Become a hydrogen research coordinator

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Apply for funding to become a hydrogen research coordinator.

Coordinators will:

  • network within their research community
  • build a multidisciplinary consortium
  • develop a forward research programme for a potential future research centre.

You must be a UK-based researcher employed by an eligible research organisation.

Holders of postdoctoral fellowships are not eligible to apply.

The full economic cost of your project can be up to £437,500. We will fund 80% of the full economic cost.

Projects will last six months and must begin on 1 April 2022.

Who can apply

Standard EPSRC eligibility rules apply. Research grants are open to:

  • UK higher education institutions
  • research council institutes
  • UKRI-approved independent research organisations
  • eligible public sector research establishments
  • NHS bodies with research capacity.

Read the guidance on institutional eligibility.

You can apply if you are a resident in the UK and meet at least one of the bullets below:

  • are employed at the submitting research organisation at a level equivalent to lecturer or above
  • hold a fixed-term contract that extends beyond the duration of the proposed project, and the host research organisation is prepared to give you all the support normal for a permanent employee
  • hold an EPSRC, Royal Society or Royal Academy of Engineering fellowship aimed at later career stages
  • hold fellowships under other schemes (please contact EPSRC to check eligibility, which is considered on a case-by-case basis).

Applicants may apply to be the principal investigator on one coordinator bid only.

Applicants may be listed as a co-investigator on another bid.

Holders of postdoctoral level fellowships are not eligible to apply for an EPSRC grant.

The coordinators will be expected to engage with researchers, policy and businesses and across the UK and where appropriate, overseas.

Submissions to this call will count towards the EPSRC Repeatedly Unsuccessful Applicants Policy.

What we're looking for

Scope

Hydrogen and hydrogen-based, low-carbon liquid fuels (such as ammonia) are essential for the UK to reach net-zero greenhouse gases by 2050. There is growing consensus of its role in the deep decarbonisation of all sectors of the UK economy, and is exemplified by the publication of the UK hydrogen strategy.

We are looking to fund two hydrogen research coordinators, one in each of the two following areas:

  • Coordinator for research challenges in hydrogen and alternative liquid fuels
  • Coordinator for systems integration of hydrogen and alternative liquid fuels.

Alternative liquid fuels are defined as fuels that are specifically used as hydrogen carriers such as ammonia.

For the purpose of this funding opportunity, the two areas highlighted can be defined as below.

Research challenges in hydrogen and alternative liquid fuels

The coordinator for this area should look to create a consortium and research plan which will tackle research challenges that underpin the hydrogen production, storage and distribution parts of the hydrogen value chain. They may also seek to address issues that will impact upon the hydrogen end-use sectors. These may include, but are not limited to, challenges associated with:

  • lowering costs of hydrogen technologies
  • increasing efficiencies of technological systems
  • materials science and engineering
  • hydrogen safety.

Systems integration of hydrogen and alternative liquid fuels

Integration can be taken to mean integration within whole energy systems that can include:

  • international settings
  • whole systems integration across technologies
  • technology coupling requirements
  • trade-off analysis across technology options
  • whole systems.

The coordinator should take a view across all aspects of hydrogen integration, these may include, but are not limited to challenges associated with:

  • trade-offs associated with hydrogen integration
  • integration across sectors and across the whole energy system
  • technological requirements
  • emissions throughout the hydrogen value chain.

The hydrogen research coordinators opportunity is the first of a potential two-stage process designed to fund two multidisciplinary research programmes, which currently do not exist at the scale required to accelerate the development of hydrogen and alternative fuels and their whole systems integration in the UK.

The second stage is subject to EPSRC securing future funding and the identified programme requirements.

This opportunity, the first stage, will provide up to £350,000 of funding for each hydrogen research coordinator for six months with a fixed start date of 1 April 2022.

This stage is aimed at identifying two coordinators who will use the funding awarded to network within their research community to act as thought leaders, ambassadors and consensus builders. They will develop the forward research agenda and build a multidisciplinary consortium for these potential research centres.

