Imperial College London

Bright minds give organisations the chance to tackle sustainability challenges


Programme logo is a line drawing of sapling growing inside a lightbulb

The Grantham Institute invites organisations to partner with the brightest PhD students to tackle the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.

From November, start-ups, corporates, NGOs and policymakers can take part in a new programme that will provide them with access to the latest evidence on climate change and the environment.

Participating organisations will benefit from regular interaction with PhD researchers and an opportunity to share their contributions to sustainable development. 

Funded by the Natural Environment Research Council, the Innovating for Sustainable Development programme will offer participants the opportunity to explore solutions to global challenges with scholars from top research institutions including Imperial College London, the Universities of Reading and Surrey and UCL.

Using the framework of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals, the programme will cover challenges such as eradicating poverty, being responsible consumers, improving access to clean water and sanitation, and clean and affordable energy.  

graphic listing the goals

Programme Manager, Tom Bond, from Imperial College London, said: "Innovation is crucial if we are to meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. We're really excited to be offering this new programme which will bring together top PhD students with new associates, working together to understand the challenges and innovate solutions in order for everyone to enjoy a good quality of life and maintain the environment for future generations."

Participating organisations can take advantage of four key elements of the scheme:  

1. Gain access to the latest scientific evidence on climate change and the environment

Grantham Institute Phd students in a laboratory

Grantham Institute PhD student Clementine Chambon in the laboratory

The Innovating for Sustainable Development programme offers participating organisations access to the latest scientific evidence and understanding, which could aid the development of a new product or tool to meet the needs of the wider world. They will also have the opportunity to develop new ideas with PhD researchers and explore solutions to an organisation's environmental challenges.

2. Accelerate progress towards sustainability goals through internships undertaken by a PhD researcher

An internship by a skilled and experienced PhD researcher has the potential to make a significant impact, particularly on a start-up or charity. With a duration of up to three months, there is time to take forward ideas that might ordinarily be left aside due to a lack of resource or knowledge.

3. Tap into the brightest minds and collaborate on a research project to develop new understanding

PhD researchers undertake multidisciplinary projects to understand, predict and influence the natural environment and the impact of human activities. Participating organisations are invited to fund studentships to collaborate and benefit from research carried out by a motivated, high-quality student, which is relevant to the organisation's priorities and objectives.

4. Network with like-minded individuals in sustainability and innovation

The programme will draw a wide range of organisations with interests in the environment sector. Participants will be invited to attend a high profile networking event to meet early-career and PhD researchers, leaders in environmental science, related industrial and public sector end-users, and the wider business and government communities. Organisations will be able to demonstrate to others that they are taking the Sustainable Development Goals seriously.  

The programme runs from November 2016 to March 2017. It is a collaboration between the Science and Solutions for a Changing Planet Doctoral Training Partnership (SSCP DTP) at Imperial College London, and the SCENARIO DTP at the University of Reading. It is funded by the Natural Environment Research Council.

If you are interested in participating in this programme, email Mr Thomas Bond



Simon Levey

Simon Levey
The Grantham Institute for Climate Change

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Contact details

Tel: +44 (0)20 7594 5650

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