Impact Awards in focus

Sustainable futures

Research into sustainable futures undertaken by experts at the University of Exeter has been recognised after the unveiling of the shortlist for the Exeter Impact Awards.

Six projects are up for the award, which celebrates research that is helping to solve global challenges such as climate change and food security.

One shortlisted project was PhD student Hasan Baig’s work on developing miniaturised solar cells. His cells are four to five times more effective than conventional cells at capturing solar irradiance.

Hasan was supervised by Prof Tapas Mallick, who is leading a group of 46 researchers to help develop new concentrated photovoltaic cells which could help provide electricity to rural areas.

Public policy and debate have been informed and sustainable product development promoted after Profs Stewart Barr and Gareth Shaw examined behaviour policy and change for environmental sustainability in the context of international travel.

The University has also helped to influence environmental policy in the Caribbean, where they have led on an international collaboration to develop coral reef ecosystem models, which show policy makers how factors like overfishing can affect life on the reef.

New ways of disseminating research have been developed, including the Pharma Transport Town visualisation. Academics from the European Centre for Environment and Human Health made the Town to show viewers they could play a part in sustainable pharmaceuticals use.

Research led by Dr Robert Wilson is helping to reduce the impact of climate change on biodiversity after a team of academics worked to transform their findings into a practical tool to help manage conservation programmes.

In addition to our own academic expertise, we work closely with partners such as the Met Office and Plymouth Marine Laboratory, complementing each other’s work to reach the widest possible impact.

In addition to more than £5million in funding from the Natural Environment Research Council, we also have backing for initiatives such as the Centre for Business and Climate Solutions, which offers free advice to regional businesses to help make them more sustainable.

A number of our academics contributed to the fifth annual Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, which will influence climate change policy globally.