University of Birmingham Thurs 28 October 2021

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ERA Vision 21 provides an opportunity to explore new ideas and innovations and form new partnerships for the future.

ERA Vision 21: The Midlands Energy Conference

Thursday 28 October, University of Birmingham

ERA Vision is organised by the Energy Research Accelerator (ERA). The conference is an opportunity for academics, industrialists and representatives from government and the public sector to network together and hear from leading speakers about some of the latest developments in energy technology, policy, funding and skills.

ERA Vision is being held at the University of Birmingham and will also be held online.

Register today

Our speakers

We have secured a wide range of speakers and panellists from industry, government and the public sector, and new speakers are being added to our lineup.

These are some of the people who will be appearing at ERA Vision 21.

The Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

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Kwasi Kwarteng was appointed Secretary of State at the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on 8 January 2021. He was previously Minister of State at the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and was Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Department for Exiting the European Union from 16 November 2018 to 24 July 2019.

Kwasi Kwarteng will be delivering his address to our conference via video.

Sir David King - Head of Climate Crisis Advisory Group


Sir David King is currently the Head of the Climate Crisis Advisory Group and has enjoyed a long and successful scientific career. Sir David worked as the permanent Special Representative for Climate Change from September 2013 until March 2017. Prior to this he was the Government’s Chief Scientific Advisor from 2000 to 2007, during which time he raised awareness of the need for governments to act on climate change and was instrumental in creating the Energy Technologies Institute. 

Professor Sarah Sharples - Chief Scientific Adviser, Dept for Transport

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Professor Sarah Sharples is Chief Scientific Adviser for the Department for Transport. She is a Professor of Human Factors in the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Nottingham and from 2018 to 2021 was Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and People. She has led research in transport, manufacturing and healthcare, and currently leads the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Connected Everything Network Plus. Sarah has led many research programmes examining implementation of new technologies in rail, highways and aviation.

Ben Watts - Director, Equans UK, ENGIE Group

Ben Watts

Ben has worked in the sustainable energy sector for over 20 years, in various roles focused on the development and delivery of decentralised, user focused energy systems and communities.  In his current role at EQUANS he leads on strategic development through investment, innovation and partnerships.  Ben has previously held the role of Managing Director of ENGIE UK’s Urban Energy business, has worked as an Associate with ARUP and has been a Director of the Association for Decentralised Energy since 2014.

Other speakers and panellists

Other speakers and panellists include senior figures from Octopus Energy, the Energy Systems Catapult, Innovate UK, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and more. Look out for further announcements on this site over the coming days.

Why you should attend ERA Vision 21

The purpose of ERA Vision is to provide an environment where people with a passion for energy can share and discuss ideas together.

The objectives for the event are:

  • To highlight the challenges facing the energy sector and explore solutions
  • To explain ERA's Big Ideas and the great opportunities within each of them
  • To give partners the opportunity to showcase energy collaborations and their results
  • To create an environment where new networks can be developed

Register today

The programme

Outline programme 

9.00: Arrival, posters and exhibition

9.45: Welcome, Sir David Eastwood, Vice-Chancellor, University of Birmingham

10.00: Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng, Secretary of State for BEIS (video address)

10.10: Sarah Sharples, Chief Scientific Adviser Dept for Transport - Energy for the transport revolution

10:30: Ben Watts, Director M&A and Investment for ENGIE Group - Industry viewpoint 

10:50: Q&As

11:10: Coffee break and networking

11:30: Professor Martin Freer - ERA, past present and future

11:50: Energy Innovation Challenges, panel session featuring representatives from industry, government, academia and other sectors.

12:50: Lunch, exhibitions and posters

14:00: Breakout sessions

  • Transport
  • Decarbonising Heat
  • Energy from Waste
  • Energy Policy

15:10: Feedback

15:30: Refreshments and networking

15:50: Piers Forster, IPCC - the science of climate change

16:15: Sir David King, former chief scientific adviser - mitigating the impacts of climate change

16:45: Q&As

17:00: Professor Martin Freer, reflections and close

Sponsorship Opportunities

We have a range for sponsorship opportunities to get your brand in front of industry and public sector, these range from exhibition stands to sponsoring lunch.  Further information is available here.

Sponsorship Opportunities

A hybrid event

We would love to meet you at the University of Birmingham at ERA Vision 21, but we know that in these times it might not be possible for everyone to attend in person.

This is why we are also making ERA Vision 21 available online, enabling you to enjoy the speakers and debates remotely. Simply indicate on the booking form that you would like to attend online rather than in person.

Come to our sister event for PhDs and Postdoctoral Researchers

If you are a PhD student or postdoctoral reseracher, please come to our event on Weds 27th October 'Net-Zero Futures'. Organised by ERA and the Centre for Postdoctoral Development in Infrastructure, Cities and Energy, this event has been designed specifically to develop PhDs and Postdocs in the ERA and UKCRIC university partnership. Registration for Net-Zero Futures opens 13th September.

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ERA Vision 21 is free to attend. 
Register today