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Session Recording

Watch a recording of the session here, and tell us what you think on ‘the place space‘, our conference discussion board.

Session Details

Tuesday 18 May: 13:00 – 14:30

The aim of this session is to share experience in building and extending collaboration between Universities and their civic partners around progressing shared agendas in the context of the climate emergency.

Many civic universities have embraced commitments to move towards net zero by a target date and monitor their efforts to reduce the use of carbon in their core activities. Several of them have engaged extensively with their staff and students to identify innovative ways of taking climate action, leading to more ambitious targets. As anchor institutions (large turnover, large physical footprint, big employers), their campus-focused efforts can make a significant contribution to carbon reduction in the places where they operate.

However, civic universities have the capability, in partnership with local authorities and other civic partners, of contributing more, by breaking down the huge task of achieving net zero into a range of more manageable initiatives and projects, identifying and implementing solutions that work at local level. Collaboration with local partners at city, town or city region level to take forward a green recovery, to achieve a just transition or to reshape the ways in which services are provided to promote sustainability offers great potential for universities to mobilise expertise and channel the energy of staff and students towards shared objectives, creating new research and learning opportunities, while widening the boundaries and increasing the depth of civic engagement activity.

Networks that institutions and academics have within the UK and internationally can be used to share best practice, linking expertise in different places with need and demonstrating the impact that universities have had on policy and delivery on the related themes of place and climate

Session Host

<strong>Des McNulty</strong>
Des McNulty
Des is Assistant Vice Principal for Economic Development and Civic Engagement at the University of Glasgow and Vice Chair of the Glasgow Commission for Economic Growth. Before returning to Higher Education, he served as a member of the Scottish Parliament where he chaired the Parliament’s Finance Committee for five years and had two terms of office as Minister for Social Justice.

Session Speakers

<strong>Carl Spector</strong>
Carl Spector
Carl was appointed Commissioner of the Environment Department for the City of Boston in 2015. As Environment Commissioner, he oversees programs related to climate mitigation and adaptation, environmental protection, historic preservation, and other aspects of sustainability. Among related programs, the Environment Department includes the Air Pollution and Control Commission, the Conservation Commission, and the Boston Landmarks Commission.
<strong>Dr Duncan Booker</strong>
Dr Duncan Booker
Duncan is COP26 Stakeholder Manager for Glasgow City Council. He has worked on policy development in local government for more than twenty years in a range of areas. He drafted the Council’s report and recommendations on the climate emergency in 2019, which led to the city committing to achieve carbon neutrality by the year 2030. Duncan is currently working on arrangements for Glasgow to welcome the world to COP26 in November 2021. He is a graduate of the universities of Oxford and Glasgow.
<strong>Dr Jacqueline Ashmore</strong>
Dr Jacqueline Ashmore
Dr. Jacqueline Ashmore is the Executive Director for Boston University’s Institute for Sustainable Energy and a Research Associate Professor in the Departments of Earth & Environment and of Mechanical Engineering. She is a clean energy and sustainability expert with fifteen years of experience in technology, business, and policy spheres. Her research covers the topics of integrated water management to support sustainable and affordable water supplies, and city actions to drive equitable climate mitigation, adaptation, and resilience.
<strong>Professor John Goddard OBE</strong>
Professor John Goddard OBE
John is Professor of Universities and Cities based in CityREDI/WMREDI in Birmingham where he is leading a programme of policy orientated research on the role of universities in city and regional development. John is also Emeritus Professor of Regional Development Studies at Newcastle University. He acted as Vice Chair of the Civic University Commission and co-author of the Guide to Preparing Civic University Agreements.
<strong>Professor Keri Facer</strong>
Professor Keri Facer
Keri is Professor of Educational and Social Futures at the University of Bristol. From 2018-2020 she was Zennström Chair of Climate Change Leadership at The University of Uppsala, Sweden. From 2012-2018 she was Leadership Fellow for the AHRC’s Connected Communities Programme. From 2001-2008 she was Research Director for the Futurelab research and development lab. Her research focuses on how educational institutions and practices might best adapt to address technological, social and environmental change.
<strong>Professor Jamie Toney</strong>
Professor Jamie Toney
Jaime is a geoscientist with expertise in environmental and climate science. Her research focuses on understanding how climate, environmental and ecosystem changes in the past can inform us about the changes we are experiencing today and what we might expect in the future. She co-founded and directs the Centre for Sustainable Solutions at the University of Glasgow, which aims to stimulate the dialogues necessary to make a collective impact toward a just and sustainable future
<strong>Professor Andy Gouldson</strong>
Professor Andy Gouldson
Andy is an inter-disciplinary social scientist with a background in economics and public policy. He has worked on a wide range of issues relating to environmental policy and management since 1990, with a particular focus on climate change since 2008. He specializes in applied, engaged, impact-oriented research. Throughout his career, he has worked closely with policy makers and regulatory and development agencies at the international, national and local levels, as well as with businesses, NGOs and community groups.

Supporting Materials

Background Reading

UK Civic University Climate Declaration

It is suggested that UK civic universities might make a joint declaration reflecting the place
of sustainability and climate action in their civic commitments. Read the proposal for discussion at this event.

Read More


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The inaugural Civic University Network conference is a free virtual event which will take place from the 18-20 May 2021.

Registration closed at 12:00 on Thursday 13 May 2021, but don’t worry, we plan to share recordings of the event and will update this page with the details soon.