The Transition to Zero Pollution initiative works with Imperial Policy Forum, Imperial’s policy engagement programme, to engage with policymakers and other key stakeholders to make sure our research has impact.

Imperial experts contribute to parliamentary activity

In 2022, Imperial researchers contributed to a range of policy engagement activity. Imperial researchers provided evidence to eleven parliamentary inquiries. Professor Stephen Garwood appeared as an expert witness at the Science and Technology Committee’s inquiry into Fusion Energy, Dr Michael Bluck at the Welsh Affairs Committee inquiry into Nuclear Energy in Wales, and Dr Anastasiya Ostrovnaya at the Environmental Audit Committee’s inquiry into financial services and the UK’s transition to net zero. Professor Nilay Shah appeared as an expert witness in front of the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee inquiry into the role of hydrogen in achieving net zero. Professor Shah and Professor Rob Gross were quoted throughout the Committee’s published report.

Dr Emma Cavan, alongside Mark Beeston from Fair Carbon, contributed to the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Blue Carbon’s inquiry into blue carbon and ocean biodiversity. Dr Mirabelle Muuls was quoted in the Environment APPG’s Ten-Point Plan for Climate and Nature advocating for an expansion of the treasury super deduction scheme to include investment in skills, research and development and non-physical capital.

Evidence Week in Parliament, November 2022

Dr Georgios Rigas, Senior Lecturer in the Department for Aeronautics, took part in Sense about Science’s Evidence Week 2022. Dr Rigas spoke to MPs and their teams about the how improvements in aerodynamics can lead to increased fuel efficiency and range to support greener aviation and electric vehicles.

Workshops and roundtables

We host regular policy workshops and roundtables which bring together Imperial researchers with policymakers, industry and the third sector. 

Workshops and roundtables

Policy engagement workshops and roundtables 2022

How can the government achieve the UK’s smooth transition to electric vehicles? (panel event) - June 2022

Partnering with the think tank the Institute for Government, Imperial Policy Forum held a panel discussion event on achieving the government’s target to phase out petrol and diesel cars from 2030. Imperial academic Dr Aruna Sivakumar appeared on a panel alongside Professor David Bailey, Senior Fellow at UK in a Changing Europe, Philip New, Chair of the EV Energy Taskforce, and Jeremy Yapp, Head of Flexible Energy Systems at BEAMA.

Dr Sivakumar discussed the skills and reforms required to ensure the UK can further adoption of electric vehicles and reduce our emissions. Watch the discussion.

How can the government make its green skills plan deliver for net zero? (panel event) - June 2022

The second event in a collaboration with the Institute for Government saw Imperial Policy Forum co-host a panel event on equipping the UK workforce with skills critical to the success of the net zero transition. Alyssa Gilbert, Director of Innovation at the Grantham Institute for Climate Change and Environment, shared her perspective on the critical role of education and highlighting green careers. She appeared on the panel alongside Sam Alvis, Head of Economy at Green Alliance and Ian O’Donnell, Net Zero and Special Projects Lead at the Federation of Small Businesses. Watch the event.

Net Zero: How much will people need to change their behaviour? (panel event) - September 2022

Imperial Policy Forum and the think tank the Institute for Government co-hosted a discussion on behaviour change and net zero at the Labour Party Conference. Dr Laure de Preux gave an opening presentation offering her perspective on public engagement in the transition. She was joined on the panel by Kerry McCarthy MP, Shadow Minister for Climate and Darren Jones MP, Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee. Listen to the discussion.

Net Zero: How can government deliver on low-carbon technologies? (panel event) - October 2022

In collaboration with the Institute for Government, Imperial Policy Forum co-hosted a panel event at the Conservative Party Conference. Professor Mary Ryan, Vice-Provost (Research and Enterprise) and College Champion for Transition to Zero Pollution, appeared on the panel alongside Dean Russell MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and Dhara Vyas, Deputy Director of Energy UK, to discuss the importance of a system-led approach to change. Listen back to the discussion.

Identifying the climate game-changers for a post-net zero world (workshop) - October 2022

Imperial Policy Forum partnered with the Imperial College London-Hitachi Centre for Decarbonisation and Natural Climate Solutions to hold a workshop bringing together industry representatives and policy makers to explore technological and societal innovations for transformation beyond net zero. The workshop approached the subject in a cross-sector approach and brough together a wide range of expertise to explore climate change challenges and re-design the pathway to decarbonisation. The workshop focused on key areas such as grid management, transportation, biodiversity management and nature-based solutions, key technologies such as direct air capture and carbon capture and storage, and adaption.

The role of engineers in decarbonising our economy (panel event) - November 2022

Dr Gbemi Oluleye, Lecturer at Imperial’s Centre for Environmental Policy, appeared on a panel organised by the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee alongside Stephen Shaw, Global Engineering Director, AESSEAL, and Paul Johnson, Energy Systems Catapult. Dr Oluleye discussed the challenges of decarbonising heavy industries and the need for new business models for companies to account for their net zero footprint.

