Energy Academy
An international centre of excellence and a gateway to Heriot-Watt's energy research and training activities



FLEDGE 2017Fledgling


The Energy Academy has up to £22500 to support small, multi-disciplinary research projects that are expected to commence in January 2018 and be completed by 30th June 2018

Fledge funding is intended to be a means of developing new ideas and to create the evidence/results that will lead to something of greater substance, whether a larger grant or a new business partnership or opportunity. It’s intended to support research that can take an idea from one level to the next and to stimulate collaboration across the University.


We will support projects that concern the generation (wind, solar, W&T, geothermal,hydroelectric and use of biomass) transmission, supply, management and use of renewable energy and security of supply, including for example but not limited to smart grids, energy storage, energy networks, that that enable the development of more efficient renewable energy systems, driving down costs and leading to the decarbonisation of the energy supply and reduction of greehouse gases and other pollutants. Projects that address policy and factors that influence the cost of energy are also encouraged.

Projects should be for work that is consistent with the University's ambition to undertake world-class and collaborative research aligned to the strategic themes of Sustainable Energy; Resilient Communities and Digital Transformation.:


The Fledge 2017 grant funding is availaible to all Heriot-Watt researchers whether you are based in Edinburgh, the Borders, Orkney or on our Dubai and Malaysia campuses (if you are not a Heriot-Watt researcher,we're sorry if you've come across this page and are now thinking of making an application. We can only fund researchers employed by our University. If you think you have a project where a small grant would help develop the research, and you are willing to match any grant we might make in cash terms and think there's a Heriot-Watt researcher that might be interested in working with you, we would like to hear from you).

What makes a good Fledge Project?

  • Projects must involve at least two participating Schools and be multi-disciplinary;
  • Applicants must demonstrate that the project proposed has the potential to lead to significant follow on research activity and future high REF impact. This could include approaches that shorten the time between discovery of knowledge and the point at which it can deliver benefit (to find out more about how the University considers 'impact' please contact Carolyn Brock (; +44 131 451 3072)
  • An application and project will also be strengthened by direct external involvement and engagement and the leverage of at least matched funding of an external partner where you can demonstrate how this contributes to the project.  


Download the application form here

Case Study

Biofouling Solutions for Marine Renewables: Knowledge Network Development

Orkney is an important region for the large-scale deployment and testing of wave and tidal energy converting devices. It has a rich, local tradition of working in the sea and a well-developed infrastructure supporting the marine energy sector including the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) that was established in 2003 in Stromness to test marine energy extraction devices in the surrounding waters.

A major challenge to industries working in the marine environment is biofouling - the settlement and growth of organisms on submerged structures. The hydrodynamic and mechanical consequences of biofouling organisms on moving structures such as marine turbines include inreases to surface weight and roughness thereby impacting drag and survivability of devices; decreased efficiency of energy generation; wear and tear due to accelerated corrosion of marine metals that could affect subsea connectors as well as the creation of habitats for the spread of fouling communities. Andrew Want and Joanee Porter, two Heriot-Watt researchers working at the International Centre for Island Communities on Orkney argued that being able to apply innovative solutions in combination with understanding how biofouling occurs could help to increase the productivity of energy generated enabling the W&T industry contribute to Scotland's targets for renewable energy production.

Through a small Fledge grant, Andrew and Jo were able to work with personnel from EMEC to consider how best to mitigate against fouling from barnacles, calcified worms, kelp, hydroids and bryozoans and how these impact the fouling of artifical structure  deployment and maintenance schedules. This resulted in the initiation of a monitoring programme at the EMEC test site in Orkney, the devevelopment of management schedules for preventative management and the creation of a network of renewable energy developers and biofouling experts able to develop innovative solutions and seek further funding for this area of research.

Two years on, Jo and Andrew have just learned that they have been successful at winning further funding as a consequence of the work supported through Fledge. They have just won a prestigious Fellowship from the NERC leveraging £46,000 to study the biofouling of marine renewable energy environments and have signed a further agreement with EMEC to work with Brunel University to develop protocols for mitigation against biofouling of marine renewable energy platforms.



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