Integrating the UK research and innovation space with Energy 4 Impact (E4I) and the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN)
The LCEDN is working collaboratively with Energy 4 Impact (whose key expertise lies in catalysing market opportunities for energy sector entrepreneurs and innovators in developing country markets) and the Knowledge Transfer Network (who have unique expertise on the UK innovation landscape). This collaboration provides a vehicle through which research, commercial innovation needs and regionally relevant entrepreneur support can be linked to deliver direct social and economic benefit to the Global South while supporting the UK research and innovation communities. There is a particular focus on facilitating SME engagement. The collaboration builds upon the KTN experience in providing cross-sectorial innovation to both UK and, via Newton Fund Translation activities, developing world markets. Targeted linking of UK university and UK industrial organisations will enable the development of richer project and research collaborations that are better able to, not only secure funding from future HMG ODA initiatives but, crucially, also deliver tangible benefit to both UK and partner country communities. E4I’s knowledge of the off-grid energy sector, particularly in Africa, and its network, enables us to ensure programme design is informed by strong, real-time market intelligence.
Overall, this work revolves around the scoping of potential directions for large-scale innovation initiatives in the UK energy and development arena identifying appropriate routes for catalysing and strengthening multi-lateral and cross-sectorial links between UK and partner country actors across specific research and enterprise communities (as identified under the scoping activity). In particular, we seek to nurture the establishment of ‘energy & development’ regional research/innovation hubs, designed to actively collaborate and successfully bid for ODA funds and catalyse a number of new academic/private sector collaborations. These hubs would be modelled around the combined experience and expertise represented by the LCEDN, Energy4Impact and KTN consortium and thus address the complete value chain from research through innovation development to locally tailored investment support. It is expected that this will lead to a range of UK-led energy innovations developed, tested and scaling in developing countries by 2020.
Energy 4 Impact (E4I):
Energy 4 Impact is a non-profit organisation working with local businesses to extend access to energy in Africa. E4I’s philosophy is that businesses can offer the best solutions to lack of access to energy – one of the most pervasively debilitating aspects of poverty that holds back sub-Saharan Africa’s development. For businesses to grow and markets to expand, certain resources need to be in place, and in much of the developing world they are hard to come by: technology, skills, delivery networks and capital. E4Is activities are, therefore, designed to help businesses overcome these gaps, and so to flourish, build markets and expand energy access in the form of energy-efficient cookstoves, briquettes, solar lighting and home systems, biogas and mini-grid electrification. E4I work in East and West Africa and operate from regional offices as well as a head office in London. The executive team reports to a Board of Trustees comprising private sector and development experts in renewable energy technology, energy policy, finance and investment. The organization, formerly known as GVEP International, was registered as a UK charity in 2007. It evolved from a partnership between the World Bank, UNDP and other bi-lateral donors, launched at the World Summit for Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2002.
Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN):
The Knowledge Transfer Network is the UK's innovation network. It brings together business, entrepreneurs, academics and funders to develop new products, processes and services. The role of the Energy Community within the KTN is to simplify the UK Energy Innovation landscape by providing a clear and focused vehicle for the rapid transfer of high-quality information on technologies, markets, funding and partnering opportunities. The result will be an acceleration of developing technologies up the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) ladder. It does this by: (a) providing UK industry and supply chain players with the opportunities to meet and network with businesses, academia, utilities and other energy innovation stakeholders, and the private investment community, in the UK and internationally; (b) providing clarity regarding the issues affecting innovative energy technology exploitation at various stages along the innovation pipeline, (c) enabling effective knowledge transfer between all relevant people and organisations, in particular ensuring a match between utility and industrial needs, and supply-chain technology/research capabilities and (d) encouraging the flow of people, knowledge and experience between policy groups, industry, the science base and the utility/generating community, with the common aim of delivering products and services that meet a clear energy need and are commercially attractive.