New Exeter institute to tackle ‘global challenges’

New Exeter institute to tackle ‘global challenges’

How can our planet and its people flourish as the human population reaches an estimated 9-11 billion?

This is the key question to be tackled by a new institute at the University of Exeter.

The Global Systems Institute (GSI) is already bringing together researchers from across the university, and experts, policymakers, businesses and students from around the world.

The institute – one of the largest of its kind in the world – aims to use expertise from a vast range of areas to help create a flourishing future through transformative research and education.

“The GSI will look beyond single environmental issues to examine the complex ways in which the world is changing, and come up with solutions to the challenges we face,” said GSI director Professor Tim Lenton.

“The core idea is to engage with as many people as possible to create ideas, debate, conduct experiments, make things and find solutions.

“We want to improve the way we predict changes in areas ranging from the climate to human societies and economics.

“The GSI also aims to train a new generation of leaders of change who can bring about the solutions we develop together.”

The university is investing in the GSI to create more than 30 academic posts and providing a home for it in a new flagship building at its Streatham Campus in Exeter, due for completion in 2022. 

When it reaches full capacity it will house about 80 principal investigators and 400 researchers, research students and visiting fellows who will also have access to state-of-the-art facilities.

Knowledge created by the GSI will benefit Exeter students and will also be shared around the world.

More than 40,000 people worldwide have already participated in Exeter’s Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) on climate change and its solutions over the past four years.

Engaging with a global community of learners has enabled the sharing of some powerful stories of personal experience with respect to climate change.

As well as courses for students at various stages of their studies, the GSI will run a Global Partnerships Programme that will include an international visiting scholarship scheme.

Date: 2 July 2018

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