The consortiums will take account of the opportunities, risks and latest policy considerations in respect of the UK’s long-term position in hydrogen.

Only the successful hydrogen research coordinators will be invited to submit to the potential second stage as principal investigators for either the Centre for Research Challenges in Hydrogen and Alternative Liquid Fuels or the Centre for Systems Integration of Hydrogen and Alternative Liquid Fuels.

In any future activity, it is expected that the coordinators will have a key role in leading and driving the transfer of knowledge between academia, industry and policymakers. EPSRC will work with the appointed coordinators to manage this process and any future funding activity, subject to future funding, to follow this opportunity.

Role of the coordinator

The coordinator role will be to:

  • explore and establish not only the technical, technological and scientific advances, but also the social, behavioural, ethical, environmental, economic, legal and regulatory understanding required to support successful transition to hydrogen
  • partner with academic, industry and government organisations to define and achieve a shared vision of the agenda in this space
  • coordinate networking activity to ensure excellence is engaged from across disciplines
  • engage with academics, industry, policymakers and other stakeholders to develop a multidisciplinary consortium
  • engage with the projects supported through the research project call to maximise impact from both calls
  • provide leadership and coordination across the wider landscape
  • identify and understand the research challenges of the relevant area and to develop the agenda for the potential future activity in this space considering the wider international landscape
  • provide advice and recommendations to EPSRC.

The role is not solely about research facilitation and driving coordination, but is also outward facing in terms of engagement with stakeholders and understanding the political as well as research landscape. This could be through running a number of workshops and activities to coordinate to bring these communities together in an immersive way.

This award will also provide funds to build a multidisciplinary consortium and subsequently maintain the momentum once the centre proposals have been submitted.

The award can be used to fund:

  • principal investigator time
  • co-investigator time for up to two co-investigators
  • networking activities
  • workshops
  • travel
  • general administrative support during this period.

Only the successful hydrogen research coordinators will be invited to submit to the potential second stage as principal investigators, with significant input and support from the wider community, for either the Centre for Research Challenges in Hydrogen and Alternative Liquid Fuels or the Centre for Systems Integration of Hydrogen and Alternative Liquid Fuels as outlined below.

This opportunity is subject to securing additional future funding.

Information on the potential research centres

Centre of Excellence in Hydrogen and Alternative Liquid Fuels, led by the coordinator for research challenges in hydrogen and alternative vectors

This centre will discover and develop cross-cutting solutions to the cross-sector challenges relating to hydrogen and hydrogen-based low carbon liquid fuels. Examples include, but are not limited to challenges such as:

  • cost
  • green hydrogen production
  • production of low carbon liquid forms of hydrogen
  • hydrogen storage
  • materials
  • utilisation
  • safety
  • public perception and engagement.

It will operate as a hub for UK hydrogen research, collaborating with, informing and being informed by research conducted in sector-focused research delivered through other parts of our programmes including industry, transport, heating, agriculture and the built environment. Specific research challenges that the centre is expected to address include:

  • how do we significantly lower the cost of producing low carbon hydrogen at a range of scales
  • how do we best use hydrogen to decarbonise both the domestic and industrial sectors
  • where does hydrogen have the most impact in the UK economy, and how do we realise that benefit
  • how do we best use hydrogen to decarbonise the transport sector
  • what is the potential for green ammonia to help decarbonise agriculture
  • how do we best use hydrogen to support decarbonisation of the power sector
  • how do we best support the implementation of hydrogen in the energy system?

Centre for Integration of Hydrogen and Alternative Liquid Fuels, led by the coordinator for systems integration of hydrogen and alternative liquid fuels

This centre will take a view across all aspects of hydrogen across technologies, sectors and the whole energy system to understand how best to integrate hydrogen in the whole energy system, necessary trade-offs and technology coupling requirements to allow the full potential of hydrogen, as part of a decarbonised energy system, to be realised.

It will also allow assessment of hydrogen as a technology option from fuels for hydrogen production and the impacts of hydrogen on our world.

