Imperial and Royal Institution partner to accelerate green Industrial Revolution

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Imperial and the Royal Institution (Ri) launch a joint centre to put London at the heart of global climate change innovation.

Imperial and the Royal Institution (Ri) launch a joint centre to put London at the heart of global climate change innovation.

The bold initiative, welcomed by a video message from The Prince of Wales, will advance London’s leadership in innovation on climate change, supporting new and existing businesses, policymakers, the public, financiers and investors.

This exciting new centre can play an important role in achieving our ambitions, creating the climate change businesses and innovators of tomorrow.
Sadiq KhanMayor of London

The new partnership between Imperial College London’s Grantham Institute and the Royal Institution in collaboration with the Mayor of London will drive new technologies, techniques, policies and businesses to deliver a zero carbon and climate resilient future, while engaging the public’s support for immediate and future innovation.

The centre for climate change innovation is supported by a collection of founding members, comprising the Mayor of London, international bank HSBC UK, innovators Octopus Centre for Net Zero, Pollination, global design and engineers Arup and law firm Slaughter and May.

An online event to formally launch the centre took place online on Thursday 18 March at 18.00.

Critical work
Speaking in a pre-recorded video message for the launch event, The Prince of Wales said: “I am really delighted to have been invited to join the launch of the centre for climate change innovation at Imperial College and the Royal Institution as a way to highlight the critical importance of science, technology and innovation to solving the increasingly urgent climate and biodiversity crises.”

He added: “It is my hope that the centre for climate change innovation can play a really catalytic role in advancing the ambitions of the Terra Carta with the support of my sustainable markets initiative.”

“The current pandemic has shown us that human health, economic health and planetary health are fundamentally interconnected. It has also shown us that it is entirely possible to accelerate solutions when we work together for a higher common purpose. I look forward to the critical work we can advance together in the months ahead.”

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “The climate emergency is the greatest challenge of our time and it’s vital that we look to new technology and innovation to help us make the systemic changes we need.

“I have committed to making London net-zero by 2030 and am doing everything in my power to achieve that, from establishing the world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone, setting zero-carbon standards for all new buildings, switching the tube to renewable energy and supporting the divestment of pension funds from fossil fuels into responsible investment.

“This exciting new centre can play an important role in achieving our ambitions, creating the climate change businesses and innovators of tomorrow as well as the green jobs and skills our city needs now.”

A beacon for innovation
Taking up residence at the Royal Institution’s central London headquarters, the centre will be a welcoming and exciting global meeting place for innovators, entrepreneurs, investors, corporations, students, researchers and the public.

Activities at the centre will fuel London’s booming cleantech sector, driving growth and learning in the heart of the city’s investment district to invent, innovate, debate and shape the key changes in society needed to tackle climate change. It will be a beacon for climate change innovation, catalysing the rapid development and adoption of zero-carbon and climate-resilient technologies across the world.

The partnership will strengthen the UK’s ability to accelerate the translation of research discoveries into cutting-edge technologies and startups, while supporting existing businesses, policymakers and the public to address the causes and effects of climate change.

The new partnership between Imperial and the Royal Institution takes the College’s plans for a world leading centre for climate change innovation to a pivotal new stage of development. This new partnership harnesses the strength of both institutions to engage the public in locally driven solutions to the global climate crisis. The centre will be based in the Royal Institution’s historic building, where John Tyndall’s research helped establish the principles of atmospheric greenhouse-gas driven climate change in the mid-19th century.

The centre’s founders have launched four major activities:

  • Support for London’s 300,000 climate change innovators to speed growth and pandemic recovery by catalysing green business opportunities
  • A radical look at an entirely renewable electricity grid enabled by artificial intelligence, created and run by Octopus Centre for Net Zero
  • A programme of public education, examining the transition to a sustainable, resilient and zero-carbon future
  • A novel accelerator programme co-funded by HSBC UK, providing funding, coaching and technical support to world-class new cleantech start-ups.

Professor Sir Brian Hoskins, Chair of the Grantham Institute, said: “The science, the evidence for climate change, is beyond dispute. All living things on this planet urgently need there to be fundamental change from governments, the private sector and from us all. This unique partnership invites everyone’s participation in creating solutions to eliminate carbon emissions and adapt to the damage we have already done, while creating climate-friendly education, skills and work. To achieve this across the board, its work will be informed by reaching out to the full range of London’s citizens – many of whom are often excluded from the climate solutions conversations.”

Professor Nick Jennings, Vice Provost (Research and innovation) at Imperial College London said: “Climate change threatens all of humanity. To tackle it, we need innovation and collaboration on a scale never seen before. This centre will be a beacon for cleantech and green innovation across the world, uniting scientists, investors, businesses, entrepreneurs, policymakers, and the public towards this urgent goal.”

Sir Richard Sykes, Chairman of the Royal Institution and former Rector of Imperial College London, said: “This is a vital and urgent initiative: radically accelerating the time it takes to turn innovation into practical solutions which are actively combatting the cause and effects of climate change, and then sharing them worldwide. I am delighted the Ri is joining the Grantham Institute as a founding partner, contributing our science engagement expertise to help generate the public support that is so crucial for the success of these new technologies.”

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