The Centre was established following a recommendation made by the Chief Scientific Advisor’s Energy Research Review Group’s 2002 report. Broadly, the report recommended setting up a new Energy Research Centre to:
- Bring together Government, industry and academia
- Be a networking centre to co-ordinate UK research, facilitate industry collaboration and promote UK participation in international projects
- Be a centre of excellence in its own right
- Help maximise returns from research investment and leverage private sector funds
Funding for the Centre was allocated in the 2002 Spending Review.
In 2003/2004, under the Towards a Sustainable Economy (TSEC) programme, the UK Research Councils invited bids to run the Centre. Submissions were received from three consortia of academic institutions lead by Imperial College London, the Kelvin Consortium (comprising several institutions including Manchester University, the Science and Technology Research Council (at the time known as CCLRC), the New and Renewable Energy Centre and the University of Oxford.
On the advice of its Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC), the Research Councils decided to bring the strengths of each of the bids together and asked Professor Jim Skea to work with members of the three consortia, and other participants, to forge a research programme to fulfil the vision for the Centre.
The Research Councils accepted the new proposal and activities started in October 2004. Professor Jim Skea assumed the role of Research Director in July 2004; John Loughhead was appointed as Executive Director in November 2004.