The IGNITE Network+ [Innovation and Growth Needs Inclusion and engagement of all Talent in Energy] is a four-year funded EPSRC project which was established in September 2022. It aims to support sustainable, abundant, clean and equitable energy for all, by harnessing the talents of energy researchers from all backgrounds. To achieve the changes to energy systems needed to meet net-zero carbon by 2050 requires innovation, and its translation into industry, at pace. Research has shown that diversity in the workforce, if managed effectively, increases innovation, brings greater scientific impact and improves economic growth. Increased diversity in energy researchers will significantly improve our chances of successful transition to net zero by 2050.
The current lack of diversity in energy researchers stems not from a lack of interest, talent or ambition in underrepresented individuals, but from systemic inequalities in UK systems and institutions. The IGNITE Network+ will address diversity issues by:
- collecting data that can expose systemic inequality;
- designing, testing and implementing disruptive initiatives; monitoring the success of interventions and activities;
- identifying, disseminating and encouraging good practice.
We will work to support individuals from disadvantaged and underrepresented backgrounds through a mixture of organisational interventions, mentorship, advice and advocacy.
The network is led by Strathclyde with partners Imperial College London, the University of Manchester, the University of Nottingham, the University of Bristol, Queen's University Belfast and Brunel University London and received £1.25m over 4 years to tackle the lack of diversity in the energy research sector.