Tony Owen has become the inaugural director of University College London's first Australia-based campus.
Professor Owen, former professor of energy economics at Curtin University of Technology, Australia, has taken on the leadership of the UCL School of Energy and Resources, Australia (UCL SERAus), which plans to offer an industry-focused masters programme in energy and resources for students, and short executive courses aimed at managers in the energy industry.
Shortly after his marriage in 1974, he relocated to Australia in search of adventure and took on a lectureship in econometrics at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, where he "intended to stay for just three years". Professor Owen has been in Australia ever since and said that "the ensuing 35 years have passed by very quickly".
He said he believed that energy and resources policy were at the very heart of government thinking at the moment. "Low-carbon energy technologies are critical in both the power and the transport sectors to minimise the damage that will arise from climate change."
UCL SERAus is based in Adelaide, South Australia, a state that contains almost 40 per cent of the world's known recoverable uranium reserves, in an area that is considered especially important for containing valuable energy sources for the future.
The school has been created to tackle areas of skill shortage that have been identified by the Australian Government and industry. Professor Owen said: "The environmental impact of energy combustion, both locally and globally, necessitates the design of innovative market-based solutions and radical transformation of power technologies. This is one area that the school will be particularly well placed to address, in both teaching and research contexts."
Professor Owen has undertaken energy-related consulting roles in Australia, China, Denmark, Indonesia, Norway, the Philippines and the UK, and is a past president of the International Association for Energy Economics and founding member and president of the Australian Association for Energy Economics. He serves on the editorial boards of Energy Policy and Energy Sources.
At UCL SERAus, Professor Owen will also take up the Santos chair of energy and resources.