Sêr Cymru National Research Network for Low Carbon, Energy and Environment (NRN-LCEE)

The 1st phase of the Sêr Cymru National Research Network for Low Carbon Energy and Environment (NRN-LCEE) ran from 2013 to 2019.

The network is restarting under the leadership of Prof Julia Jones from Bangor University. The second phase is being supported by Sêr Cymru II, which is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund, through the Welsh Government. More information will follow.

See here for a press release.

About the NRN-LCEE:

  • The NRN-LCEE was a bold, innovative pan-Wales initiative for Welsh research funded by Welsh Government and the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) as part of Sêr Cymru 1;
  • comprising of partners from Bangor, Aberystwyth, Cardiff, South Wales and Swansea Universities, Centre for Ecology & Hydrology at Bangor, British Geological Survey Wales, and UK MetOffice.
  • The NRN-LCEE aimed to promote excellent collaborative and interdisciplinary research within Wales into the sustainable use of natural resources for the provision of energy, water, food, and other ecosystem services;
  • and explicitly encouraged interdisciplinary research across departments, universities, research centres, industry and third sector parties.
  • As such, the NRN-LCEE was the catalyst to bring a diverse set of talented researchers and partners into new collaborations, in order to conduct innovative research that was highly pertinent on an international research agenda.

Please see the ‘NRN-LCEE Final Overview 2013-2019’ for a full description of the NRN-LCEE’s activities

The aims of the NRN-LCEE were:

  • To support and promote excellent, internationally competitive science in Wales
  • To foster increased and novel collaboration between researchers in Wales
  • To establish a new basis for a sustainable increase in research funding to Wales
  • To encourage researchers with excellent track records to establish themselves in Wales

The NRN-LCEE Achievements:

  • NRN-LCEE researchers won competitive funding for 97 projects to Welsh institutions, combined to lever £20.8m (£28.6m FEC) from RCUK, EU and other sources.
  • The NRN-LCEE partner organisations contributed an additional £12.2m (access to equipment and facilities/waived PhD fees/waived overheads/difference between FEC and money awarded/non-accounted staff time).
  • Therefore the £7m investment in the NRN-LCEE by WG/HEFCW leveraged at least £33 m for Welsh research institutions.
  • NRN-LCEE sponsored Proposal Writing Workshops for Marie Skłodowska Curie Individual Fellowships brought in an additional £1.2m to Welsh institutions for research aligned with the themes of the Sêr Cymru National Research Networks.
  • The NRN-LCEE scientists formed 71 new reseach partnerships with research institutions, government bodies, industry and third sector partners from the UK and Ireland, mainland Europe, North America, the Middle East and the South Pacific.
  • By it’s close, the NRN-LCEE’s researchers had produced 165 publications (126 in peer-reviewed high quality journals);
  • and presented at least 278 abstracts at national and international conferences.
  • A large number of events, public lectures, STEM activities and training were underpinned by the NRN-LCEE.

Please see the NRN-LCEE YouTube channel for a series of videos of the NRN-LCEE’s activites and events.

NRN-LCEE Research:

Four themes tied together all research funded by the Network:

  1. Sustainable Intensification
  2. Low Carbon Energy Pathways
  3. Developing the Bio-Economy
  4. Impacts and Mitigation of Climate Change and Human Activities

The core of the NRN-LCEE’s research was centred around 8 Research Clusters (supporting 18 Research Fellows and 12 PhD students) and 10 Returning Fellowships. The latter were individuals returning to academic research from extended career beaks. The Network also supported STEM and outreach opportunities, public lectures and a diverse range of workshops and events on topical science issues.

The NRN-LCEE research schemes:

NRN-LCEE funding was used to support a wide-range of activities including the following innovative NRN-LCEE initiated schemes:

Research Clusters:

The NRN-LCEE awarded funding for 8 Research Clusters to address key knowledge gaps within the NRN-LCEE themes. Bringing together groups with different expertise into new collaborations, these ambitious multi-disciplinary teams delivered creative, excellent research pertinent to both national and international agendas, leveraged substantial research funding for Welsh institutions, produced high quality research outputs and recruited new researchers to Wales.

Returning Fellowships:

The NRN-LCEE Returning Fellowship Scheme was an innovative programme designed to facilitate researchers returning to their research following long-term absence for reasons of maternity, paternity, adoption, health or caring. Through the initiative, the Fellows were given the opportunity to dedicate a greater percentage of their time to developing their research, delivering high quality publications and increased grant income - thereby adding significant benefit to their scientific endeavours in Wales.

Proposal Writing Fellowships:

These were awarded to 14 talented researchers who were without an academic/research contract received funding from the NRN-LCEE to prepare a research proposal to RCUK, Leverhulme Trust, Royal Society or EU funding sources. This funding was for up to two months’ salary of the Fellow, as well as for travel and subsistence to facilitate meetings between potential project partners. Principle Investigators applied for the funding and worked with a named Proposal-Writing Fellow to develop a research proposal on which the Fellow was a named researcher.

Research Development Fund:

The NRN-LCEE Research Development Fund (RDF) supported a series of collaborative initiatives that contributed substantially to the development of the Welsh research capacity. Funding was available for workshops and events that supported new research developments and/or expanded opportunities for knowledge transfer and stakeholder engagement. The RDF also provided grant proposal-writing support in the form of 3 Proposal Writing Workshops for EU Marie-Curie Skłodowska Actions (MCSA) Individual Fellowships hosted in Aberystwyth, Swansea and Cardiff Universities in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

Marie Skłodowska-Curie COFUND Fellowships:

The NRN-LCEE CO-FUND Fellowships contributed towards salary and research costs of CO-FUND Fellows who were successful in their application to the Marie Skłodowska-Curie COFUND Wales (SIRCIW).

For any outstanding enquiries concerning NRN-LCEE activities please contact Professor Julia P. G. Jones, School of Natural Resources, Bangor University: Julia.jones@bangor.ac.uk