N8@COP26 – find out more about how the expertise of the North’s leading universities will be on show in Glasgow and beyond


This weekend saw COP26 get underway in Glasgow, a crucially important event for the future of the planet bringing together different global parties to – hopefully – accelerate the action required to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The expertise of the universities within the N8 will be on full display in Glasgow, with academics, students attending and taking part in a vast array of events and programmes.

Representatives of DecarboN8 – the N8’s EPSRC funded network seeking to bring together business, government and academia across the North of England to trial and accelerate the adoption of low carbon transport solutions – are participating in a range of panels, exhibitions and workshops at COP26. This includes several events showcasing the Place-Based Carbon Calculator (PBCC), an interactive map which provides evidence-based estimates the average carbon footprint per person for neighbourhoods in England.

Head here to find out more about how to get involved with DecarboN8’s events at COP26.

Elsewhere, Dr Ben Neimark of Lancaster University is speaking at the Arctic Basecamp and Professor Piers Forster of the University of Leeds is representing the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to brief high level negotiations.
Simultaneously, a range of exhibitions and satellite events will be taking place across the campuses of the different universities.

For example, the University of Sheffield is hosting a talk on Queering climate urbanism while the University of York is holding a Global Day of Action.

Read on to find out more about the range of brilliant events, talks and activities that our universities will be taking part in during and in the immediate aftermath of this pivotal conference:


Durham University

  • Durham University alumna, banking pioneer and green business leader, Alison Rose – CEO of Natwest – visited the North East on Monday 1 November to hold a roundtable discussion with some of the university’s leading climate change researchers and give a guest lecture to staff, students and alumni across the world. You can find more information on the online event here
  • Over the past six months, Durham has been running its digital campaign Countdown to COP26, showcasing some examples of how the university is contributing to the environmental sustainability debate and agenda. You can see the latest case study here
  • The university will welcome Environment Agency CEO Sir James Bevan to deliver a speech to staff and students in person and online, as he outlines the current climate chaos, and some of the regulation required as all eyes turn to COP26

Lancaster University

  • In the run up to Glasgow, Lancaster University has hosted a range of talks, interactive events and walks providing insight into some of the world-leading research, innovation and sustainability initiatives taking place on campus via COP26 @ Lancaster Festival. One highlight included Pollution Pods, which explored the health impact of air pollution and the climate crisis – it will now also be hosted at COP26
  • Lancaster academics Professor Kirk Semple and Dr Akanimo Odon will be joined at a COP26 side event by representatives from public bodies in Ghana to discuss the country’s efforts and challenges in mobilising green finance at scale and lessons learnt from vertical climate trust funds, carbon finance, national budget and bilateral funds in promoting eco-innovation and climate change adaptation and mitigation solutions
  • Dr Catherine Porter, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Economics, will participate in a Gender Day Event hosted by @FCDOGovUK, which will be livestreamed

University of Leeds

  • Harriet Thew – COP26 Research Fellow – will take part in discussions around climate education and youth empowerment, including the world premiere of the Ripple Effect film, which was made by young people from the UK and South Africa about how climate change affects their lives
  • Postgraduate researcher Heather Selley will address Blue Zone delegates in Glasgow, speaking about her research into fast flowing glaciers in the Getz region of West Antarctica
  • Professor Stephen Whitfield, Associate Professor of Climate Change and Food Security, and COP26 Research Fellow, will also speak in the Blue Zone on developing climate resilient food systems, using his research on approaches in sub-Saharan Africa

University of Liverpool

  • The University of Liverpool’s Sustainability department ran a photography competition for both staff and students, inviting submissions of innovative digital images which considers the impact of climate change on the planet. You can see some of the winners of Stories of Climate Change here
  • An array of the university’s researchers will be presenting their work in Glasgow – you can find a full list here
  • In the countdown to COP26, researchers at Liverpool have co-authored a report on ocean and climate negotiations

University of Manchester

  • The launch of Sustainable Futures will bring together researchers from across the University of Manchester and key external stakeholders to discuss activity to address the interacting global environmental challenges
  • The four-day Manchester Festival of Climate Action is designed to share the university’s insight, in order to help catalyse the decisive action so desperately needed
  • In total, nine Manchester academics will be attending and contributing to COP26, with further details here

Newcastle University

  • The Climate-Emergency-Change exhibition will feature 12 research projects and videos from a range of disciplines, including Arts and Humanities, Science and Engineering to showcase the work of Newcastle University colleagues who are engaging locally and globally on climate action-related research. More details here
  • A talk by Dr Cristina Neesham, a Reader in Business Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility, following COP26 will argue that even the most effective organisations fail to assume adequate levels of responsibility for mitigating global climate change risks. You can find more details on how to attend here

University of Sheffield

  • A Campus Vigil will be held, designed to be a place where people join together, in solidarity and hope, to focus on the shared concern of climate change. You can find more information here
  • In a special film – Energy and Sustainability: Conversations on COP26 – Professor Lenny Koh, Director of the Energy Institute, talks to Peter Ralph, Head of Security and Resilience at Rolls-Royce, about the COP26 climate talks and the actions needed to address climate change. You can view the film here
  • Chaired by University of Sheffield Political Economist Professor Michael Jacobs, Beyond COP26: The political economy of net zero, is a post-conference live panel discussion that will bring together four experts from different viewpoints: a government economist; a business leader trying to ‘go green’; a trade union leader seeking to protect jobs; and a community activist campaigning for a Green New Deal. To attend the discussion and Q&A, find more details here

University of York

  • Research with a View is an exhibition of stunning images taken by University of York researchers while conducting climate change-related research. Head here for more details
  • Professor Ian Graham – Professor of Biochemical Genetics in the Centre for Novel Agricultural Products – will be attending COP26 to promote BioYorkshire, which works to harness scientific expertise to develop bio-based supplies of fuel, chemicals and materials
  • Lynda Dunlop – Senior Lecturer in Science Education – will be examining to what young people and teachers think about education for environmental sustainability at the launch of A Manifesto for Education and Environmental Sustainability. You can find more details on how to attend this event and others at the University of York here