Professor Jim Watson has been appointed to the post of research director of the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC).

Currently director of the Sussex Energy Group, professor Watson has a well respected record of research and policy advice in the field of energy systems. He has served as specialist advisor to Parliamentary Select Committees, was previously chair of the British Institute for Energy Economics, and holds a number of public and private sector advisory positions.

Professor Watson will be responsible for leading and coordinating UKERC’s research programme, working closely with the researcher community, stakeholders and partners. He will also play a key role in defining the centre’s strategy, structure, and programmes for its next phase beyond the current funding period, which ends in 2014.

John Loughhead, executive director of UKERC, said, “We are all extremely pleased to have Jim move into this key position for UKERC. His research has already made a major contribution to our work, and his vision for the future will be the core of our planning. I look forward enormously to working closely with him.”

Watson said, “I am delighted to have the opportunity to become research director of UKERC, an organisation that has a strong and growing national and international reputation for policy relevant, interdisciplinary energy research. I look forward to working with the UKERC community to build on UKERC’s achievements to date – and to successfully secure funding for a new phase of research beyond 2014.”

David Delpy, chief executive of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), said, “The direction of energy research and policy over the coming years is going to be vitally important in addressing the UK’s energy needs and the global challenges we face in the shape of climate change and sustainability. Jim Watson’s role will be a pivotal one and EPSRC welcomes his appointment.”