Professor Watson has a distinguished record of research and policy advice in the field of energy systems, and has served as specialist advisor to Parliamentary Select Committees in the fields of climate change, energy efficiency, electrical network developments, and energy supply security.

He has gained over 25 research awards in the last decade, and managed projects with broad collaborative groups from within the UK and also other countries, including India and China. He is also a previous Chair of the British Institute for Energy Economics, and holds a number of public and private sector advisory positions.

In his new position Professor Watson will be responsible for the leadership and overall coordination of UKERC's research programme, and ensuring delivery against its objectives, working closely with UKERC's researcher community and external stakeholders and partners. He will also play a key role in the definition of strategy, structure, and programmes for the anticipated future phase of UKERC beyond its current funding period which ends in 2014. He will take up the position on 1 February 2013.

The appointment follows a public call for applications which attracted responses from both the UK and internationally, and a selection process which involved UKERC Directors, the Research Councils, and an independent, the Chair of UKERC's Advisory Board.

Professor Watson said: "I am delighted to have the opportunity to become Research Director of UKERC, an organisation that has a strong and growing national and international reputation for policy relevant, interdisciplinary energy research. I look forward to working with the UKERC community to build on UKERC's achievements to date - and to successfully secure funding for a new phase of research beyond 2014."

John Loughhead, Executive Director of UKERC said: "We are all extremely pleased to have Jim move into this key position for UKERC. His research has already made a major contribution to our work, and his vision for the future will be the core of our planning. I look forward enormously to working closely with him."

David Delpy, Chief Executive of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) said: "The direction of energy research and policy over the coming years is going to be vitally important in addressing the UK's energy needs and the global challenges we face in the shape of climate change and sustainability. Jim Watson's role will be a pivotal one and EPSRC welcomes his appointment."

The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) manages the UKERC award on behalf of the Research Councils UK Energy Programme.

NERC Chief executive, Duncan Wingham, said: "The need to develop sustainable future energy systems that produce energy whilst reducing environmental impacts is high on the UK Government’s agenda.  Jim Watson is now ideally placed to drive forward the UKERC research agenda, examining and informing the UK policies which encourage investment in energy technologies and lead to job creation."

- Ends -

Notes to Editors:

For further information, please contact:
Lindsay Wright, Head of Communications, UK Energy Research Centre
020 7594 2669
Charlotte Knight, Communications Officer, UK Energy Research Centre
020 7594 1573

About the UK Energy Research Centre

The UK Energy Research Centre, which is funded by Research Councils UK, carries out world-class research into sustainable future energy systems. It is the hub of UK energy research and the gateway between the UK and the international energy research communities. Our interdisciplinary, whole-systems research informs UK policy development and research strategy

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