Specific research challenges that will be addressed by the centre include:

  • what are the trade-offs for end-use of hydrogen
  • what are the trade-offs between energy vectors
  • how can we integrate hydrogen use across sectors and across the whole energy system
  • what are the technology coupling requirements for hydrogen in a decarbonised future and how do we achieve them
  • what are the emissions associated with all parts of the hydrogen value chain?

The coordinators should also engage with the interdisciplinary community, across arts and humanities, biological, engineering, environmental, physical and social sciences, to identify key challenges, barriers and opportunities for coordinated activity.

The two coordinators are expected to work together, in partnership, to enable alignment and complementarity of the respective centre activities, ensuring facilitation of knowledge exchange to secure maximum impact from both centres.

The centres are expected to align and work together. The centres may share some aspects and membership of governance and management which reflects the anticipated cross-centre working and associated researchers.

Alongside this call, EPSRC has launched an opportunity for research proposals as part of the ‘production and integration of zero emission hydrogen’ opportunity. These will create a platform of research on which the coordinators will be able to build.

The coordinators are required to engage the recipients of the ‘production and integration of zero emission hydrogen research’ opportunity to inform the development of the potential centres.

Please note, however, that no commitment has been made to provide follow-on funding for projects funded as part of the hydrogen research opportunity through the hydrogen research coordinator centre development. This is subject to the identified programme requirements and securing future funding.

The potential centres will work in partnership, tackling cross-sectoral issues and providing postgraduate training to deliver the next generation of net zero research and innovation leaders.

The centres will act as a central focus point for collaboration with both existing and future hydrogen use sector research investments including our co-designed applied industry research programmes and other relevant programmes in the UK hydrogen research and innovation landscape.

This will ensure effective two-way engagement, and information and knowledge exchange between all related investments and centres to accelerate research and development.

The coordinators, and the potential centres, will be expected to engage with examples such as those listed below (not an exhaustive list):

  • EPSRC hydrogen transport NetworkPlus
  • EPSRC heating and cooling investments
  • relevant supergen hubs
  • Green ammonia demonstrator
  • UKERC
  • CESI
  • CREDS
  • The Department for Transport Tees Valley Multi-Modal Hydrogen Transport Hub
    Industrial Decarbonisation Research and Innovation Centre (IDRIC)
  • projects funded through the production and integration of zero emission hydrogen research opportunity
  • relevant investments across the social, economic and environmental sciences.

They are also expected to engage with any other relevant investments made by UKRI, including hydrogen innovation investments funded by Innovate UK.

They will also act as an international flagship and a focal point to demonstrate the UK’s leadership role in mitigating climate change through net zero.

Funding available

A grant for up to £350,000 is available from EPSRC for a period of up to six months for each coordinator. This grant must start on 1 April 2022 and end no later than 30 September 2022.

The funding can be used for the following:

  • principal investigator time
  • co-investigator time for no more than two named co-investigators.
  • administrative support
  • project management support
  • professional facilitator costs for workshops
  • research associates (RAs) salary to support workshops and other activities
  • travel, networking and venues.

The funding of equipment is not available through this opportunity.

We do not expect this role to be full time. It is for the applicant to assess how much time they could reasonably commit to this role balanced alongside their other responsibilities, to recognise the strategic, high-profile nature of this role and the anticipated level of commitment required to develop the consortia and centres.

Regardless of the time requested, applicants should be prepared to justify the time committed to the role.

Co-investigators are expected to bring additional and complementary skills, knowledge and experience to the principal investigator. The applicants should seek to describe how the balance of skills within the named team will bring additionality to the proposal.

Read more information on our approach to equipment funding.

How to apply

Applicants should ensure they are aware of and comply with any internal institutional deadlines that may be in place. You should prepare and submit your proposal using the research councils’ Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S) system.

How to use Je-S

When adding a new proposal, you should go to documents, select ‘new document’, then select:

  • ‘create new document’
  • council: ‘EPSRC’
  • document type: ‘standard proposal’
  • scheme: ‘standard’
  • ‘Hydrogen Research Coordinators’ call on the project details page.

