Newcastle to train next generation of global change scientists

Multimillion pound centre between Newcastle University and Northumbria University will train scientists to transform our understanding of planet Earth.

Funding for ONE Planet was announced today (Wednesday 10 October) by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and comes in the same week that the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change declared that limiting global warming to 1.5°C requires rapid, far reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society.

The universities’ world leading research and expertise in climate change, earth systems and the environment were key to the success of the funding application.

Researchers joining the programme will study a diverse range of topics including earthquakes and volcanoes, pollution, weather extremes, sea level change, and frozen environments such as the ice caps and glaciers.

The partnership includes more than 40 local and national business, government and industry partners including the Environment Agency, the National Trust, Northumbrian Water Group, and a host of other engineering, environmental and charitable organisations.

Hayley Fowler, Professor of Climate Change Impacts at Newcastle University (pictured above), will lead the programme and said: "To really understand how our planet is changing we need to work across subject disciplines and explore the connections between human activity and the Earth's natural systems. The period where humanity is now the key agent in planetary-scale change is termed ‘The Anthropocene’. Our researchers will learn in an interdisciplinary environment which will give them the skillset required to analyse and design the responses needed to address intensifying global change."

Fowler, who leads part of the World Climate Research Programme and is an expert in the impacts of climate change on water systems, added:

"We are going to be working across science, engineering, statistics, agriculture, history, planning and many other disciplines. Both universities in the city have established world leading research in many different aspects of The Anthropocene and by working together we will produce researchers and leaders who can design the responses we need to the ways in which our planet is changing."

Ulrich Salzmann, Professor of Palaeoecology at Northumbria University, said:

“Our vision is to provide a training environment for independent research scientists and future leaders that develops innovative new ways to analyse and design the sustainable responses needed to address intensifying global change.

“We are very much looking forward to working with Newcastle University on training the next generation of independent research scientists and future leaders as part of our new One Planet NERC Doctoral Training Partnership."

The training programme will use specialist research facilities at both universities including Newcastle University’s Blyth Marine Station and research vessel, Urban Observatory, University Farms, and Northumbria University’s Cold and Paleoenvironment Research Laboratories. There is scope too for researchers to influence governmental policy and there will also be an annual event that will share progress, results and debate with the public.

Independent public survey on what people think about climate change

Monday 15 October sees the launch Green Great Britain Week. Introduced by the Government earlier this year, it will be a celebration of Clean Growth.

As part of the week an independent survey is capturing what people in the UK think about climate change. The 10 question survey will be given on Monday, 15 October on Northumberland Street near Haymarket Metro station.

Questions from the survey will be put to a panel of climate scientists, including Prof Fowler, at a livestreamed “Climate Question Time” public event at Leeds Civic Hall on 18 October, 19.00-20.30.

A list of all successful projects can be found on the NERC website.

published on: 11 October 2018

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