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UCL Energy Institute

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About us

Delivering world-leading learning, research and policy support on the challenges of climate change and energy security.

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Our approach blends expertise from across UCL to make a truly interdisciplinary contribution to the development of a globally sustainable energy system.

The recognised quality of our teaching and research in energy demand and energy systems modelling owes itself to this unusual cocktail of specialisations.

Our research, spanning the entire demand system, from consumer behaviour and household technologies to policy-making, has four core themes:

UCL Energy Institute is a world-leading centre of research and teaching excellence and has received a series of awards, grants and accolades to confirm this.

The QS World University Rankings (2020) places The Bartlett, our faculty, as the #1 for Architecture/Built Environment studies in the UK and #3 in the World. In the latest national research assessment (REF 2014), 46% of UCL Energy Institute’s faculty’s research was rated ‘world-leading’ (4*), with a further 35% recognised as 3* internationally excellent.

Through its work with the Complex Built Environment Systems group, the Bartlett School of Energy, Environment and Resources has been awarded a historic three EPSRC Platform Grants, prestigious awards of funding given to what the EPSRC calls ‘well-established, world-leading research groups’.

Visions and Principles

Our mission

Our aim is to help to build a globally sustainable energy system, by bringing to bear multiple disciplinary perspectives to observe, analyse, model and interpret energy use and energy systems.

Our values

Excellence
In all our activities, we promote excellence, rigour and impartiality.

Innovation
We address intellectually challenging problems with creativity and innovation.

Impact
We conduct research that has impact and can make a positive difference to society.

Diversity
We promote diversity and equality of opportunity, and nurture an environment where people of all backgrounds feel valued and respected.

The UCL Energy Institute supports all 4 of the UCL Grand Challenges:

  • Human wellbeing
  • Intercultural interaction
  • Sustainable cities
  • Global health
 
History

The UCL Energy Institute was officially launched on 29 June 2009, but our roots lie much further back in the university’s history.

In his 1865 book, The Coal Question, the leading economist WS Jevons made an observation that flew in the face of common intuition. Jevons noted that improving the efficiency of a technology using a resource such as coal tended to provoke an increase in the consumption of that resource, rather than a decrease. The Jevons paradox, as the effect became known, has since become central to the study of energy demand and environmental economics. And since Jevons took up the professorship of political economy at UCL in 1876, it has been central to energy research at the university.

Until the institute was set up, that research, which also included work on fuel cells, nuclear power, efficient buildings and buses, was spread across traditional science and engineering departments. The institute has brought together in one place UCL-wide research and teaching in the vitally important area of energy demand, and given it focus, coherence and visibility.

The institute’s rapid growth suggests it answered a pent-up demand of its own. By the end of its first year, it had a portfolio of over £8m, £3m of which was won through an EPSRC grant for a Centre for Doctoral Training. Confirmation of this funding allowed us to pursue a much bolder course of sustained growth in our teaching. Our intake of students to our Masters programmes has grown year by year, and UCL-Energy has become one of the most successful academic departments in the UK.

Remembering Harry Bruhns

In late August 2011 Harry Bruhns, Principal Research Associate within the UCL Energy Institute, sadly lost his long battle with cancer.

Having joined University College London in 1999, Harry initially worked at the Bartlett before becoming one of the founders of the UCL Energy Institute when it was formed in 2009.

Before moving to the UK from his home country of New Zealand in the early 1990s, Harry was awarded a Master of Science in Physics at Canterbury University (New Zealand) and then joined Victoria University (Wellington) as a Research Fellow.  At the Open University, Harry’s first role in the UK, work with the Department of Environment saw the beginning of many projects for the government.

Harry dedicated his working life to analysing building energy and floor area data and his extensive work underpinned the building industry in the UK for the past 20 years. He will be greatly missed within UCL and the wider industry.

Harry Bruhns
Structure

The UCL Energy Institute is a cross-faculty initiative within the built environment, set up by the Provost of UCL to unify and strengthen research and teaching efforts in the field of energy. The institute has five core research themes and a multidisciplinary team of more than 60 researchers and students.

Director of the Institute, Prof Neil Strachan, and Deputy Director, Prof Paul Ruyssevelt, are supported bya Management Advisory Group and professional services staff within The Bartlett School of Environment, Energy and Resources (BSEER).

Management Structure

Management structure

  • Prof Neil Strachan, Director
  • Prof Paul Ruyssevelt, Deputy Director
  • Philippa Shallard, BSEER School Manager
  • Cathy Bridge, Institute Administrator
  • Velvet Young, Communications Administrator

Full list of UCL Energy Institute academic staff, students and support staff.

The Bartlett School of Environment, Energy and Resources

The Bartlett School of Environment, Energy and Resources (BSEER) is home to the Faculty’s Institutes that specialise in energy, environment, resources and heritage, and the staff and students that work within them.

Its role is to help the Institutes establish themselves and grow, enabling them to focus on and develop their academic direction and strategies.