New science features and news site launched…..

A new website, ScienceOmega, aimed at showcasing high-quality scientific features and news has been launched and may be worth keeping an eye on.

It is boasting quite a list of contributors – Sir Patrick Moore, Executive Director of the Nobel Foundation Dr Lars Heikensten, Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Dr Hamadoun Touré, President of the United States’ Council for Chemical Research (CCR) Dr Seth Snyder, Chief Executive of the Society of Biology Dr Mark Downs.

It is aiming to cover a very wide range of disciplines. Science Omega says it “has one overarching goal; to communicate high-quality scientific content to the largest possible audience. It is paramount that Science Omega contains content that will interest the scientific community. However, science cannot afford to be elitist, and we are convinced that if we present material in a clear and engaging way, it will prove fascinating for scientists and non-scientists alike.”

UK Energy Research Centre Summer School 2012

The UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) have announced revised dates for it’s eighth annual Energy Summer School; from 17th June – 22nd June 2012, at the University of Warwick. There will be 100 places available for UK and international students.

The School has been specifically designed to give second year PhD students an understanding of energy systems as a whole and of pathways to low-carbon and resilient energy systems. This directly relates to international climate change issues and policies as students will become engaged in a mock United Nations style negotiations throughout the week in order to achieve a reduction in carbon emissions through the use of energy systems. This is a week-long course, which runs in parallel to UKERC’s Annual Assembly, and the course is professionally facilitated to provide continual support for participants, and includes a number of networking opportunities as well as social events.

Applications are invited from those engaged in energy-related research including technical, physical, social, economic, environmental and business aspects of energy and energy systems.

Nominations are open until 1700hrs (5pm) GMT Thursday, 8th March 2012. There is no charge for registered research students to attend the School; UKERC will provide accommodation and all meals and materials for activities. The School is conducted in English, and as it is highly interactive a good standard of comprehension and spoken English is essential.

The nomination form can be accessed from the UKERC website

Full information is available from the UK Energy Research Centre website at:

AEA report on micro-renewables in UK

AEA have released their latest reports tracking the progress of micro-generation across the UK. This year there is a separate report for Scotland even though the main report includes data from Scotland. However, this does highlight some very marked differences in micro generation north and south of the border.

The AEA Microgeneration Index provides analysis of the UK microgeneration sector’s and establishes how well Government incentives are working.

It covers the technologies included in the UK Feed-in Tariff (FIT) scheme, introduced in April 2010. The FIT scheme, together with the forthcoming Renewable Heat Incentive, has a major role to play in helping the UK make a successful transition to a low carbon economy.

The low carbon technologies supported by the FIT scheme include:

Solar photovoltaics (PV).
Anaerobic digestion (AD).
Domestic-scale micro combined heat and power (CHP) (up to and including 2 kWe – pilot for first 30,000 schemes).

AEA UK Microgeneration Index – Issue 4 (pdf)
AEA Microgeneration Scot 11 (pdf)

Link to AEA report webpage for further information

Commons inquiry into The Future of Marine Renewables in the UK

Announced 06 July 2011

The Energy and Climate Change Committee, chaired by Tim Yeo MP, is has launched an inquiry to investigate the potential for marine renewables to contribute towards the UK’s renewables and emissions targets. It seems to indicate this is related to the DECC announcement On 28 June 2011 that £20 million of funding would be used to support two projects to test prototypes in array formations.

The inquiry will assess the success of existing Government support and measures on marine renewables and investigate the potential impact of Government spending decisions on this area of low carbon technology.

The Committee invites submissions on marine renewables, in particular:

  • What are the potential benefits that marine renewables could bring to the UK and should Government be supporting the development of these particular technologies?
  • How effective have existing Government policies and initiatives on marine renewables been in supporting the development and deployment of these technologies?
  • What lessons can be learnt from experiences within the UK and from other countries to date in supporting the development and deployment of marine renewables?
  • Is publicly provided innovation funding necessary for the development of marine technologies and if so, why?
  • What non-financial barriers are there to the development of marine renewables?
  • To what extent is the supply chain for marine renewables based in the UK and how does Government policy affect the development of these industries?
  • What approach should Government take to supporting marine renewables in the future?
  • Are there any other issues relating to the future of marine renewables in the UK that you think the Committee should be aware of?
  • Written evidence is invited from interested parties. The deadline for the submission of written evidence is Thursday 8 September. Written evidence should be in Word or rich text format-please do not use PDF format-and sent by e-mail to

    Full announcement a details of rules regarding submissions on the House of Commons website