£4 million centre for development in infrastructure, cities and energy to be launched

A new Centre for Postdoctoral Development in Infrastructure, Cities and Energy (C-DICE) is to be established in the UK following a £4m funding award by Research England.

Keele University will be a partner institution of C-DICE, which is led by Loughborough University in partnership with the Universities of Birmingham and Cranfield, and which will bring together 18 higher education institutions from across the Energy Research Accelerator (ERA) and the UK Collaboratorium for Research in Infrastructure and Cities (UKCRIC), as well as industry and other stakeholders including Engie UK, the Building Research Environment (BRE) Trust, Manufacturing Technology Centre, HS2, Severn Trent Water, and many more. 

These partners, together with others, have pledged a further £3.4m in cash and in-kind contributions, making the programme the biggest investment in postdoctoral development in the UK.

The aim of C-DICE is to develop world-class postdoctoral researchers who have the advanced technical skills needed for the infrastructure, cities and energy sectors. C-DICE will tackle two urgent challenges that are vital to the delivery of the UK’s Industrial Strategy and a prosperous and resilient UK. 

The first challenge is how to build the advanced skills required to create a pipeline of world-class talent for the infrastructure, cities and energy sectors. The second concerns the most significant global issue that we face - how to accelerate progress towards a net zero-carbon society by 2050, the achievement of which demands a massive interdisciplinary research effort.

Researchers from across the C-DICE network will benefit from Keele’s campus-wide ‘living laboratory’, having access to facilities including the £15m Smart Energy Network Demonstrator (SEND) project*, and the hydrogen-blending project HyDeploy. Keele’s campus and facilities will help to develop the professionals urgently demanded by industry to unlock economic, social and environmental benefits key for the UK’s prosperity.

Postdoctoral researchers, academics and industry partners involved in C-DICE will be able to benefit from the collaborative network being created.

Professor Mark Ormerod, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost, said: “It is great to be announced as a partner institution of C-DICE. It's really important that as we strive to build an increasing network of sustainable infrastructure, we produce talented researchers who are able to drive complex research challenges forward and help to realise the goal of achieving net-zero carbon. 

“This partnership provides unique opportunities for Keele’s postdoctoral researchers to engage in world-leading research on sustainable infrastructure, cities and energy, as part of a major collaborative network with other leading institutions and industry partners.”

Dr Kathryn North, C-DICE Director and Head of Researcher Development at Loughborough University, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for us to create a world-class centre which will put the UK at the forefront of post-doctoral development in infrastructure, cities and energy. We have established a great partnership involving industry, 18 higher education institutes and UKCRIC and ERA, and I am confident that this will provide the perfect environment for postdoctoral researchers to reach their full potential.”

ERDF and UK Government logos*The Smart Energy Network Demonstrator project (ref. 32R16P00706) is part-funded through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the England 2014 to 2020 European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) Growth Programme, and is available to ERDF eligible companies. The project is also receiving funds from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).