After completing the application, you must ‘submit document’ which will send your application to your host organisation’s administration. Your host organisation’s administration is required to complete the submission process.

Applicants should allow sufficient time for your organisation’s submission process between submitting your proposal to them and the opportunity closing date

EPSRC must receive your application by 16:00 on 30 November 2021.

Applicants should make clear which role they are applying to by using the appropriate prefix in the title of their grant application.

Please start your grant title with the below to indicate which role you are applying to:

  • coordinator for research challenges
  • coordinator for systems integration.

Documentation

As well as the Je-S application form, the following documents must be submitted.

You should attach your documents as PDFs to avoid errors. They should be completed in single-spaced Arial 11 font or similar-sized sans serif typeface.

Case for support

Up to a maximum of 10 pages A4.

One side of A4 outlining your vision for the respective coordinator role.

Two sides of A4 for track record, highlighting the skills, expertise and experience of the applicant or applicants as relevant to the programme. This may include examples of prior successes and lessons learnt from running complex or multidisciplinary projects.

Seven pages of A4 to include:

  • why the applicant or applicants want the coordinator role and what you will bring to it
  • how the applicant or applicants will lead and develop a multidisciplinary consortium for developing a potential future research centre, whilst engaging with the diverse community (including researchers, industry, policymakers and users) in doing so
  • details on how equality, diversity and inclusion, and responsible research and innovation, will be integrated at the core of the proposed work
  • how much time the principal investigator and potential co-investigators expect to commit to the role and how they will manage existing commitments to undertake this
  • clear demonstrable links to stakeholders within the hydrogen community
  • how emerging developments and changes in the hydrogen landscape would be addressed
  • a description of the proposed plan of work for the six months and its context.

Workplan

One side of A4.

The work programme should be illustrated with a simple diagrammatic work plan, such as a programme evaluation and review technique (PERT) or Gantt chart.

Justification of resources

Up to two sides of A4. A narrative description of the need for the resources requested.

Please ensure you justify all of the resources you request.

CVs

Up to two sides of A4 each for:

  • named postdoctoral staff
  • researcher co-investigators (research assistants who have made a substantial contribution to the proposal and will be employed on the project for a significant amount of time).
  • visiting researchers.

Project partner letters of support (optional)

No page limit.

Project partner letters of support are not expected at this stage. However, applicants may include letters if inclusion of a partner is integral to an applicant’s plans and the letter is necessary to demonstrate the project partner’s commitment to delivering the aims of the proposal.

If included, project partner letters of support must be signed, dated (no more than six months before the call closing date) and on letterheaded paper.

Host organisation letter of support

Up to two sides of A4.

A senior leader within your organisation (such as head of department or pro-vice chancellor) must complete a statement in support of the application.

The statement should be on headed paper, signed, dated within six months of submission, and should state clearly the position held by the author. Note for co-investigators from other institutions, a host organisation statement is required from all institutions involved.

The statement should highlight the applicants key characteristics and skills which the institution feels highlights the applicant’s ability to lead in this role.

The statement should highlight the level of support that the host institution will be giving the applicant, specific to the development of the coordinator role and potential centre.

As it is expected that a successful coordinator will be the principal investigator of any potential centre (subject to additional funding and peer review), the host organisation should demonstrate its support for both this initial application and the coordinator potentially hosting the future centre.

Proposal cover letter (optional)

Up to two sides of A4.

This letter will only be seen internally by UKRI

Applicants can express any other information they feel is relevant to their application.

Read advice on writing proposals.

Ethical information section

EPSRC will not fund a project if it believes that there are ethical concerns that have been overlooked or not appropriately accounted for. All relevant parts of the ethical information section must be completed.

Read further guidance on completing the Je-S form. EPSRC guidance can be found under ‘additional information’.

How we will assess your application

Assessment process

Any proposals that do not fit the remit of the opportunity will be rejected prior to assessment. Applications that do not make clear which coordinator role they are applying to in the grant title will also be rejected prior to assessment.

