The Energy 100 Challenge is a problem-solving challenge to help PhD students and post-doctoral researchers develop new skills while tackling a real energy problem. 


The challenge is to “Establish the world’s first net-zero carbon industrial cluster by 2040 and at least 1 low-carbon cluster by 2030”.

The Story so far…

The Energy 100 Challenge is a problem-solving challenge run by ERA to help PhD students and post-doctoral researchers develop soft skills whilst tackling a real-life Energy related problem. We started this exciting project in January with 66 participants from 14 HEIs investigating what are the technological, social and policy barriers that are stopping the Midlands becoming a low-carbon industrial cluster by 2030? So far, our participants have explored this question by blowing it up into multiple sub questions during a divergent phase, and then clustering these into interesting clusters during the convergent phase.

A PDF of our clusters can be found below. Now we are going to investigate one of these clusters in more depth during our virtual workshop series that will commence on 27 April (provisional date) for 10 weeks

Download the Clustering Report here

Still to come…

The next stage will be for the group to decide upon a cluster to investigate in more detail during a ten-week workshop/tutorial series.

The Energy 100 virtual workshop series will commence on 27 April 2020

Want to take the Energy 100 Challenge?

We are still accepting PhD and post-doctoral researchers who want to take part in the Energy 100 Challenge workshop series (from 27 April). It is completely free of charge. If you are a post-doctoral researcher or a PhD student at an ERA affiliated University and would like to participate in the virtual workshop series, please sign up below.

The ERA affiliated universities are those with the logos at the bottom of this page.

Join Energy 100 here

The Process

The Energy 100 Challenge reached out widely during the on-line phase to engage a broad group of people (approx. 100-150 participants). Later in the process a field of 15-20 participants will be invited to a two-day practical problem-solving workshop.

Online phase 
  • Registered participants will be invited to consider the above question. They will be sent a Google forms link to capture this data - this is a divergent phase. 
  • Responses will be collated and sent out again to participants to cluster order to identify core themes. 
  • Cluster/s to explore further will be determined
  • A subset of participants will be invited to participate in a virtual MicroLab to explore the chosen problem area using Zoom.
Evaluation phase
  • Participants that have registered with a university email address aligned to either an ERA partner university or belonging to formal partners of the Supergen Bioenergy Hub will be invited to take the on-line Foursight preference test free of charge.
The Creative Thinking Course
  • Virtual workshop investigating the problem
  • Approximately 15 participants from a mix of disciplines/backgrounds

ERA students 018 small

Energy 100 is free, and open to all PhD and post-doctoral students in the Midlands Innovation group of universities.
Join the challenge