Minister for energy and climate change Greg Barker has announced £26 million funding from two research councils to support energy efficiency policy and contribute to cutting carbon use and greenhouse gas emissions in the UK.

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) will provide financial support to five new so-called 'end use energy demand' (EUED) research centres that will look into the complexities of energy use across society and how energy can be both saved and used more efficiently. A further £13 million will come from industrial partners.

The announcement forms part of the government's energy efficiency strategy published today.

Barker said, “We have now put energy efficiency at the very heart of the government’s energy policy. Using energy more wisely is absolutely vital in a world of increased pressure on resources and rising prices. Not only can energy efficiency help save money on bills and cut emissions, it can support green jobs, innovation and enterprise.

“The five new end use energy demand centres launched today will play an important role in improving our understanding of how energy is used across the nation, helping us learn more about what needs to be done to change consumer and business behaviour. I wish these centres every success and look forward to seeing the results.”

Professor David Delpy, EPSRC’s Chief Executive, said: “We had a tremendous response from the academic community to this call. In all 38 proposals were submitted and many displayed unique approaches. The five centres chosen were considered to have best demonstrated that they could develop internationally leading research and apply it to help meet the Government’s 2050 challenges.”

Professor Paul Boyle, Chief Executive of the ESRC, said: “I believe the interdisciplinary nature of these centres will help us to better understand the challenges faced to meet our future energy needs. The centres must work together to ensure that the full potential impact of their programmes is realised. They will engage with the public, interact with users and promote synergies between the research projects which the ESRC fully supports.”