UCL Energy Institute


Whole Systems Energy Modelling Consortium

Whole Systems Energy Modelling Consortium (wholeSEM) is a multi-institution initiative to develop, integrate and apply state-of-the-art energy models.


wholeSEM was led by UCL and consists of Imperial College London, the University of Cambridge and the University of Surrey. The projects aims were to:

  • build and link energy models to provide a fundamental underpinning role for the UK’s national strategic energy modelling activity
  • provide continuity of funding to develop new models, retain human capacity and link modelling frameworks in innovative ways
  • employ extensive integration mechanisms to link and apply interdisciplinary models to key energy policy problems, with substantive engagement with a range of stakeholders.

Principal Investigator: Neil Strachan.

WholeSEM concluded on 7th January 2018.

Visit the wholeSEM website.


University College London

University of Cambridge

Imperial College London

University of Surrey

Centre Manager at University College London


Through the development of critical energy modelling capacity, the consortium will make a substantial and internationally leading research impact. Prioritising on key modelling areas of high relevance to energy systems, innovative interdisciplinary analyses will generate a range of new, forward looking insights. These research questions are:

1. How does energy demand co-evolve with changes in practice, supply, and policy?

2. How will the endogenous, uncertain, and path dependent process of technological change impact future energy systems?

3. How can the energy supply-demand system be optimised over multiple energy vectors and infrastructures?

4. What are the major future physical and economic interactions and stresses between the UK energy system and the broader environment?

The key aims of the interdisciplinary wholeSEM consortium are:

1. Undertake internationally cutting edge research on prioritised energy system topics;

2. Integrate whole energy systems modelling approaches across disciplinary boundaries;

3. Build bilateral engagement mechanisms with the wider UK energy systems community in academia, government and industry. 


One of our core goals is comprehensive collaboration with the full range of UK and international energy systems experts and stakeholders.

The following activities will help us provide a unique hub for the rapidly growing UK energy modelling user group and network of stakeholders:

  • a high-profile Advisory Board – chaired by Professor Jim Skea – with key policy/industry representative and academic experts
  • an innovative bi-directional Fellowship Programme (12 Fellows over the 4-year project lifetime) for UK academic, policy, industrial and international experts
  • 4 high-profile annual UK energy modelling conferences
  • technical workshops on key modelling issues
  • non-technical stakeholder workshops to inform the development of the consortium’s core modelling tools and define a coherent set of use-cases and scenarios
  • collation and curation of energy modelling data sources
  • detailed and transparent documentation for all of the consortium’s new energy models
  • model access to ensure best use, accountability and two-way flows of information from/to model developers, users and critics
  • training in modelling techniques and software platforms
  • Master’s level course materials and interactions with relevant centres for doctoral training
  • responsive engagement to regulators, government officials and the energy industry
  • traditional methods of academic dissemination, including leading peer-reviewed journals and international conferences
  • interactive web-based information dissemination, including a website, wikis, visual communications and webinars to share information 
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