Policy engagement workshops and roundtables 2021

The role of technology in achieving net zero (panel discussion) - March 2021

A panel of experts discussed the role of technology in achieving net zero, covering topics such as the government's 10 Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, investment in innovation and how to pay for the transition to net zero. Panellists included Dr Ajay Gambhir from Imperial's Grantham Institute, Georgia Berry, Director of Political Campaigns at OVO and former Special Adviser for Energy and Infrastructure in the No.10 Policy Unit and Juergen Maier, Chair of Digital Catapult and Vice Chair of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership. This was a joint event with the Institute for Government. Watch the event.

Energy from waste (roundtable) - March 2021

The Forum and the think tank Policy Connect co-hosted a closed roundtable on energy from waste. Professor Chris Cheeseman, Professor of Materials Resources Engineering in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, gave the opening presentation, offering his perspective on the issues and opportunities associated with energy from waste. He was joined by MPs, peers, civil servants and industry representatives to debate the issues. 

Resources and Waste Strategy (roundtable) - January 2021

Imperial experts joined MPs, industry leaders and other officials to debate the future of the government's Resources and Waste Strategy. The event, jointly hosted by Imperial's new Transition to Zero Pollution initiative and the cross-party think tank Policy Connect through the All-Party Parliamentary Sustainable Resource Group, analysed the progress of the Resources and Waste Strategy after its publication two years ago.

Chaired by Lord Teverson, Chair of the EU Environment Sub-Committee, opening remarks were delivered by Philip Dunne MP, Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee, and Dr Alan Whitehead MP, Shadow Minister for Energy and the Green New Deal. Imperial academics Professor Nick Voulvoulis and Professor David C Wilson joined senior parliamentarians to share their insights on the strategy, two years on from its publication by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Read more.

Policy engagement workshops and roundtables 2020

Air quality and the Environment Bill (roundtable) - October 2020

Academics from Imperial and the London School of Economics (LSE) held a roundtable with members of the House of Lords to discuss their recommendations for how the Environment Bill can effectively improve air quality. Chaired by Lord Teverson, Chair of the Lords EU Environment Sub-Committee, Imperial academics Professor Frank Kelly, Dr Audrey de Nazelle and Dr Marc Stettler and LSE economist Dr Sefi Roth presented their research around air quality and outlined how the bill, and wider government policy, can best reduce air pollution. Read more.

parliament at sunset with buses and cars

Zero pollution economy (roundtable) - September 2020

Imperial academics from the Business School, Dyson School of Design Engineering, and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering discussed their research on building a zero-pollution economy with senior civil servants, parliamentarians, and think tank officials, before debating policies that are needed to bring about the transition.

Circular economy (workshop) - May 2020

This policy workshop brought together Imperial academics with partners from government and industry to explore the transition towards a circular economy. Dr Demirel and Dr Sheldrick, both from the Dyson School of Engineering, led the discussions and were joined by academics across the College whose research provides critical insights into how we might address challenges in the transition towards a circular economy. Read more. 

Imperial experts contribute to think tank report on decarbonising transport

Imperial researchers, Professor Mary Ryan, Professor Robert Shorten, and Dr Audrey de Nazelle, have contributed their expertise to a flagship report from the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), urging for action to fairly decarbonise how we travel.

All aboard: A plan for fairly decarbonising how people travel was published in June 2021 by the IPPR, in collaboration with the Transition to Zero Pollution initiative. The report outlines a vision for a transport system that is fair to all, works to improve people’s health and wellbeing and provides a better environment for nature. Read more about the report in this Imperial news story.

Business Secretary and COP26 President visits Imperial as government announces new energy plans

Professor Nigel Brandon welcomes Business Secretary Alok Sharma MPIn December 2020, Professor Nigel Brandon welcomed Alok Sharma MP, COP26 President and then Secretary of State for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy to Imperial’s Carbon Capture Pilot Plant. During the tour of the plant, they discussed how Imperial can support the UK’s transition towards a net zero future. The visit came as the government released new plans to clean up our energy system and keep bills affordable as we transition to net zero in their Energy White Paper.  Read more about the visit. 

Evidence Week in Parliament, November 2020

Dr Kate Simpson, from the Dyson School of Design Engineering, took part in Sense about Science’s Evidence Week 2020. Dr Simpson spoke to MPs and their teams about the TZP initiative and the importance of importance of a systems approach to tackle pollution though the example of building retrofit. Watch her evidence week briefing video ‘Housing retrofit: a case study on net zero interventions’ below.

Dr Kate Simpson speaks on the topic of 'housing retrofit: a case study on net zero interventions' in a video recorded for Sense about Science's Evidence Week 2020.

Evidence Week 2020

Housing retrofit: a case study on net zero interventions

Dr Kate Simpson from the Dyson School of Design Engineering talks about the importance of systems approaches to tackle pollution, using building retrofit as an example, in a video briefing recorded for Sense about Science’s Evidence Week 2020. 

Get involved

Get in touch with Ines Wittke at the Imperial Policy Forum for further information about how to get involved. We can support policymakers access Imperial's world-leading zero pollution research, and help Imperial researchers reach out to the policy community.