A bold response to the world’s greatest challenge

The University of Cambridge is building on its existing research and launching an ambitious new climate change initiative. We are calling on the world’s brightest and best to join us in creating a zero-carbon future.

How we’re different

Cambridge Zero is not just about developing greener technologies. It will harness the full range of the University’s research and policy expertise, developing solutions that work for our lives, our society and our economy.

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Dr Emily Shuckburgh

Dr Emily Shuckburgh OBE

A world-leading climate scientist and gifted science communicator, Dr Emily Shuckburgh is the Director of Cambridge Zero. She is also Reader in Environmental Data Science in the Department of Computer Science and Technology. In her previous role at the British Antarctic Survey she led a national research programme on polar climate change.

Our Stories

Ideas, insights and proposals from the Cambridge Zero network on advancing a zero-carbon world.
Listen to more stories weekly on Cambridge Zero Climate Talks.

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Cambridge Zero - First Six Months

Cambridge Zero: The First Six Months - A Progress Report

Cambridge Zero aims to bring together the collective expertise of the University to offer integrated, holistic and practical solutions to climate change and to bring these developments to bear at international, national and local levels. See what the project has achieved during its first six months.

20 August 2020

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News

The latest research highlights and discoveries from Cambridge Zero and our partners featured in the news.

"Cambridge Zero will help us imagine – and deliver – a better, healthier zero‑carbon future."

Professor Stephen J Toope, Vice-Chancellor

Pioneering research

Cambridge Zero is bringing together a portfolio of cutting-edge research.

Zero-carbon energy transformation

Developing next-generation power and heating systems, batteries, photovoltaics and turbine design, incorporating bioenergy and hydrogen economy and policies supporting an energy transition.

Health and society

Informing evidence-based policy to support individual and societal change through behavioural science, health and wellbeing research, and social studies, and incorporating climate risk into decision-making in health and social care.

Resources and production

Creating a zero-carbon circular economy incorporating sustainable industry and agriculture, resource efficiency, re-use of products, and recycling of embedded materials into durable new products.

Resilient futures

Building sustainability, climate risk assessment and adaptation measures into all financial processes and policy decisions, by applying artificial intelligence tools and thinking beyond GDP to redefine prosperity in terms of social and natural capital.

Transport, cities and infrastructure

Re-visioning mobility and urban planning by developing innovative solutions with autonomous vehicles, electric aircraft, district power systems, architectural design, and natural construction materials.

Carbon drawdown and climate repair

Advancing carbon capture, geological storage, industrial utilisation and carbon nanotube production, natural climate solutions, and exploration of the legal, ethical and technological dimensions of climate repair.

University research

Cambridge Zero connects research groups and institutes across the University, joining up their research and policy expertise. This includes* researchers and projects within:

* not all of the research conducted by these groups is relevant to Cambridge Zero.

Engaging partners

We are growing our existing external engagement and collaboration networks, actively seeking new partners to create a powerful platform for change.

Sustainability in business

The Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) works directly with senior leaders, CEOs and boards of leading companies to align their strategy and commercial decisions with the Paris Agreement and drive the transition to net zero across their operations.

The Hughes Hall Centre for Climate Change Engagement aims to increase awareness on company boards of the need for urgent action on climate change. It supports Chapter Zero, which provides a toolkit to help non-executive directors understand and respond to the impacts of climate change on their businesses.

Sustainable Industry

The Maxwell Centre links leading University research across Physical Sciences and Technology with industry and policy, to develop zero-carbon solutions and accelerate their uptake.

It provides collaborative working space for stakeholders and hosts the Cambridge components of the Henry Royce Institute for advanced materials research and the Faraday Institution, the UK’s independent institute for battery science and technology.

Evidence-based policy

The Centre for Science and Policy's mission is to improve public policy through the more effective use of evidence and expertise, by creating opportunities for public policy professionals and academics to learn from each other.

The Cambridge Conservation Initiative is a collaboration between nine leading conservation organisations and the University, catalysing strategic partnerships across research, education, policy and practice to transform global understanding and conservation of biodiversity and secure a sustainable future.

