The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ) held a Science and Engineering Week to celebrate science and its contribution to delivering Net Zero and tackling climate change. The DESNZ programme, organised by the Office of the Chief Scientific Advisor (CSA), aimed to shine a light on the role science plays, create networks and inspire staff across the department to engage further with science.

As part of the week, University of Bath researchers delivered three online workshops with a focus on energy security and net zero transition. The workshops, which were attended by over 100 people, explored applying behavioural evidence in policy; energy infrastructure and grid resilience; and the research challenges that need to be resolved to enable and accelerate the development and deployment of sustainable hydrogen technologies to support Net Zero 2050. Further information about each workshop can be found below.

Prof Tim Mays says: “It was a pleasure and privilege to present on hydrogen to DESNZ colleagues and to engage in fascinating follow-up discussions. There is clearly significant and growing interest in government in this area. I hope that I was able to underpin that interest in the workshop. Many thanks to the Institute for Policy Research (IPR) for co-ordinating with DESNZ.”

Amy Thompson, Head of Policy Programmes and Communications for the IPR, adds: “We were delighted to contribute to Science and Engineering week and to have the opportunity to share our research and expertise with DESNZ colleagues working on key areas for the UK’s net zero transition.”

The IPR would like to thank the chairs for the sessions – Sam Akehurst, Charles Larkin and Amy Thompson – as well as colleagues from the CSA Office at DESNZ for their help in delivering these workshops.

The workshops

Putting behaviour change evidence into practice: lessons from environmental and transport policy

Prof Lorraine Whitmarsh MBE and Pete Dyson provided insights on behaviour change, drawing both on theory and practice, with examples of what works in environmental and transport policy. They presented the latest findings from the 2022 House of Lords Environment & Climate Change Committee’s (ECCC) inquiry on behaviour change for environmental goals, alongside experiences of integrating behaviour change evidence into government transport policy development. Chaired by Amy Thompson.

Electrical power systems: the past, present and future

Prof Furong Li and Nigel Turvey shared insights on energy infrastructure and grid resilience, including a comparison on overhead lines and underground cables, the implications of climate change, energy storage, and the ongoing work at the University of Bath to create a geospatial model that examines whole system optimisation and assesses alternative commercial frameworks for electricity. Co-chaired by Dr Charles Larkin and Amy Thompson.

Research challenges in hydrogen and hydrogen carriers

Prof Tim Mays shared insights on the broad scope of hydrogen and hydrogen carriers, including ‘green hydrogen’. He highlighted current high-priority research challenges which must be resolved to support Net Zero 2050. Chaired by Prof Sam Akehurst.