Energy Research Accelerator launches new Industrial Advisory Board

The first Industrial Advisory Board meeting of the Energy Research Accelerator (ERA) took place this week

Published On: August 2, 2019
Industrial Advisory Board

The first Industrial Advisory Board meeting of the Energy Research Accelerator (ERA) took place this week at the Manufacturing Technology Centre at Ansty, near Coventry.

ERA is a £180 million programme comprising £60 million from UK government via Innovate UK, and an additional £120 million matched by industry and universities. It is investing in facilities, equipment and demonstration projects to find innovative solutions to the most pressing energy challenges.

The ERA partners consist of the eight Midlands Innovation universities of Aston, Birmingham, Cranfield, Keele, Leicester, Loughborough, Nottingham and Warwick, together with the British Geological Survey (BGS).

ERA’s Industrial Advisory Board (IAB) consists of a chairperson and 12 senior representatives from the energy sector. The board is comprised of members from a range of industries, including electricity and gas utility and service companies, equipment manufacturers, technology developers, engineering businesses, international consultancies, trade associations, research and development institutes and innovation companies. Its role is to offer an industrial perspective to align ERA’s strategy and priorities with commercial, real-world opportunities.

The IAB is chaired by Philip Sharman, Managing Director of Evenlode Associates Ltd. Philip has been involved in many low-carbon energy activities for businesses, and was previously Director of Technology External Affairs at Alstom Power, establishing links with governments, research organisations and technology providers.

Speaking about the launch of the IAB, Philip Sharman said: “ERA is an important initiative with the potential to assist the UK in meeting its carbon emission reduction targets and its ‘clean growth’ objectives under the Industrial Strategy. We need to maintain a secure supply of energy that is ever more flexible and resilient in nature, and we need energy to be affordable and be available equitably.

“The IAB provides a sounding board, to ensure that ERA plays a key role in the move towards low-carbon solutions. I am confident that the board will help ERA in its quest to develop exciting new commercially viable technologies, which have the potential to address many of the global challenges around energy.”

Commenting on the establishment of the IAB, Professor Martin Freer, ERA’s Director, said: “The formation of the IAB is an important development for the Energy Research Accelerator. We have invested in a wide range of world-class facilities over the last few years. These are facilities which industrial partners can use in conjunction with our energy researchers, in order to develop low-carbon technologies.

“I hope that the Industrial Advisory Board will help us to identify and develop new academic and industrial collaborations which will deliver great benefits to the UK and beyond.”

To find out more about the Energy Research Accelerator, visit


For more information about this press release, please contact Nick King, Marketing and Communications Manager for the Energy Research Accelerator, on, or tel: 07964 391057

About the ERA Industrial Advisory Board
The ERA Industrial Advisory Board (IAB) consists of the following members:
• Philip Sharman (Chair)
• Stuart Easterbrook (Cadent Gas)
• John Hartley (Centrica Business Solutions)
• Katherine Jackson (WSP)
• Bryony Livesey (Costain Group)
• Xavier Mamo (EDF Energy)
• Steve Marland (National Grid)
• Mark McGranaghan (Electric Power Research Institute, USA)
• Adam Morton (Rolls-Royce)
• Nina Skorupska (Renewable Energy Association)
• Rachel Smith (ITM Power)
• Ben Watts (Engie UK)
• Nick Winser (Energy Systems Catapult)

The Energy Research Accelerator (ERA)
ERA is a key programme within Midlands Innovation which consists of the partner universities and also the British Geological Survey (BGS). ERA aims to harness the Midlands’ combined research excellence and industry expertise to play a critical role in tackling some of the biggest challenges facing the UK.
Via Innovate UK, the government has committed an initial capital investment of £60m, and ERA has secured additional co-investment of £120m.
ERA’s investment in its strategic priorities of Energy Transformation, Energy Storage, Energy Integration and End Use Energy Demand, will help to deliver the new technologies and behaviours that will open the avenues for its future development and demonstrate the transformative effect ERA can have across the energy spectrum.

About Midlands Innovation
Midlands Innovation is a world-class research and innovation partnership, combining the collective excellence of eight leading universities in the heart of the UK – Aston, Birmingham, Cranfield, Keele, Leicester, Loughborough, Nottingham and Warwick. It unites the power of university research with the unique strengths of Midlands industry to drive cutting-edge research, innovation and skills development.