UKERC Directors

UKERC comprises over 200 researchers based across the UK at over 30 Universities and Institutions. Scroll down for information on each of our directors, theme leaders and function managers.

Professor John Loughhead FREng FCGI OBE, UKERC Executive Director


Before joining UKERC, John was Corporate Vice-President of Technology and Intellectual Property at Alstom's head office in Paris.

He is a graduate in Mechanical Engineering from Imperial College, London, where he also spent five years in computational fluid dynamics research. His professional career has been predominantly in industrial research and development for the electronics and electrical power industries, including advanced, high power industrial gas turbines, new energy conversion systems, spacecraft thermal management, electrical and materials development for electricity generation and transmission equipment, and electronic control systems.

For several years he has been extensively involved in national and European public sector technology programmes, as a member of various advisory committees and chair of policy reviews in the area of future energy systems. He is the UK member of the European Energy Research Alliance, a member of the European Advisory Group on Energy, and Advisor to the European Commission Directorate-General Research, Assessor for the Technology Strategy Board, Non-Executive Director of the Ministry of Defence Research & Development Board, and a member of the UK's Energy Research Partnership. He was also Co-Chair of the Implementation Panel of the EC Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology Platform, which produced the future plan for European fuel cell commercialisation, and is currently Co-Chair of the Implementation Committee of the International Partnership for the Hydrogen Economy. He was previously a member of EPSRC Council.

John is a Chartered Engineer, a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, a Fellow and Past-President (2008) of the Institution of Engineering and Technology, and Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, the City & Guilds of London Institute, and the Royal Society of Arts. He is Honorary Professor of Cardiff University, Honorary Fellow of Queen Mary University of London, and a Freeman of the City of London.

Professor Jim Watson, UKERC Research Director

Jim Watson is Professor of Energy Policy at SPRU, University of Sussex, and joined UKERC as Research Director in February 2013. He was previously Director of the Sussex Energy Group at the University of Sussex from Dec 2008 to Jan 2013.

Jim trained as an engineer at Imperial College London and has a PhD in science and technology policy from Sussex. He has 20 years' research experience on a range of energy, climate change and innovation policy issues. His recent outputs include a co-edited book: New Challenges in Energy Security: The UK in a multipolar world (Palgrave, 2013) and co-authoring UKERC's reports: Energy Strategies under Uncertainty and UK Energy in a Global Context (2014).

He frequently advises UK government departments and other organisations. He was an advisor to the Government Office for Science for a Foresight project on energy (2007-08), and has been a Specialist Adviser with House of Commons Committees on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (2006-09) and Energy and Climate Change (2010-11). He has extensive international experience, including over ten years working on energy scenarios and energy innovation policies in China and India. In 2008, he spent three months as a Visiting Scholar at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

Jim is a Council Member of the British Institute for Energy Economics, and was its chair in 2011. He is also a member of the advisory boards of several research and policy organisations including DECC and Defra's social science expert panel, Carbon Connect, the Low Carbon Research Institute and the ESRC network plus on the social science of the nexus.

Professor Paul Ekins, UKERC Deputy Director

Paul has been Professor of Resources and Environmental Policy at UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources, of which he is also Director, since 2011, having previously held similar positions at UCL Energy Institute and King's College London; and before that he was Head of the Environment Group at the Policy Studies Institute and Professor of Sustainable Development at the University of Westminster.

He was a member of the UK Government's Sustainable Energy Policy Advisory Board from 2003-2007. He was also a specialist adviser to the Environmental Audit Committee of the House of Commons (1997-2005), a specialist adviser to the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Climate Change Bill in 2007, and a Member of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution (2002-2008). His academic work focuses on the conditions and policies for achieving an environmentally sustainable economy.

In addition to the literature about sustainable energy and energy policy, Paul has made contributions in many areas relating to sustainable development and environmental policy more broadly, including the conceptualisation and measurement of environmental sustainability, the adjustment of the national accounts to take account of environmental impacts, environmental taxes and ecological tax reform, and environment and trade. He also has had extensive experience consulting for business, government and international organisations.

He is the author of numerous papers, book-chapters and articles, and has written or edited twelve books, two of the most recent of which are Energy 2050: the Transition to a Secure, Low-Carbon Energy System for the UK (Earthscan, London, 2011) and Global Energy: Issues, Potentials and Policy Implications (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2014 forthcoming). In 1994 Paul Ekins received a Global 500 Award 'for outstanding environmental achievement' from the United Nations Environment Programme.

Paul has a PhD in economics from the University of London.

Professor Keith Bell, UKERC Co-Director

Keith Bell is the ScottishPower Professor of Smart Grids at the University of Strathclyde. He joined the University in 2005 having previously worked as an electrical engineering researcher in Bath, Manchester and Naples, and as a system development engineer in the electricity supply industry in Britain.

