The Chief Scientific Adviser for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ) has visited the University of Leeds to meet researchers at the forefront of tackling climate change.
Professor Paul Monks outlined the Government’s priorities for science and innovation, energy and net zero, while University leaders and academics shared Leeds’ Climate Plan and Net Zero commitments.
Professor Monks delivers independent and impartial scientific advice to ministers and policymakers on key subjects including the role of science in supporting sustainable, resilient and measurable net zero and the challenges of delivering national and global decarbonisation.
He was Chief Scientific Adviser for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) from 2020 to 2023. Before joining BEIS, he was Pro-Vice Chancellor and Head of College of Science and Engineering at the University of Leicester, where he remains a Professor in Atmospheric Chemistry and Earth Observation Science.
His background in atmospheric chemistry has involved collaborating with many researchers at the University of Leeds.
Professor Monks attended a round table discussion chaired by Professor Nick Plant, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Innovation, to discuss key capabilities at the University of Leeds that align with Government priority areas.
He also met with researchers at different career stages, working in areas including hydrogen, long duration energy storage, biomass and home heating, and toured facilities in Civil and Electrical Engineering and the Bragg Centre for Materials Research.
Professor Plant presented on the University’s Climate Plan and Net Zero commitments, while Professor Steve Tobias and Professor Cath Noakes outlined the work of the Leeds Institute for Fluid Dynamics (LIFD).
Guests also heard from Professor Peter Taylor, Professor of Sustainable Energy Systems in the Centre for Integrated Energy Research and a Co-Director of Energy Leeds.
Our world-leading research and education is playing a key role in building a fairer and more sustainable future, and achieving this ambitious target will take a collaborative effort across the entire University community.”
Professor Paul Monks, Chief Scientific Adviser for the DESNZ, said: “Engaging with the stakeholder community around the science, research and development challenges involved in achieving energy security and net zero targets, whilst exploring how government can work more collaboratively with the academic network is important for both understanding the science capability across the UK, and ensuring policy is supported by robust scientific advice.”
Professor Nick Plant, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Innovation at the University of Leeds, said: “As part of our Climate Plan, the University of Leeds has committed to a 2030 net zero greenhouse gas target. Our world-leading research and education is playing a key role in building a fairer and more sustainable future, and achieving this ambitious target will take a collaborative effort across the entire University community.
“It was a pleasure to discuss this work with Professor Monks and explore opportunities for our world-leading research to support the Government in their Net Zero ambitions.”
Dr Cynthia Kusin Okoro-Shekwaga, Senior Research Fellow at the School of Civil Engineering, who led one of the laboratory tours, added: “Professor Monks was able to view our modern laboratories and facilities where we run key energy projects around sustainable engineering structures, smart energy and circular economy research.
“The visit was a welcome opportunity to understand first-hand how our work aligns with the Government’s priorities for energy and net zero.”
For further information, please contact Richard Abbott in the University of Leeds press office.
Photo caption: (left to right) - Dr Veronica Sanchez-Romaguera, Research and Innovation Development Manager, University of Leeds; Dr Andrew Lee, Centre Manager, Bragg Centre for Materials Research, University of Leeds; Prof Paul Monks, Chief Scientific Advisor, Department for Energy Security and Net Zero; Prof Steve Tobias, Professor of Applied Mathematics, Director of Leeds Institute for Fluid Dynamics, University of Leeds; Dr Faye Robinson, Head of Research Development, University of Leeds; Arpan Patel, UKRI Policy Intern, Department for Energy Security and Net Zero.