As well as a variety of strategic meetings in Swindon, last week included an interesting meeting on sustainable energy in the British Library’s Talk Science series (albeit that neither Combined Heat and Power nor Bioenergy got a mention); probably the most detailed and pertinent contributions came from Prof Phil Taylor from Durham University, who stressed inter alia the gulf between the carbon cost (600g/kWh) on the present grid relative to the 2050 targets that approximate 50 g/kWh). Behavioural change, possibly linked to self- and community-driven generation, was likely to be an important contributor. According to Colin Snape (Nottingham University), Carbon Capture and Storage (implicitly physico-chemicaI) will add 30-60% to generating costs. Personally I prefer biological approaches! I also enjoyed a meeting with the Russell Group, launching two reports, one on the Social impacts of Research (pdf) and one on the importance and characteristics of world-class Universities (pdf), and addressed by BIS Secretary of State Dr Vince Cable and Lloyds Banking Group CEO António Horta-Osório.
We had a superb first meeting of our new Research Advisory Panel, bringing together our Heads of Strategy Panels and Committee Chairs to ensure that strategy and funding are joined up internally. The meeting also allowed a well-received outing of some of the new data visualisation tools we are developing to assist the understanding, summarisation and description of our portfolio. [...]