A new research hub is being launched by the UK government to develop innovative measures to decarbonise and improve transport.
Decarbonisation minister Jesse Norman has announced applications are open for organisations to host the new hub, with the government pledging £10m in funding for the centre.
The Net Zero Transport for a Resilient Future Research Hub will be a partnership between government departments, industry and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). It is a joint programme between UKRI and DfT as part of the UKRI ‘Building a green future’ strategic theme. It will focus on climate adaptation and mitigation solutions for the UK transport system across modalities and landscapes.
Currently, transport accounts for 27% of the UK’s emissions and the Net Zero Transport for a Resilient Future Hub will drive decarbonisation solutions, such as greater use of recycled materials and reducing the carbon footprint of repairs and maintenance.
The hub will also develop and implement innovative ideas to ensure future transport is resilient and meets the challenges of climate adaption, such as changes to weather and water levels. It will focus on the UK’s transport sector’s needs over the next 25 years as the government works to meet its 2050 net zero goals, helping to ensure the sector can build UK skills, jobs and innovation.
Jesse Norman said: “Innovation is key to the growth of the transport sector, and the creation of high-skilled jobs and business opportunities across the UK. This new UK research hub will build a centre of excellence for the future development of low-carbon transport.
“By working to develop real-world solutions across a wide range of academic disciplines, such as architecture and design, computing and behavioural sciences, the hub will help support innovation in the UK which could lead to high-skilled jobs across the UK.”
The hub will aim to provide a link for early-stage innovation and later stage demonstration across multiple transport modes to create, develop and test climate-resilient solutions that recognise how different places and types of transport will require different answers.
Norman said: “By researching the challenges of the transport sector in adapting to climate change and securing UK innovation, the centre will look to offer responsive, practical, evidence-based support to transport decision-makers and develop and implement sustainable, low-carbon solutions across existing and new infrastructure.”
Some of the areas the hub will be expected to research include:
UK Research and Innovation (Building a Green Future lead, Professor Sir Duncan Wingham, said: “A partnership between the Department for Transport and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), the Net Zero Transport Infrastructure for a Resilient Future Research Hub will lead the cross-UK research that is needed to effect transformational change in the transport sector.
“It will lead future developments to decarbonise our transport sector, a crucial component of achieving the UK’s net zero 2050 target. It will also help to ensure our transport systems remain resilient to hazards caused by extreme weather events and climactic changes that are already apparent.”
Organisations seeking to host the hub must:
UKRI and DfT will fund one £10m hub at 80% of the full economic cost (FEC) via the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, and organisations in the Transport Research and Innovation Board, with the remaining coming from the winning research centre, which will become the home of the hub
The closing date for applications is 25 April.
The hub has a fixed start date of 1 September 2023 and can run for up to 43 months.
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