Highlighting the significance of collaboration for solving complex sustainability challenges, the Institute for Sustainability’s (IfS) Summer Showcase, held on 17 and 18 June, welcomed 140 people from academia and industry.

This year’s event opened with Professor Sarah Hainsworth OBE, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise). Sarah outlined an exciting development: the integration of a new research strand on social transformation and behavioural change, which sees the IfS evolving into the Institute of Sustainability and Climate Change (ISCC).

Professor Lorraine Whitmarsh MBE, Co-Director of the ISCC alongside Professor Matthew Davidson, said: “The ISCC integrates physical, social and systems science, and engineering at Bath and develops leaders in tackling critical sustainability issues.” An official launch of the ISCC will take place in January 2025.

Leaders in sustainability

The 2024 Summer Showcase featured high-profile speakers from academia and industry, including:

  • Professor Edward Kosior (Nextek)
  • Dr Alice Mason (University of Bath)
  • Dr Stephen Allen (Institute for Sustainability)
  • Dr Jenny Baker (Swansea University)
  • Dr Scott Allan (Cellular Agriculture Ltd)
  • Dr Tom Corrie (Syngenta)
  • Dr Damian Grainger (Johnson Matthey)

Edward, who is Managing Director of Nextek, shared his wealth of experience of the plastics and recycling sectors, and spoke about the role of innovation in accelerating the circular economy for post-consumer plastics. While there are significant challenges to surmount, Edward said, “If we can put a helicopter on Mars, we can solve these issues.”

Drawing on her vast expertise in aviation, manufacturing and renewable energy, Jenny, an EPSRC ERC Fellow and Senior Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering, introduced her work with SPECIFIC (Sustainable Product Engineering Centre for Innovative Functional Industrial Coatings) and explored the myriad ways sustainable manufacturing can help the UK reach net zero. It was also announced that Jenny will be joining the ISCC and the Faculty of Engineering and Design as Professor of Industrial Decarbonisation in September.

Celebrating the academic and industrial community

A recurring theme of the annual Summer Showcase is to put a spotlight on the Institute’s PhD, postdoc and alumni community, and to emphasise the vital contribution of industrial collaborations. This was highlighted by insightful talks given by Dr Damian Grainger, Team Lead at Johnson Matthey, and Dr Tom Corrie, Specialist Process Chemist at Syngenta. Alumnus Dr Scott Allan shared his journey from PhD to research in cultivated meat in his current role as Principal Bioprocess Engineering at Cellular Agriculture.

The Janet Scott Prize for collaborative research in sustainability was presented by Professor Davide Mattia to PhD student Nicola Ceolotto for his collaboration with Wessex Water on water-based epidemiology research. The Abel+Imray Prize, presented by Partner Tom Turner for best research paper, was awarded to Matthew Cowley, a PhD student in the CDT for Sustainable Chemical Technologies.

Further IfS Poster Prizes were awarded by Bath’s CDT Co-Director Professor Tim Mays to PhD students Eva Hawkins (first prize), Duong Truong (second prize), and Eleanor Trudinger Charnley (third prize).

As Matthew, IfS Director, said in his closing remarks, “Often in academia, much emphasis is placed on outputs. What this year’s Showcase has emphasised so well is that, for the ifS, people are our greatest output. Our academic and industrial partnerships, University of Bath colleagues, students, and interdisciplinary collaborations herald an exciting future for the ISCC.”