This opportunity will use a two-stage assessment process.

Applications will not be assessed by postal peer review.
In the event of this opportunity being substantially oversubscribed as to be unmanageable, EPSRC reserve the right to modify the assessment process.

Stage one: sift panel

An expert panel will rank the proposals based on the assessment criteria. EPSRC will decide, based on the advice of the expert panel, which applications to invite forward to the interview stage for each coordinator role.

For the successful candidates, the panel will identify areas based on the sift panel assessment criteria which should be probed further at the interview stage, in addition to the interview assessment criteria. This will be shared with the applicants and they will be given an opportunity to respond at the interview stage.

No feedback will be provided to unsuccessful applicants from the sift panel.

Stage two: interview panel

Successful applicants from the stage one sift panel will be invited to an interview by an independent panel of experts in late January to early February 2022.

Full details of the interview process will be sent to candidates before the interviews. The interview will assess the applicants against the assessment criteria detailed below.

The panel will be invited to produce specific questions based on the proposal
documents, which applicants can consider ahead of the interview. These will only
form a small proportion of the questions which will be asked within the interview
and applicants should be prepared to answer additional questions specific to the
proposal documents and related to the assessment criteria listed within this
document.

Applicants will receive any questions that the panel have identified
ahead of time.

The proposals and interview will be assessed by the expert panel to generate a rank ordered list, taking into consideration the assessment criteria below. EPSRC will make a final decision on who will be invited to be a coordinator, based on the recommendation of the panel.

All applicants interviewed will be given feedback from the panel on their proposal. Unsuccessful applicants are encouraged to engage with the successful coordinators to form part of the wider hydrogen research centre teams and would be eligible to apply as co-investigators.

Feedback for successful coordinator candidate

Following the expert panel, feedback will be provided to the successful coordinators. The coordinators will be expected to take this feedback into account and work closely with EPSRC when building a consortium and proposal for the potential future centre.

Assessment criteria

Stage one: sift panel

The expert panel will assess the full applications by assessing the case for support against the criteria detailed below. EPSRC will sift applications based on the panel recommendation at this stage. Applications that do not make clear which coordinator role they are applying to in the grant title will be rejected prior to the sift meeting panel.

Quality (primary)

The research excellence, making reference to:

  • convincing evidence of how the applicant will approach and achieve high quality, inclusive stakeholder engagement across a breadth of sectors and research interests
  • plans to build a multidisciplinary consortium with consideration for equality, diversity and inclusion
  • plans to build a multidisciplinary programme of hydrogen research relevant to the coordinator role to which they are applying
  • a clear vision for how the planned programme will work across the hydrogen research landscape, including overlap with the other coordinators landscape, to ensure cohesion of activities
  • a high-quality proposed programme of networking and engagement activities across academia, industry, government and other relevant stakeholders
  • a clear understanding of the interdisciplinary research and innovation needed to form a cohesive programme, and address the programme objectives and delivery of improved outcomes.

National importance (secondary major)

Including:

  • contributes to, or helps maintain the health of other disciplines, contributes to addressing key UK societal challenges and contributes to future UK economic success and development of emerging industries
  • meets national needs by establishing and maintaining a unique world-leading activity
  • complements other UK research funded in the area, including any relationship to the EPSRC portfolio.

Applicants and partnerships (secondary)

The ability to deliver the proposed project, making reference to:

  • appropriateness of the track record of the applicant(s) giving evidence of a profile within the research community for research excellence
  • balance of skills of the project team, including, if appropriate, the added value co-investigators bring and why this is better than a single coordinator
  • plans for engaging the broader landscape of hydrogen research
  • plan for engaging in the political hydrogen landscape.

Resources and management (secondary)

The effectiveness of the proposed planning and management and whether the requested resources are appropriate and have been fully justified, making reference to:

  • effectiveness of planning and resource management to support community building
  • appropriateness of resources requested
  • how equality, diversity and inclusion, and responsible research and innovation, have been prioritised, and incorporated within the programme of work
  • demonstration by the host institute(s) as to how they will support the applicants during this initial grant, and for the lifetime of the centre, if subsequently funded.

