Fresh £40m boost for net zero cities, climate change, biodiversity research

Scientists at the universities of Cambridge, Exeter, Glasgow and Oxford will work towards developing solutions to key challenges facing the UK

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Fresh funding worth £40 million has been announced for four studies that aim to tackle key challenges facing the UK as it adapts to climate change and moves towards a net zero carbon economy.

Scientists at the universities of Cambridge, Exeter, Glasgow and Oxford will work towards developing solutions to four issues: achieving net zero cities, biodiversity loss, helping rural communities adapt to climate change and providing timely data, analysis and evidence for policy decisions.

The Glasgow living lab programme, GALLANT, will help Glasgow move towards climate resilience whilst tackling health, social and economic inequalities and researchers from the University of Cambridge will tackle environmental threats to nearly half of the UK’s home-grown vegetables and more than a quarter of its rare endangered wild animals.

In addition, the University of Oxford’s AGILE project will undertake rapid six-month “sprint studies” to better provide scientific expertise and data into the government’s environmental policymaking, including decarbonising shipping and carbon capture and storage (CCS) whilst researchers at the University of Exeter will work with the National Trust to investigate and tackle biodiversity loss through partnerships and community action.

They have received £10 million each from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) to bring together teams for the research projects.

Professor Sir Duncan Wingham, Executive Chair of NERC said: “As COP26 has shown, it’s imperative that we invest in world-leading science to find solutions now to climate change and recovery of our natural environment.

“This investment by NERC will enable an ambitious step change in how the best science from across different disciplines can come together to address major environmental challenges facing the UK and support the transition to a net zero and nature-positive future.”