Entrepreneurship

Cambridge Enterprise supports the University in achieving knowledge transfer and research impact, by helping innovators, experts and entrepreneurs use commercial avenues to develop their ideas and expertise for the benefit of society.

Cambridge Cleantech unites the creators of new cleantech technologies with the financiers, partners and customers who can bring their products and services to fruition.

CISL’s Accelerator & Sustainability Hub helps local and regional entrepreneurs, SMEs and startups tackle the challenges of a transition to a sustainable economy.


Economic resilience

The Centre for Sustainable Finance helps financial institutions mitigate the physical risks of climate change on their portfolios and prepare for the risks and opportunities of transitioning to a low-carbon economy.

The Centre for Risk Studies engages with organisations to recognise, analyse and manage the impacts of systemic risks. The annual Cambridge Global Risk Index assesses the potential of multiple threats, including extreme weather events, to disrupt global economic activity.

Public engagement

Cambridge University Press is a leading publisher in the field of climate and sustainability. It is working directly with researchers and educators to develop a new open platform for early research and collaboration, Cambridge Open Engage.

University of Cambridge Museums is highlighting environmental challenges through Operation Survival, and a new exhibition on co-operation in the face of a changing climate.

The annual Cambridge Science Festival and Festival of Ideas provide public spaces to explore and discuss climate science, new technological advances and our role in shaping the future.

Inspiring leadership

We are training a new generation of creative and innovative leaders to respond to this urgent global challenge.

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Students working at the living lab
Current Students

Living lab

The Living Lab for Sustainability brings together students, academics and staff to test new ideas, apply research to practice, and develop new solutions for enhancing sustainability within the University.

Students bring enthusiasm and ideas, academics bring world-renowned expertise and research, and staff bring practical advice and assistance, leading to more innovative interventions and effective results.

Postgraduate Education

Doctoral training

Our doctoral training programmes provide the next generation of researchers with the skills they need to become interdisciplinary leaders and produce cutting-edge research.

Undergraduate Education

Sustainability in the curriculum

The University aims for all students to have access to formal or informal opportunities to develop their knowledge, skills and understanding relating to sustainability matters and solutions, and is consulting on how sustainability can be further embedded in the curriculum.

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Emily with children at the primary school
Primary Education

University primary school

The University of Cambridge Primary School is an inclusive, ambitious and innovative place of learning. By connecting primary educators with University researchers to create research-informed teaching resources and creative activities, it aims to support children to become agents of hope, able to contribute positively to their world.

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Policy challenges team
Current Students

Policy challenges collaboration

How can Cambridgeshire reach net zero emissions by 2050? Through the CUSPE Policy Challenges, a team of early-career researchers worked with the County Council to identify the required policy actions to achieve this goal.

Give to Cambridge Zero

Help Cambridge Zero develop solutions to the climate crisis and transition to a zero-carbon world.

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Leading by example

Cambridge is the first university in the world to adopt a science based target for carbon reduction, committing us to absolute zero by 2048. Our approach for achieving this is set out in our Carbon Reduction Strategy.

Reducing direct emissions

We are assessing options to significantly reduce the amount of gas the University uses for space and water heating, and will develop plans to meet our future heat demand through low or zero carbon technologies.

Renewable energy

We are one of a group of 20 UK universities that have joined forces to enter into a power purchase agreement, to secure 20% of our current electricity demand from a UK wind farm. We are assessing the feasibility of developing our own renewables.

Building for success

We are taking steps to ensure that lifecycle costs and carbon are key considerations in decisions relating to our development and refurbishment programme, utilising our own academic expertise in this area wherever possible.

Addressing indirect emissions

We are taking steps to better understand and reduce our indirect emissions, including those from flights, food and our wider supply chain. We will begin setting targets for these emissions this academic year.

Hospital for zero-carbon future

Cambridge Children’s, a new children’s hospital and research institute with Cambridge University Hospitals and the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Foundation Trust, aims to be an exemplar in carbon reduction as part of its role in providing a safer and more sustainable future for all.

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