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Sustainable Net Zero

Effective routes to accelerate the transition to sustainable Net Zero

Our region faces major challenges in moving to an equitable, sustainable Net Zero. The effects of climate change are already being felt by marginalised urban, rural and coastal communities, which are particularly vulnerable to flooding, heat stress, coastal erosion and a loss of biodiversity.

The GW4 Sustainable Net Zero strategic priority 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.

Applying a whole systems approach, the programme focuses on key themes in which GW4 has internationally competitive and complementary strength across the universities. Collectively we have critical mass in climate modelling, transport infrastructure and mobility, advanced engineering, data and digital innovation, circular economy, integrated energy systems (including nuclear, hydrogen and future fuels), water systems, health impacts, environmental intelligence, behaviour change, land use and food research, technology and nature-based carbon capture, and just transitions.

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.

We champion co-created solutions to local, regional, national and international challenges. In addition to supporting technological innovation, we work with trailblazer communities and through ‘what works’ living labs, deployed in partnership and at scale, building fairer and greener economies that recognise the need to reduce demand and consumption and embrace a circular economy through recycling, repairing and reusing.

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.

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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

The Sustainable Net Zero Programme is supported by research professionals embedded across the universities. Please contact your university representative for further details about the programme.

For further details about the Accelerating to Net Zero programme, please contact GW4 Research Development Manager (Net Zero), Dr Katie Lidster

Background 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.

GW4 Accelerating to Net Zero Stakeholder Workshop Exec  Summary


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 proposition here

University of Bath
University of Bristol
Cardiff University
University of Exeter