Future research leaders selected to explore innovate transitions to Net Zero

January 26, 2021

30 researchers from across the GW4 Alliance (Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter) have been selected to take part in GW4 Crucible 2021, with the theme ‘Transitions to Net Zero in the time of COVID-19’.

The GW4 Crucible programme encourages innovative researchers to explore new interdisciplinary and collaborative approaches to global challenges.

Even before COVID-19 highlighted the need to ‘build back better’, the climate crisis has been the largest enduring global, anthropogenic threat to humanity. This year’s GW4 Crucible offers the opportunity for future research leaders to come together to generate innovative, multifaceted responses to tackle this challenge.

It is widely accepted a multidisciplinary approach will be required to bring about the transformative change necessary to achieve net zero. The 30 successful applicants hail from a variety of disciplines, from environmental physics and architectural engineering to marine biology, health sciences, computer science, social justice, and political geography.

Now in its fifth year, GW4 Crucible provides hands-on training and mentoring to develop collaborative research leaders of the future.

The programme consists of three, 2-day workshops known as “labs” which include interactive sessions, guest speakers, talks and activities. This year all three labs will be held online due to COVID-19 restrictions. Participants benefit from career development skills, networking opportunities, creative development, enhanced visibility with senior academic staff across GW4 and beyond, and increased understanding of policy impact and public engagement.

GW4 Director, Dr Jane Khawaja said: “We are delighted to launch this year’s Crucible programme focusing on interdisciplinary approaches to transitioning to Net Zero, set against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic. Climate is one of our key strategic research themes and we believe GW4 is uniquely placed to address this global challenge, due to both our regional ecosystem and the complementary critical mass of expertise across our institutions.

“Our region is home to more climate-related expertise than any other region worldwide. GW4 Crucible demonstrates the value of bringing together our researchers from across different disciplines to develop new approaches and exciting collaborations. I welcome our new cohort and look forward to sharing their successes over the coming months.”

Previous GW4 Crucible participants include Dr Des Fitzgerald, from Cardiff University, who went on to be selected as a New Generation Thinker by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). Fellow participants Dr Victoria Bates, University of Bristol, and Dr Adrian Healy, Cardiff University, both went on to receive UKRI Future Leaders Fellowships.

Dr Healy said: “GW4 Crucible provides an excellent forum through which to meet other like-minded researchers. The fact that it is organised around particular themes offers real potential to those involved, and the GW4 Universities, to build lasting communities of interdisciplinary research, addressing some of the critical challenges facing our societies today. Personally, I continue to value the insights I gained from GW4 Crucible and which proved valuable in developing my Fellowship.”

Find out more about our new cohort of successful researchers for Crucible 2021 and follow the programme using #GW4Crucible on Twitter.