AN energy industry training and research body will increase its focus on decarbonisation after securing its future with £2.5million of funding from NEO Energy.

The Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Geoscience and the Low Carbon Energy Transition, which follows the success of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) CDT model, will be a collaboration between UK higher education partners, research institutions and industry partners.

Led by John Underhill, professor of exploration geoscience at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, the CDT has 128 PhD students whose expertise can be used across the energy and environmental sectors.

The funding from NEO will begin in 2020 and will secure

the CDT for seven years, as well as provide the opportunity to refine its research and training themes.

The new projects will focus on understanding the geology of the UK continental shelf (UKCS) and finding solutions to our energy challenges.

Professor Underhill said: “The £2.5m award is a massive endorsement of the CDT and underlines its success, value and relevance to the geoscience community, academia, industry and government.

“Extending the scope of the CDT to tackle the challenge of sustainable resource management and the crucial role the subsurface will play in the low-carbon energy transition is a natural evolution.

“The research undertaken will cover the full spectrum of topics from carbon storage and geothermal energy to sustainable oil and gas resource management.

“The energy industry’s continued financial support for the CDT’s Training Academy demonstrates the importance it places on students having specialist, in-depth knowledge and the right technical skillsets to understand and manage the subsurface.”

Glenn Corrie, chief executive of NEO Energy, said the firm was proud to invest the funds, adding that he CDT had been a success so far.

“Supporting initiatives like this is vital in securing the long-term future of mature basins, such as the UKCS, and the CDT is a unique, vital organisation that benefits academia, the energy industry and environmental science across the UK and beyond,” he said.

The previous CDT was first funded by NERC in 2014 and represented a £3m investment.

A further £10m was raised from government, higher education, research centre and eight industry partners.