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The Centre for Postdoctoral Development in Infrastructure, Cities and Energy (C-DICE) programme brings together 18 higher education institutions from across the Energy Research Accelerator (ERA) and the UK Collaboratorium for Research in Infrastructure and Cities (UKCRIC). It offers a unique collaboration, an inclusive space to harness significant UKRI, university and industry investment in facilities and doctoral training, by bringing together the intellectual capital of hundreds of postdoctoral researchers, and ready-made impact pathways which are provided by an established network of globally connected partners.

The programme is being led by Loughborough University in partnership with the University of Birmingham and Cranfield University. A number of leading companies and other stakeholders are also involved in the C-DICE partnership, including Engie UK, the Building Research Environment (BRE) Trust, Manufacturing Technology Centre, HS2, Severn Trent Water and many more.

C-DICE is supported through a £4 million four year investment from the Research England Development fund, plus £3.4 million in cash and in-kind commitments from partners.

The C-DICE programme will enhance the development of postdoctoral researchers, provide access to funding and world class facilities and afford membership of an exclusive collaborative network, uniquely positioned to realise the net-zero carbon challenge.

There are four strands to the C-DICE activity:

1 – The C-DICE training programme

Researchers can select training, including CPD and certificated modules, to suit their individual and project needs. The programme provides access to a broad spectrum of specialist training linked to UKCRIC and ERA facilities and expertise, along with other technical training in relevant research and analytical techniques.

2 – The C-DICE developmental pathway

This offers a range of longer-term development opportunities including industrial placements, business start-ups, technology transfer, ‘sector swapping’ and international secondments. Researchers will assess their development needs, and a peer support network will provide informal advice and guidance across the C-DICE community.

3 – The C-DICE problem-led sandpit series

This will bring teams together around solving complex industry based research challenges, offering a new way to combine research talents, inspire research questions and acquire essential team working skills. Promising solutions from these sandpits will receive seed-corn funding to develop new proposals or fellowship applications.

4 – The C-DICE Impact Hub

The Impact Hub will run a series of activities, showcase events and conferences to exploit and promote the outputs of collaboration. After analysing the results of the innovative approaches being trialled in the project, the Impact Hub will disseminate the findings, aiming to transform the research culture and to act as a catalyst for the creation of novel, interdisciplinary postdoctoral development pathways setting transformative research agendas and utilising the unique capabilities of world-class capital investments of the UK Collaboratorium for Research on Infrastructure and Cities (UKCRIC) and the Energy Research Accelerator (ERA).