- Research at UCL Australia
- UCL School of Energy and Resources
- Mullard Space Science Laboratory
- International Energy Policy Institute
Research at UCL Australia
UCL Australia applies a systems approach to energy and resources research across sectors (government, industry, communities) and disciplines (technology, natural and social sciences, economics and law). UCL Australia has a particular focus on:
- systems modelling (process optimisation, project organisation and management)
- impact assessment (environment, society, economy)
- decision support (governance, business models)
- policy analysis and assessment (energy security, climate change, regional and national priorities)
- innovation opportunities and impacts (disruptive technologies, open and social innovation, incentives and barriers).
Our research is interdisciplinary, linking the three units within UCL Australia – the UCL School of Energy and Resources, Australia, the International Energy Policy Institute and the Mullard Space Science Laboratory (Australia). Although each unit has its own research strategy and agenda, there is a common alignment with the UCL Grand Challenges of Global Health, Sustainable Cities, Intercultural Interaction and Human Wellbeing.
The UCL Grand Challenges concentrate specialist expertise across UCL and beyond to address aspects of the world's key problems. It also provides an environment in which researchers are encouraged to think about how their work can intersect with and impact on global issues. For more information, see www.ucl.ac.uk/grand-challenges.
UCL School of Energy and Resources
The world faces many challenging problems; current technologies and policies provide varying signals because of politics, financing and complex (or non-existent) market frameworks.
Key research within the UCL School of Energy and Resources, Australia includes interest in new technologies for nuclear energy and efficient integration of carbon capture in coal and gas fired power plants. The development of petroleum and water resources and the efficient use of both through demand reduction is also a strong feature of the research agenda. Conventional mineral and energy sources are not the only focus of our research interests; life cycle analysis for liquid fuel production from biomass and renewable energy technologies form an equally important part of our research.
- Decision support for water recovery in unconventional gas production.
- Real time supply chain management for resource extraction in remote areas.
- Reliability and resilience of Smart Grid technologies and architecture.
- Design and optimisation of water distribution networks.
- Monitoring of marine environments around large offshore facilities.
Mullard Space Science Laboratory
The Mullard Space Science Laboratory (MSSL) is a world-leading research organisation delivering a broad science programme that is underpinned by a strong capability in space science instrumentation, space-domain engineering, space medicine, systems engineering and project management. Read more.
Research at MSSL (Australia) includes cosmology and the study of extra-galactic objects, studies of the Sun, planets and their moons and the Earth as well as humans working and living in space. We are also researching and developing the next generation of space instrumentation.
MSSL (Australia) is looking at hyperspectral imaging instrument development for greenhouse gas monitoring and natural resource exploration. MSSL (Australia) is also involved with the QB50 project, an international collaboration in which a flotilla of 50 CubeSats will provide unprecedented access to the Earth’s thermosphere.
MSSL has a long heritage of providing high-quality space instrumentation for international space research missions. For over 40 years we have been involved in more than 35 scientific space missions and over 200 rocket launches.
MSSL develops and tests hardware and software, usually working as part of an international consortium. Our engineers and scientists work side-by-side to ensure that the instruments we produce optimally address key questions in modern space science. By linking post-launch support to pre-flight and flight calibrations, our scientists are able to understand instrument responses and improve data analysis.
UCL Centre for Systems Engineering
MSSL plays host to the UCL Centre for Systems Engineering – a relationship that extends also to UCL Australia. We conduct research projects in a broad range of industry sectors including aerospace, transport, defence, energy, construction, health, pharmaceuticals and agriculture. We are interested in understanding how to make complex systems work better, whether these are'hard' technology-based or 'soft' human-based systems.
Across the different industry sectors, we have five broad research themes.
- Systems modelling and optimisation – system dynamic modelling, cost-benefit analysis, soft systems methodology, intelligent systems, adaptive modelling, applying a systems approach to provide insights in new domains (e.g. health, education, sport, transport).
- Risk modelling and management – system failure, system integrity, risk management, decision making under uncertainty.
- Technology planning – technology maturity, technology road-mapping, scenario planning, game theory, technology valuation, technology decision making, adoption of technology and diffusion of innovations.
- Project management – causes of failure in technology projects, management of special projects where normal project management approaches do not apply, sources and consequences of variability within projects, value-driven project management and systems engineering.
- Defining systems engineering – systems engineering competencies, principles for systems engineering management, systems engineering standards and terminology, relationship between systems engineering and project management, scope of systems engineering, value of systems engineering, definition of systems architecture.
These themes are a focus not only for funded research, but for major research projects undertaken by our Master’s and PhD students as well as visiting research staff.
International Energy Policy Institute
At UCL Australia’s International Energy Policy Institute we focus on upstream (exploration and production) issues – an important, though complementary, contrast to the downstream (consumer) focus of the UCL Energy Institute (London). We recognise in particular, the Asia Pacific’s influence on global coal, nuclear and gas markets and its growing prominence in renewable energy.
Our main research focus is on issues surrounding investment in power generation technologies where liberalised power markets are operating under carbon constraints. These include the complex interactions and implications of technical, legal, financial and environmental effects on power generation. We also examine the role of governments in energy technology investment and the positive and negative impacts of being a resource-rich nation – including the ‘resource curse’.
Value-adding to energy resources and assets, particularly global uranium production, the unconventional gas revolution and renewable energy are also focal points for the research programme – particularly the impact of policy setting on communities, the environment and energy transmission.
The inter-relationships between energy and climate policy are also being examined.
Core research themes
- adding value to energy resources
- fossil, nuclear and renewable energy futures
- community engagement
- climate strategies.
Current projects at IEPI
- Adding value to global uranium resources
- The impact of climate policies on Australia’s Steel Manufacturing Sector
- Energy epidemiology – demand response management
- Engaging regional communities in climate action plans and sustainable energy futures
- The prospects for a shale gas revolution in Australia
- Alternative uses for coal – do they make sense?