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Central Beds is set to lead the way in developing renewable energy as Cranfield University is granted £7.8million to train engineers.

The government funding will see 50 students enrol on an engineering doctorate course with the university’s Centre of Renewable Energy Marine Structures (REMS) over the next five years.

The department, led by Professor Feargal Brennan, has evolved from 30 years of research into the offshore oil and gas sector and now includes research into wave, tidal stream and wind power.

Professor Brennan said: “Offshore and marine renewable energy is one of the most exciting areas for talented young mechanical and structural engineers beginning their careers.

“The REMS Centre, working alongside other national initiatives, will ensure the UK leads the world in the development, implementation and cost-effective operation of offshore structures for wind, wave and tidal power.”

The new department will go under the title Centre for Structural Integrity and Materials for Offshore Wind and Marine Renewable Energy. It will run in partnership with the Department of Engineering Science at the University of Oxford.

Prof Brennan added: “Our partnership with Oxford University, which has been at the forefront of academic developments for over 30 years in offshore geotechnics, particularly for foundation design, brings together unprecedented world-class research and training expertise in offshore and marine structures.”

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) funding was announced by Chancellor George Osbourne on Monday and will see 22 new centres for doctoral training open in universities across the country.

Cranfield University will also work in partnership with the centre planned for Warwick University, which will focus on sustainable materials and manufacturing.

REMS is the second EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training at Cranfield. The STREAM programme, an Industrial Doctoral Centre for the water sector, was awarded funding in January.

Cranfield University is a postgraduate institution with a worldwide reputation for expertise in aerospace, automotive, defence and security, environment, energy, health, and manufacturing.