Stage two: interview panel

Stage two is an expert interview panel and will provide the applicants with the opportunity to respond to any questions or queries raised by the sift panel and will assess the applicants against the equally weighted criteria detailed below.

Community ambassador

The applicant or applicants must:

  • demonstrate a profile within the relevant hydrogen community and their ability to act as a figurehead within this community
  • demonstrate how they would act as an ambassador and advocate for hydrogen research in general, including advocating for equality, diversity and inclusion in the hydrogen community
  • articulate who will benefit from the six months of planned activities
  • provide evidence of leading and managing interdisciplinary research, delivering demonstrable impact and translating research outputs to users (for example to industry, the innovation infrastructure, third sector or HM government), at both the national and international level.

Thought leadership

The applicant or applicants must:

  • demonstrate that they are mindful of the current research landscape beyond their own particular research focus area, including areas of potential cross-over relating to the other coordinator role
  • show evidence that they are able to assemble key information across disciplines to build a compelling narrative and communicate this, effectively, to the right stakeholders at the right time
  • be able to demonstrate how they have given advice to or influenced hydrogen users of the research and policymakers.

Inspirational team and team leader

The applicant or applicants must:

  • evidence their ability to guide and inspire their team and others and to identify and maximise potential in others (get the best out of people)
  • describe how they would involve and support early career researchers as part of the activity
  • describe how they will provide a supportive environment to all from an equality, diversity and inclusion perspective.

Strategic vision

The applicant or applicants must:

  • be a strategic thinker who is focused on ensuring the interdisciplinary research achieves maximum impact, and has considered the pathways to achieve this impact
  • demonstrate an aptitude for identifying, exploring and developing research opportunities more broadly and across different interfaces
  • demonstrate where they have positioned themselves to take up opportunities and have the ability to make decisions, responding to new and emerging issues throughout the duration of the award, to deliver their vision.

Contact details

Get help with your proposal

For help and advice on costings and writing your proposal please contact your research office in the first instance, allowing sufficient time for your organisation’s submission process.

Ask a question about this opportunity

Dr James Tarver
Email: James.Tarver@epsrc.ukri.org
Telephone: 07395 798 806

The Energy Team
Email: energy@epsrc.ukri.org

Ask about peer review

Energy peer review
Email: energypeerreview@epsrc.ukri.org

Get help with Je-S

Any queries regarding the submission of proposals through Je-S should be directed to the Je-S helpdesk.

Email: jeshelp@je-s.ukri.org
Telephone: 01793 444164

Opening times:

  • Monday to Thursday 8:30 to 17:00
  • Fridays 8:30 to 16:30
  • closed on weekends, bank holidays and other holidays.

Additional info

Background

Hydrogen and hydrogen-based, low-carbon liquid fuels (such as ammonia) are essential for the UK to reach net-zero greenhouse gases by 2050. There is growing consensus of its role in the deep decarbonisation of all sectors of the UK economy, and is exemplified by the publication of the UK hydrogen strategy.

Convergence of UK academic strength, policy need, technology maturity and business readiness in the UK means the time is ripe to secure significant global leadership and secure hydrogen as a component of our future net-zero energy system, utilising the technology to contribute to our decarbonisation commitments.

The report (June 2019) from the Committee for Climate Change states: ‘The UK should set and vigorously pursue an ambitious target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) to ‘net zero’ by 2050, ending the UK’s contribution to global warming within 30 years.’

It acknowledges “This target is only credible if policy to reduce emissions ramps up significantly”. This will require adoption of gas and liquid energy forms to meet energy needs that cannot be met through electrification across multiple sectors, and hydrogen in particular is highlighted by the report.

In June 2019, the UK became the first major economy in the world to pass laws to end its contribution to global warming by 2050.

