The work will span several areas of the university’s research and teaching programme. There will be a particular focus on building the workforce of the future and creating career opportunities linked to the offshore wind industry within the region, as well as furthering public and business engagement to achieve net zero.
The collaboration follows a successful pilot with students from the university securing paid placements within Vattenfall’s workforce to accelerate their learning and knowledge of working in industry.
Through skills programmes, collaboration on doctoral research programmes, and an expansion of the role of the UEA in the delivery of Vattenfall’s Norfolk Skills and Employment Strategy, a number of routes into the industry will be created to ensure that high paid, skilled opportunities come to the region,
Danielle Lane, UK country manager at Vattenfall said: “Vattenfall’s goal is to enable fossil-fuel free living within a generation. All of society should drive the journey and benefit from the move to net zero. So, we’re delighted to partner with the University of East Anglia – renowned globally for its climate science and innovation – to accelerate climate action in Norfolk and East Anglia.
”Offshore wind is an industry in which there is a role for everyone, regardless of their background, and there is a lot of interest from people thinking about what to do when they leave school, or who are considering a career change. We also know there is a looming skills gap in the energy industry. That’s why we’re working with the UEA to create routes into high skilled jobs for the region’s future generations.”
Prof. Fiona Lettice, pro-vice-chancellor for research and innovation, said: “Partnering with Vattenfall will enable UEA to accelerate our progress to help develop a clean energy future. We are keen to support the region to create a thriving offshore wind energy industry cluster. We look forward to exciting future opportunities for collaborative world-class research, innovation, and training activities.”
Prof Konstantinos Chalvatzis, ClimateUEA academic chair, said: “UEA is at the forefront of climate research and decarbonisation solutions. The renewable energy sector is key to achieving net zero, and offshore wind is the most promising technology for the UK. Collaborating with Vattenfall and the communities of Norfolk and Suffolk will enable our research and innovation strengths and expertise to support the delivery of the energy transition needed to help to address the global climate change challenge.
Prof Chris Atkin, head of engineering from UEA, said: “Our relationship with Vattenfall has provided invaluable opportunities for our students to apply and contextualise their learning to date. Building on this, we will work with Vattenfall to shape the aspirations and potential of our students to achieve.
"Their commitment to the development of our students strengthens their capabilities both technically and with respect to a wider skill set. UEA’s ambitious growth plans and investment in our engineering offering will see our energy engineering cohorts increase year on year creating a pathway to opportunities in the burgeoning offshore industry.”