Cambridge Zero

A bold response to the world’s greatest challenge, Cambridge Zero is a new, major interdisciplinary initiative focused on the transition to a zero-carbon future, bringing together the best of Cambridge in people, research, and knowledge exchange.

Cambridge Zero

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Join us in creating a zero-carbon future

The University of Cambridge is building on its existing research to create 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. Cambridge Zero is not just about developing greener technologies. It will harness the full power of the University’s research and policy expertise, developing solutions that work for our lives, our society, and our economy.

The Climate Crisis: Towards Zero Carbon

The Initiative is underpinned by four parallel activities:

  1. Pioneering Research: Cambridge Zero is bringing together a portfolio of cutting-edge research in six areas:

    • Zero-carbon energy transitions: Developing next-generation power and heating systems, batteries, photovoltaics, turbine design, and policies to enable the transition to a zero-carbon energy future, incorporating bioenergy and hydrogen economy.

    • Health and society: Supporting evidence-based policymaking through climate science, behavioural science, health and wellbeing research, artificial intelligence tools, and legal, governance, and management dimensions.

    • 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 economic futures: Building sustainability and climate risk assessment into all financial and business decisions, 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.

  2. Inspiring Leadership: We are training a new generation of creative and innovative leaders to respond to this urgent global challenge
  3. Connecting Partners: We are enhancing our existing networks of external engagement and collaboration, and actively seeking new partners, to create a platform for change
  4. Leading by Example: Cambridge is the first university in the world to adopt a 1.5ºC science-based target for carbon reduction

    • Renewable energy: Assessing the feasibility of developing a solar farm on University land, and sourcing all of the University’s electricity from renewable energy.

    • Environmental building: All new University building projects must consider full carbon and financial lifecycle costs.

    • Sustainable food policy: The Sustainable Food Policy has achieved a 33% reduction in carbon emissions per kilogram of food by changing product options at University catering outlets.

    • Indirect carbon emissions: Looking at options to significantly reduce the amount of gas the University uses for space and water heating, through the use of heat pumps and other technologies.

Professor Emily Shuckburgh OBE


Cambridge Zero is led by its Director, Professor Emily Shuckburgh OBE, Reader in Environmental Data Science at the Computer Laboratory. Emily is a mathematician and climate scientist, most recently leading a UK national research programme on polar climate change at the British Antarctic Survey. 

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