Bringing together the future generation of researchers in Net Zero

News 14 March, 2024

Last month, around 250 early career researchers (ECRs) working across aspects of net zero gathered in Birmingham for a two-day conference organised by 14 research organisations working in the energy and net zero space. The conference included a mix of keynote speakers, parallel sessions (skills and topic based) and opportunities for networking, discussion and idea sharing.

Highlights from the first day included an interactive plenary session exploring the importance of incorporating EDI into research projects to enable a just transition to net zero, and a buzzing poster session to stimulate discussion and identify opportunities for collaboration. The second day included sessions on built environment, the cost of the net zero transition, and global net zero ambitions.

Early career researchers played a key role in developing the programme and also had the opportunity to lead sessions.

Dr Alice Garvey (University of Leeds) said:

“It was great to be part of the ECR steering committee, contributing to organising the ECR Net Zero Conference 2024. The conference was a great opportunity to get a broad perspective on research going on in the net zero space, particularly putting ECR-led research at the forefront of the conference design. It presented a really good chance to think beyond the different remits of individual research centres, and to see how interdisciplinary research is contributing to the net zero agenda.”

More feedback on the conference from early career researchers who attended:

“It was a good chance to catch up with colleagues and make new contacts. I appreciated the variety of session types and different engagement options. The event sparked some interesting conversations and ideas for future collaborations.” – Dr Imogen Rattle, University of Leeds

“The interdisciplinary of delegates was inspiring and led to some very interesting debates in the fishbowl panel session around how we might finance the transition and where political priorities may need to shift!” – Maria Wood, UCL

“This was my first academic conference, and I really enjoyed the opportunity to discuss different aspects of the net zero transition with other ECRs. I particularly enjoyed the panel on impact and engagement, which combined perspectives from researchers and journalists.” – Madeleine Pauker, University of Sussex