He is an invited expert member of CIGRE Study Committee C1 on System Development and Economics, Vice-Chair of the Technical Programme Committee of the 18th Power Systems Computation Conference (PSCC 2014) and a member of the Council of the IET Power Academy, an initiative to promote electric power engineering as a graduate career in the UK.

He is a Chartered Engineer and has advised the Scottish Government, the Republic of Ireland government, the Northern Ireland Executive, Ofgem and the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change on electrical energy and power systems issues.

He is involved in the Centres for Doctoral Training on Wind Energy Systems and on Future Power Networks at the University of Strathclyde and has collaborated on research with a number of companies and research institutes around Europe and in the US.

Professor John Barrett, UKERC Co-Director

John Barrett is a Professor in Ecological Economics at the Sustainability Research Institute (SRI), University of Leeds. John's research interests include sustainable consumption and production (SCP) modelling, carbon accounting and exploring the transition to a low carbon pathway. John has an extensive knowledge of the use of Multi-Regional Environmental Input-Output modelling to understand the effectiveness of strategies and policies to deliver a low carbon economy. These key areas of research have involved the building of global trade models to understand the embodied carbon emissions in goods and services and estimating the upstream carbon emissions from emerging energy technologies.

John leads one of the research themes for UKERC on “Energy, Economy and Society” that examines interactions between the UK energy system and the UK economy and examines the potential implications on policies, markets and prices and affordability. As well as his role in UKERC, John is also the co-director of the UK INDEMAND Centre. The centre, funded jointly by the UK’s Energy Programme, Government departments and industry partners, considers how changing our use of materials and products can deliver substantial energy demand reduction in the UK.

John has advised or supported a number of government departments including DECC, Defra and the CCC. John provides the UK Government with one of their headline indicators, the Consumption-based GHG emissions of the UK. John was one of the lead advisors to Defra in relation to the development of PAS2050. John was a lead author for the IPCC 5th Assessment for Working Group III. John has appeared regularly on Radio 4 news and discussion programmes and written numerous academic papers and policy reports on economy / energy / environment issues. John is also a member of Climate Strategies, a not-for-profit organisation that provides world-class, independent policy and economic research input to European and international climate policy.

Dr Nick Eyre, UKERC Co-Director

Nick leads the Lower Carbon Futures Programme at the Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford, and is a Jackson Senior Research Fellow at Oriel College, Oxford.

Nick has worked on energy, environment and climate issues for 30 years and was a lead author on the Fifth Assessment Report of the IPCC published in April 2014. He authored the first report on how the Government's 2010 20% carbon emission reduction target might be delivered and the European Commission report used as the basis for the UK Government's first estimate of the social cost of carbon.
Nick is a member of Ofgem's Sustainable Development Advisory Group.  He is a Fellow of the Energy Institute and a member of the Energy Policy Panel of the Institution of Engineering and Technology. Previously he worked at the Energy Saving Trust from 1999 to 2007 as Director of Strategy. In 2001, Nick was seconded to the Cabinet Office, Performance and Innovation Unit, where he was a co-author of the Government's Review of Energy Policy, leading the work streams on energy efficiency and long term energy scenarios. He teaches on the University of Oxford MSc programme on Environmental Change and Management.
Dr Robert Gross, UKERC Co-Director

Dr Robert Gross is Senior Lecturer in Energy Policy at Imperial College London and the Director of Imperial's Centre for Energy Policy and Technology, ICEPT. He convenes Imperial's MSc in Environmental Technology, Energy Policy option.

Robert has contributed to policy development in the UK for many years, for example co-authoring the 2002 Energy Review and 2004 Renewables Innovation Review. In 2008 he acted as Specialist Advisor to the House of Lords Committee on the European Union enquiry into the feasibility of the 2020 targets for renewable energy. He has published widely on energy policy, with a focus on support for innovation, renewable energy and energy system change.

Robert has a PhD in Energy and Environment Policy and Technology and an MSc in Environmental Technology, both from Imperial College.

Dr Jim Halliday, UKERC Co-Director, leading the Research Atlas Function

Dr Jim Halliday is the Head of the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) Energy Research Unit based at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire.

He has been active in energy research for over 30 years, and has extensive experience of initiating, managing and working on a wide range of collaborative and applied renewable energy research projects (funded by CEC, DTI/DBIS, Carbon Trust, and Research Councils). He has published over 70 papers.

Jim is a graduate in Environmental Science from the University of East Anglia (UEA), and has a doctorate in Applied Physics from the University of Strathclyde - his thesis title being 'Wind Meteorology and the integration of electricity generated by wind turbines'.

He has been an active member of the British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) for many years, and served on its council for 14 years including two terms as Chairman.