We caught up with Richard Deakin, Director of the Low Cost Nuclear Challenge about his work building industry-leading capability in low carbon energy and clean growth by integrating industry, investors and societal benefit. UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) which brings together nine organisations under a single umbrella. This includes seven disciplinary research councils, such as Engineering and Physical Sciences through to industrial co-investment, bringing products and programmes forward through Innovate UK. I joined UKRI in April 2020 as Low Cost Nuclear Challenge Director. That sits within the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) portfolio, one of UKRI’s flagship funds, which is tackling the big societal challenges of the government’s industrial strategy. My role is to act as a pivot point between government policy and industry. The government allocates money in its budget to UKRI to follow a policy narrative and to support policy direction to be delivered, for example, Clean Growth. One of the grand societal challenges that the government has identified is clean economic growth only. How do we grow the economy whilst decarbonising at the same time? I lead government spending in an effort to enable the development of a UK designed nuclear power solution that can come forward at a cost that will support commercial investment and a role in the UK energy mix. There is wide agreement now that nuclear is an essential part of energy mix going forward and wider pathways to Net Zero. On a global basis, there’s lots of published data out there, e.g. International Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change 2014 makes a really strong case for nuclear, as does the World Nuclear Society, United Nations and others.
Engineering & Technology 17th Feb 2021 read more »