Frequently Asked Questions
Do you have a partnership plan or programme and how can we engage with the centre?
We will be spending the next six months or so establishing the legal framework of the centre. Once this has been done we will start to grow our activities. We would welcome discussions regarding international collaboration at that point.
How should startups and organisations working on climate solutions expect to be able to work directly with the centre in the near future?
For now, that will be through entry into The Greenhouse accelerator programme, but we are in listening mode and would like to know what other forms of provision would be useful. In our sights are co-working space for startups in the earlier stages of growth, investment events for startups, networking events for innovators and exhibits of new technology.
How will the new innovation centre will reach out to small businesses in London and how do you plan to work with Local Authorities across London?
We have a team that is starting to do this. Working with local authorities, major London bodies and low-carbon businesses. The essential idea is to bring buyers and suppliers together. However, we will be focussing on those small businesses that are gearing up to scale-up.
How will the centre work to support UK-based SMEs who might not have the resources to invest in more expensive practical solutions and innovations?
The Greenhouse, our accelerator programme has already taken in 15 startups. We support them to take their team and idea from set-up to seed investment. We will be seeking to be one amongst many such accelerators in London. We are open to suggestions about how to engage the SME community who are interested in understanding how they can affordably tackle climate change.
How does the centre facilitate innovation with and between different stakeholders?
The central concept is that the centre will bring together interested parties around clearly defined challenges. The parties will refine the challenge, develop ideas to address the challenge, discuss those ideas with wider groups of stakeholders, revise ideas in the light of these discussions and then develop and execute these ideas. Since we seek to scale impact we will publish the findings of each of these challenge-led innovation programmes so that others can use our work as a platform for their own programmes.
How will students be involved in the activities of the centre?
The Grantham Institute is developing an MSc in Climate Change Innovation and Entrepreneurship which will run in the centre, and we hope that the existing MSc in Climate Change Management and Finance will, for specific activities, use the centre as well. PhD students will use the centre when they are involved in innovation projects with partners.
What opportunities can be created for young professionals in the climate change industry, who have inherited the climate crisis?
One of the challenges we have is that there is no climate change industry. We need to help existing businesses and organisations transform themselves. Many of the jobs will be there. Imperial already runs two courses for precisely such roles, graduating more than 200 students per year. It is not enough. We will be setting up a course for climate change innovators and entrepreneurs. Again this seems to be unique and it is not enough. Our accelerator programme, The Greenhouse has helped 110 new businesses form and create over 1,500 jobs and that is not enough. So if nothing else we will want to encourage growth in education (and training) for the new economy.
Will the centre being building on Imperial's links with institutions and new hub to tackle the health effects of climate change?
We are in discussions about climate change impacts on health and where we might apply ourselves to supporting necessary innovation. Imperial's new hub for climate finance and investment will be working with us. Imperial researchers and innovators will form a core part of the centre and we are keen for additional knowledge institutes to become a part of the centre.
Will you work with the Institution of Civil Engineers and others to transform innovation into rapid action?
One of the reasons the Royal Institution is such a brilliant place for the centre to be is that we are surrounded by so many of the UK's learned societies and professional bodies. We will be working with them at every opportunity.