In any future scenario three things will be critical

  • the UK’s future energy system must include extensive electrification to enable a widespread transition to clean energy sources
  • solutions that decarbonise energy needs that cannot be readily met through electrification that rely on gas or liquid fuels (for example industrial processes and domestic heating)
  • the ability to capture, store and utilise CO2 from essential processes that cannot be decarbonised.

Growth of a new hydrogen economy is required as a solution for our energy needs that are not readily compatible with electrification. Hydrogen can be used as fuel for heat, fuel for transport, as a form of energy storage, a feedstock into industrial processes and could be distributed with only minor modifications to current gas infrastructures. As an alternative fuel it will also increase the resilience of the UK’s energy system.

A three-pronged approach to hydrogen and its alternative fuels is essential to:

  • discover solutions to the problems we cannot yet solve
  • develop those solutions that we have discovered but are not yet ready for deployment
  • deploy those solutions that are ready, whilst researching solutions to the challenges that emerge during deployment.

Independent evidence and validation for investing in hydrogen

The following independent evidence and validation make the case for UK investment now.

Hydrogen is identified as one of the three pathways to 2050 being presented in the UK’s Clean Growth Strategy, with a potential hydrogen demand of roughly 700 TWh by 2050.

The Royal Society published a policy briefing on green hydrogen production in 2018, in response to the UK government’s request to assess the different technological options of large-scale hydrogen production and their economic viabilities. It highlights that hydrogen has the potential to decarbonise domestic industry, transport and heat.

The recent EU Hydrogen Strategy (2020), published alongside the EU Strategy for Energy System Integration, recognises that these sectors (domestic, industry, transport and heat) are the lead markets for hydrogen production.

Although it also has the potential to contribute to wider sectors, for example through its use in land transport or as a feedstock for chemical production such as ammonia, methanol and kerosene for the shipping, agriculture, steel and aviation sectors respectively.

The demand for hydrogen in the energy sector will grow substantially towards 2050, provided hydrogen, fuel cell technologies, environmental regulations, effective policies and new business models are in place.

The Secretary of State at the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has set out the UK’s capacity to support both green and blue hydrogen production. This twin track approach is set out in the UK hydrogen strategy.

It is recognised that we will need to build blue capacity now while developing capacity for deployment of green hydrogen in the longer term. This opportunity solely focuses on the ‘green’ or non-greenhouse gas emitting methods of hydrogen production related to this twin-track approach.

Hydrogen is a cross-cutting low-carbon form of energy, whose benefits are best realised when looking both within and across sectors noting that innovations in one part of the value chain (for example end-use technologies) have implications for the rest of the chain, implying the need for an integrated approach.

UKRI’s investment in hydrogen

To date, UKRI has invested in hydrogen primarily through the Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Supergen Hub (H2FC).

The hub has been instrumental in addressing key challenges facing the hydrogen and fuel cell sector and thus has provided the necessary platform and focus for the development of potential subsequent hydrogen research centres which will be able to support the community at the necessary scale to help the UK reach its net-zero emissions targets by 2050.

The UKRI Energy Programme has identified hydrogen as a priority and sees huge opportunity in investment at scale to support the growth of a new hydrogen economy in the UK through a coordinated national effort.

EPSRC will invest in two hydrogen coordinators who will design an integrated, ambitious research and innovation programme working across the hydrogen value chain and its major use sectors in partnership with business.

Responsible innovation

EPSRC is fully committed to develop and promote responsible innovation. Research has the ability to not only produce understanding, knowledge and value, but also unintended consequences, questions, ethical dilemmas and, at times, unexpected social transformations.

We recognise that we have a duty of care to promote approaches to responsible innovation that will initiate ongoing reflection about the potential ethical and societal implications of the research that we sponsor and to encourage our research community to do likewise. Therefore applicants are expected to work within the EPSRC Framework for Responsible Innovation.

Applicants planning to include international collaborators on their proposal should visit Trusted Research for information and advice on how to get the most out of international collaboration whilst protecting intellectual property, sensitive research and personal information.

Supporting documents

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