This is an archive site for ERPem. For more up to date information about research partnership work, see Edinburgh Research Partnership in Engineering (ERPe) and Maxwell Institute for Mathematical Sciences


The Joint Research Institute in Energy of the Edinburgh Research Partnership brings together two of the most prominent research institutes of the UK: The Institute for Energy Systems at the University of Edinburgh, and the Energy Academy at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh.

The Institute for Energy Systems (IES) (

There is ten academic staff, led by Dr Robin Wallace, ten research assistants, and twenty postgraduate students in the institute. IES has been at the forefront of marine renewable energy (wave and tidal current), power systems and power electronics research for nearly 30 years. The first protoype far-shore wave device that generated electricity into the Scottish network, Pelamis from Ocean Power Delivery has its origins in IES. Most of the commercial wave-makers in the world (leisure or research) have been designed Edinburgh Designs, spun out from IES. There are unique experimental facilities and results databases. Complex wave patterns may be repeatably created in a quadrant wave-tank with absorbing wave makers and beaches and this is complemented by a circular flow table in which tidal streams may be simulated. IES leads or is a partner in three EPSRC SuperGen Research Consortia: Marine Energy, Network Technologies and Supply Infrastructure. Recently IES was selected to co-host the Research Councils UK Energy Research Centre, with responsibility for the theme Future Sources of Energy.

Scotland has set ambitious targets to supply 18% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2010, and 40% by 2020. IES researchers aim to contribute to research that will reduce carbon flows in the energy system by fully understanding the extent and nature of the renewable resource, ensuring its cost effective conversion and network integration and establishing new ways to operate the evolving power system in a predictable and reliable manner.

The Heriot-Watt Energy Academy (

Energy research is a core activity at Heriot-Watt University with established expertise that spans exploration to conservation and an associated annual research income in excess of £5m. The perspective of energy research at the University has changed in recent years and our interaction with the international agenda of climate change, sustainability and security of supply has informed a “big picture” vision of how best to match our skills-base to the emerging research challenges. Forward-looking consideration of the energy system led to the formation of the Heriot-Watt Energy Academy and this pan-university initiative is supported by all Schools at the Edinburgh, Orkney and Borders campuses. It has two principal objectives. Firstly, to consolidate energy research activities and facilitate interdisciplinary programmes, both within the university and with other HEIs. Secondly to ensure external parties can easily gain an appreciation of our vision, skills-base and active research projects. Current energy research activities fall within the following four themes: energy utilisation, renewables, fossil fuels and energy policy.

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