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The Net Zero Innovation Institute officially launched

6 October 2023

Cardiff University has launched a new innovation institute which is helping to shape our sustainable future.

The need to reduce human-made greenhouse gases and achieve net zero is arguably the greatest and most urgent challenge our world has faced since the industrial revolution. Part of the route to net zero is mapped, but there is a critical need to expand renewable energy potential, reduce and capture carbon emissions, and foster a more sustainable economy, grounded in the latest research.

To meet this research need, we are proud to officially launch the Net Zero Innovation Institute. The institute’s focus is on real-world, applicable solutions that are driven by collaboration and partnership with leading public, private, and third sector partners. Its mission is to shape our sustainable future by bringing together the most talented, forward-thinking, and multi-disciplinary research minds from a range of fields, including physical sciences, engineering, built environment, social sciences, arts and humanities, biosciences and geosciences and planning.

Image shows a room of people being addressed by two men
Professor Agustin Valera-Medina and Professor Duncan Wass, Co-Directors of the Net Zero Innovation Institute, addressing the event attendees.

The institute’s research is grounded in three key areas – understanding the resources we have available in meeting net zero; asking if it’s possible to mitigate climate impacts by using science and engineering; and supporting the long-term transition to a greener economy.

Within these key areas are several research themes which focus and showcase the best of the institute’s research. Its core themes are areas where we have internationally leading critical mass across many individual researchers, and include catalysis, zero carbon fuels, low carbon-built environments, compound semi-conductors, whole systems analysis, and policy and social transformations.

The launch took place on Tuesday 19 September, at the university’s Bute Exhibition Space. The event showcased the valuable work being undertaken by the institute, and included presentations from the co-directors, expert colleagues from across the university, and an expert panel which included representatives from GW4, Welsh Government, the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales office, and the International Fugitive Emissions Abatement Association. A keynote address was delivered by Gerard Davies, Senior Portfolio Manager for Energy and Decarbonisation at the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. Guests included researchers from Cardiff University and beyond, Welsh Government representatives, and key external partners including Dŵr Cymru, Western Gateway Partnership, and Environment Platform Wales.

Professor Agustin Valera-Medina, Co-Director of the institute, said: “Our launch was a great opportunity to bring together schools from across the university to develop a holistic approach to finding solutions to achieve net zero. Our institute promises a space for everyone to join the efforts in finding alternatives to our current ways of producing, consuming, capturing, and distributing CO2, and recognises the university as a European hub for innovation on this critical subject."

Our interdisciplinary approach will be vital in delivering solutions to minimise our populations’ environmental impact whilst achieving our global decarbonisation objectives.
Professor Agustin Valera-Medina Co-Director of the Net Zero Innovation Institute
Professor - Teaching and Research

The Net Zero Innovation Institute is part of a £5.4 million investment from the university in five innovation and research institutes to tackle the biggest issues facing society, the economy, and the environment.

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