Durham University leads new £21.3m national research hub to decarbonise UK maritime sector

Durham University will lead a new £21.3m national research partnership focussed on decarbonising the UK maritime sector.

The UK National Clean Maritime Research Hub (UK-MaRes Hub) aims to accelerate the decarbonisation and elimination of air pollution from maritime activity in ports and at sea.

As well as environmental impacts, the Hub will also focus on the potential economic and social benefits of transitioning to a clean maritime future.

The UK-MaRes Hub was announced today (Thursday 14 September) by the UK Government’s Maritime Minister, Baroness Vere of Norbiton, during London International Shipping Week. She was joined by the Director of the UK-MaRes Hub, Professor Tony Roskilly, Chair of Energy Systems in the Department of Engineering at Durham University.

The Hub will carry out innovative research in sustainable marine fuels and their safe use, low-carbon power and propulsion systems for shipping, decarbonised port operations and infrastructure, improved maritime operations and vessel efficiency.

The UK-MaRes Hub is a consortium of 13 universities led by Durham and including researchers from Aston, Birmingham, Brighton, City, Cranfield, Liverpool, Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield, Solent, St Andrews and Ulster universities.

The Hub also brings together over 70 industrial, civic and international organisations as project partners, including shipping companies, ports, equipment and service providers, fuel producers and civic bodies.

Key elements of the Hub will be the Clean Maritime Research Partnership which will work with partners across the maritime sector to co-create future research activity, a Clean Maritime Network+, with activity across the UK to share knowledge and best practice, and a Clean Maritime Policy Unit to provide advice, evidence, and briefings to inform policy.

Any organisation which can contribute to the research goals of the Hub is invited to express an interest in joining by emailing: info.clean-maritime-research-hub@durham.ac.uk.

Professor Tony Roskilly, Director of the UK-MaRes Hub, at Durham University, who has over 30 years’ experience in maritime related research, said: “Our vision is to create a pioneering research hub providing technically, environmentally, socially and economically informed ways to decarbonise the maritime sector.

“The UK-MaRes Hub will harness the depth, breadth and diversity of research being undertaken in the UK to foster collaboration, drive forward innovation and transformation, and set a global benchmark for excellence in maritime research.”

Funding for the Hub includes £7.4m from the UKRI-Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the UK Government’s Department for Transport, with an additional £13.9m financial and in-kind match funding from consortium universities and project partners.

Professor Miles Padgett, Interim Executive Chair of EPSRC, said: “Investing in research and innovation is crucial to achieve the UK’s ambitious target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

“Domestic shipping emits more polluting gases than buses and rail combined. A maritime research hub will bring together world-leading expertise and support the sector to develop and commercialise clean maritime fuels and technologies.”

The UK-MaRes Hub is part of a new package of clean maritime measures, unveiled by the UK’s Transport Secretary today (14 September).

Transport Secretary Mark Harper said: “With 95 per cent of the UK’s trade happening by sea, the maritime sector is vital to our country’s economic output but it’s also one of the biggest contributors to the UK’s emissions.

“That’s why it’s so important that we focus on how decarbonising maritime can help grow the economy – today’s package helps create highly skilled jobs and supports the levelling up of our coastal communities.”

Maritime Minister Baroness Vere said: “The UK maritime sector is a world leader in green shipping practices but the journey towards a fully decarbonised sector by 2050 requires us to continue innovating, pushing forward and building on that status.

“With the world’s mariners focusing on London this week, it’s fantastic to once again show how the UK continues to be a driving force in the industry through our new Clean Maritime Day package.”



Additional information


Professor Tony Roskilly, Director of the UK-MaRes Hub, in the Department of Engineering at Durham University, will be at London International Shipping Week (LISW) until Friday 15th September. For interviews, please call mobile: +44 (0)7899908939 or email: Anthony.p.roskilly@durham.ac.uk.

Alternatively, please contact Durham University Marketing and Communications Office on communications.team@durham.ac.uk.

About Durham University

Durham University is a globally outstanding centre of teaching and research based in historic Durham City in the UK.

We are a collegiate university committed to inspiring our people to do outstanding things at Durham and in the world.

We conduct boundary-breaking research that improves lives globally and we are ranked as a world top 100 university with an international reputation in research and education (QS World University Rankings 2023).

We are a member of the Russell Group of leading research-intensive UK universities and we are consistently ranked as a top 10 university in national league tables (Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide, Guardian University Guide and The Complete University Guide).

For more information about Durham University visit: www.durham.ac.uk/about-us/

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