GW4 Accelerating to Net Zero

As a regional anchor, GW4 aims to lead the UK and the world in accelerating to Net Zero emissions. The climate emergency is an urgent and fundamental challenge, with transport accounting for a large portion of the problem. Decarbonising transport is a key strategic policy of the UK Government, which has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to ‘Net Zero’ by 2050. We are harnessing our research excellence, regional assets and world-class facilities to develop and deliver sustainable and socially inclusive mobility, placing our region and the UK at the forefront of global efforts to reach Net Zero.

GW4 Accelerating to Net Zero illustration

The GW4 Accelerating to Net Zero transformational project brings together GW4 researchers, government, industry, and communities to better understand the challenges and priorities faced by different sectors in our region, and identify opportunities to collaborate on innovative solutions.

We will Accelerate to Net Zero:

  • Further: Reaching beyond our region, beyond academia and beyond disciplines – we will collaborate with our communities, government, and industry partners to test and deliver interdisciplinary solutions scalable for the whole of the UK and internationally.
  • Faster: Working together will accelerate opportunities –recognising where swift but beneficial and long-lasting changes can be made.
  • Fairer: Developing innovative whole system solutions, with equitable approaches through co-creation.


Applying a whole systems approach, the project will focus on key themes in which GW4 has internationally competitive and complementary strength across the universities – aviation, maritime, road and rail, digital technologies, and social sciences.

To enable rapid decarbonisation, there is growing consensus that low carbon hydrogen represents a key opportunity to transform our heating and interconnected transport systems. Hydrogen also provides the unique possibility for new cross-sector business partnerships and sector coupling in a way that is currently impossible. GW4 is working to build research excellence across the universities and working with industry to respond to the challenges of using hydrogen as an alternative fuel source.

GW4 Net Zero pillars-2022

Our aim is to turn the GW4 region into a whole system Net Zero testbed, where ideas and innovative solutions can be trialled. GW4’s regional diversity provides a unique opportunity to explore and test equitable transitions to Net Zero. Our geography covers two national governments, two health systems, includes areas with among the highest and lowest deprivation rates, and rural, urban and city areas.

As a living lab testbed for sustainable mobility, the project will explore interdependences and opportunities that can be applied across the UK and beyond to accelerate to Net Zero.

Underpinning these themes is the importance of digital innovation. As a region, we have taken a leading role in developing the digital technologies that are transforming people’s lives. We will continue to build on our digital capability across the region to support faster implementation of new and existing technological solutions.

As part of our Net Zero ambitions, GW4 submitted a proposition to the government’s 2021 Comprehensive Spending Review open call. Our proposition focuses on the regional opportunity to make genuine shifts and switches that will achieve sustainable mobility.

Download the GW4 Alliance Programme – Accelerating to Net Zero (.pdf)

Project Team

Academic Ambassadors from each GW4 university have been identified to help initially lead and build on this vision. However, achieving and sustaining this transformational project will require the involvement and expertise of many others, from all disciplines, so we encourage all those with an interest to get in touch.

GW4 Net Zero Academic Ambassadors





University project team representatives

Research Development Manager (Net Zero)

Dr Katie Lidster



For further details about the Accelerating to Net Zero programme, please contact GW4 Research Development Manager (Net Zero), Dr Katie Lidster or contact your GW4 university project team representative.

As the programme of work develops we are seeking to bring together researchers, government, industry and communities to understand the challenges facing our region and identify opportunities to collaborate. If you would like to be involved, please leave your details below and we will keep you updated with potential opportunities to collaborate.

    Personal information will only be collected and/or processed by the GW4 in accordance with the GDPR. More information.

    Find out more about our previous stakeholder workshop, held in May 2021, which brought together industry, local authorities, national governments, funders and other regional organisations. The stakeholder workshop confirmed that our research strengths and innovation can respond to the challenges different sectors and our region face in achieving Net Zero. Download the GW4 Accelerating to Net Zero Stakeholder Workshop Exec Summary (.pdf)

    Download the GW4 Accelerating to Net Zero leaflet (.pdf)

    Download the GW4 Accelerating to Net Zero brochure (.pdf)