Launched in 2013, ReFINE was formed after trans-European discussions between scientists, policy-makers and the petroleum industry identified the need for unbiased research into the potential effects of shale gas exploitation.
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The consortium, led by Professor Richard Davies, Professor of geo-energy at Newcastle University, in conjunction with colleagues at Durham, Cambridge, Stanford, Strathclyde, Keele and Hull universities, adheres to strict impartiality with research topics prioritised by an Independent Science Board (ISB).
The consortium is primarily funded by Ineos, with contributions from the Natural Environment Research Council, Environment Agency and the EU. ReFINE has previously been funded by Shell, Total, Chevron, GDF Suez and Centrica. The Department for Energy and Climate Change, the European Commission Joint Research Centre and the British Geological Survey participate in an advisory-stakeholder capacity. The consortium has the support of organisations such as the Geological Society of London, the Bulgarian Geological Society and the Royal Society of Chemistry.
Although partly funded by the energy industry, ReFINE enforces strict governance and ethical procedures to ensure that funders have no control over the research that is undertaken or published.