Guest Blog: Doing much more together on the EU’s low-carbon research priorities

06 Mar 2017

The European Energy Research Alliance (EERA) is a grouping of over 175 research centres across the continent. Adel El Gammal, recently appointed EERA Secretary General, outlines his vision for European cooperation in energy research.

I am the first Secretary General of the European Energy Research Alliance (EERA), and it is always a privilege to be the first in a position, as you generally contribute to define it.

EERA is the public research pillar of the EU’s Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET-Plan), focused on accelerating the development and market uptake of key low-carbon technologies. Through our Joint Programmes, EERA contributes to make sure that the billions of Euros invested in low carbon technologies each year are spent on the best possible solutions available.

I see EERA as perfectly positioned to bring forward fundamental contributions to the SET-Plan, provided our action is well coordinated, internally and with the other SET-Plan stakeholders, to deliver tangible value to the EU’s low carbon research community.

I see my role as an advocate for increased focus on EU-wide research regulatory frameworks that will effectively boost the EU's collective capabilities by sharing priorities, expertise, resources and infrastructures; but also, to ensure that EERA’s research activities are linked, in a research continuum, with industrial implementation and development.

I think that the position of Secretary General is central to this objective. I count on my management experience to successfully streamline EERA into an effective and forward looking organisation, effectively supporting its Joint Programmes, while leveraging my knowledge of the EU climate-energy framework to strengthen the voice of the low carbon energy research community and bring it higher up the EU political agenda.

I believe it is essential that EERA connects more closely with Member States’ decision-makers, who will be critical to catalyse a better alignment of research agendas at EU level towards meeting the SET-Plan objectives, which is the ultimate goal of EERA.

The consensual culture of EERA will be increasingly put under pressure, as we will address more critical political aspects and choices. This is inevitable in any association tackling political and economic issues that are increasingly at stake, especially when representing a huge community of diverse organisations across more than 25 countries. I anticipate this will progressively drive the need for more complex and formal governance structures and decision processes.

Adel El Gammal is a civil engineer with degrees from the Université Libre de Bruxelles, and the Institut européen d'administration des affaires (INSEAD). He welcomes contact from energy researchers; please email ( or phone (+32 475 67 68 05); or visit the EERA office in Brussels at 72, Rue de Namur.

UKERC is official representative for the UK in the EERA Joint Programmes. UKERC is currently operating on a business-as-usual basis with regard to EERA, but we have no information as to whether the UK will continue to participate after Brexit.