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2024 Birmingham Decarbonisation Summer School: Accelerating Energy Transition towards Net-Zero

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What is it?

The Birmingham Decarbonisation Summer School is a five-day event that will bring doctoral and postdoctoral researchers together to propose a technical solution and business model for a decarbonisation challenge. Accepted applicants will be pooled into interdisciplinary teams of up to 5 members each and will compete by pitching their proposal to a judging panel by the end of the summer school. The winning team will receive a lot of kudos and a £500 prize to be split amongst the team members (up to £100 per person, this may take the form of vouchers).

This summer school will focus on decarbonising a HVAC transmission line in the UK. We are partnering with SSEN, one of the leading Transmission System Operators in the UK, who will present the challenge and put you in the seat of a consultant engineer for the week. There will be plenty of technical talks by industry experts and academics to better familiarise attendees with the Energy Transition challenges towards Net-Zero. A site visit to Birmingham Energy Innovation Centre in Tyseley Energy Park will demonstrate the latest Net-Zero solutions. An early career forum will be hosted and opportunities and challenges of finding a job and working in Net-Zero industry companies will be discussed by panellists. Lastly, diverse lunch throughout the week and two social events in the first two evenings are provided to ensure a fun week for all!

You will also be invited to participate in a research project during the summer school which aims to improve researchers’ English presentation skills.

This summer school is organised by School of Engineering, University of Birmingham and sponsored by ERAC-DICECIGRE UKN8the Royal Societythe British Academy.


Day 1 – Getting On-Track

  • Meet your team members
  • SSEN presents the summer school challenge
  • Seminars about Challenge, Blueprint and solutions of Energy Transition towards Net-Zero
  • Walk together towards Westmere House (on-campus) for the welcome reception

Day 2 – Seminars Day

  • Seminars about Energy Transition solutions and best practices, team science and EDI
  • Networking Dinner on campus

Day 3 – Developing your Concepts

  • Site visit to Birmingham Energy Innovation Centre at the Tyseley Energy Park
  • Time to work on your proposals

Day 4 – Building your Pitch

  • Time to work on your proposals
  • Time to work on your pitch

Day 5 – The Pitch

  • Meet the judges and present your pitch
  • Winners will be announced and award will be presented

Full programme is below (programme is subject to change).

When, where?

School of Engineering, University of Birmingham, from the 17 of June till the 21 of June. Given that participants will be put into teams, participation is possible in-person only in order to guarantee an engaging experience for everyone involved.


Doctoral and postdoctoral researchers of all disciplines from all UK universities are eligible to apply for this summer school.

If you are a postdoctoral researcher working in industry, but would like to join the summer school, please contact Lennie Foster (  to arrange for a preliminary meeting to discuss the alignment of interests. You can apply if this is indicated after the meeting.

How To Apply

The application form is available via Inkpath, our researcher development platform.

Applications will close on 28 May 2024.

Step 1

If you already have an Inkpath account, please go to the “2024 Birmingham Decarbonisation Summer School” activity.

If you do not have an Inkpath account, you need to create one. Click the button below for guidance on how to. Please get in touch, if you have any problems accessing the activity or registering with Inkpath.

Note: Make sure that 

  • You sign up with Inkpath by choosing the organization “C-DICE” (Existing users can sign up again with the organisation “C-DICE” under the same email address), and 
  • Your “Programme” in “My profile” needs to be either PhD/Postdoc/Working in Industry)

Step 2

Book onto the activity ‘2024 Birmingham Decarbonisation Summer School’ on Inkpath.

If you still cannot access the programme, please follow this link ( after you registered with Inkpath.

After booking is completed, you will receive a link to the Microsoft form application. In the email you receive click on the “click here to join” and it will take you to the Microsoft application form.

Step 3

Fill in the Microsoft application form. You will be asked to:

  • describe your primary research area for a non-expert (100 words)
  • identify what aspects of this summer school topic are of interest to you (100 words)
  • identify any skills and expertise you feel might be relevant to the summer school (100 words)
  • explain how attending the summer school will develop you as a researcher (100 words)
  • identify how you might incorporate EDI in the summer school topic (100 words)
    • This question will not form part of the assessment; we will be looking at helping participants develop their knowledge of EDI during the summer school, this question is designed to help us ascertain your level of knowledge and experience of incorporating EDI into researcher proposals so that we can tailor our delivery accordingly.

If you need to access the application form in a different format, please get in touch with the ERA and C-DICE skills manager Lennie Foster at

Assessment Criteria

Applications will be assessed based on the following criteria:

  • An interest in developing new, adventurous, and original technical solution and business model(s) for the decarbonisation challenge.
  • An interest in partaking in innovative research and problem solving at the interface between disciplines.
  • The ability to work in a team.
  • The ability to communicate research to a wide audience.
  • How attending the summer school will develop you as a researcher.
  • Support from your institution to take part.
  • Commitment to taking an active role in all of the sessions.

Applications will be via a short Microsoft Form

Support available to summer school post-doc participants

Due to the length of the summer school an enhanced travel grant will be available to fund up to £850 of travel and accommodation costs for post-doctoral researchers attending this event. There is a limit funding pot which will be allocated on a first come first served basis.


Registration opens25 April
Application deadline28 May 2024
Notification to applicants3 June 2024
Deadline for applicant acceptance8 June 2024
Summer School17 – 21 June

Organiser:     School of Engineering, University of Birmingham

Sponsors:     ERAC-DICECIGRE UK, N8, the Royal Society, the British Academy.

Contributors: SSEN, Energy Systems CATAPULT, NG ESO, NG ET, IEEE PES UK& I Chapter, GE Vernova, ARUP, Atkins Realis, WSP, Birmingham Energy Institute, Birmingham Energy Innovation Centre, Tyseley Energy Park, E-TEC, Mott MacDonald, CIGRE UK NGN University of Birmingham Hub, IEEE University of Birmingham Student Branch.