and delivering interventions in sectors as complex and interconnected as transitions to Net Zero.

The discussion concluded with agreement from all on the importance of bringing the public along in the discussions surrounding decarbonisation, and that the government has an key role to play in making consumers feel part of the solution.

Key Imperial Net Zero initiatives 

Hitachi-Imperial Centre for Decarbonisation and Natural Climate Solutions is a joint research centre between Imperial College London, Hitachi, Ltd. and Hitachi Europe Ltd. The Centre will enable a fundamental and applied research programme to be established where Imperial and Hitachi will collaborate on selected research projects, reports and white papers on the challenges and technologies neededto reach Net Zero.

Launched in 2022, the Centre will be a platform to bring together researchers from different faculties and disciplines to build a truly multidisciplinary, holistic programme, taking a systems-thinking approach to embed both technical and socio-economic/policy aspects to deliver transformative and translatable solutions.

Transition to Zero Pollution is an Imperial College London initiative to build new partnerships between research, industry and government - from fundamental science and engineering, systems thinking, human health, new business models, and policymaking - to realise our vision of a sustainable zero pollution future.

The initiative fosters systems-thinking, discovery science, transformational cross-disciplinary research, technology and innovation to create and translate holistic socio-technical solutions to pollution in all its forms, including carbon dioxide.





Pete Ford

Pete Ford
Office of the President


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