Arc Universities

Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) has won a €5million grant to lead an ambitious research project to investigate how local initiatives, bringing together individuals and businesses, can play a role in meeting climate change targets.

The five-year SHARED GREEN DEAL project will officially begin on 1 February 2022 and is being funded by the EU’s Horizon2020 scheme.  The research is intended to assist the EU in reaching its target of climate neutrality by 2050.

Dr Rosie Robison and Dr Chris Foulds from ARU’s Global Sustainability Institute will co-ordinate the 22 partner institutions from across Europe, who together will examine the role social sciences can play in helping countries dramatically reduce their carbon emissions as part of the European Green Deal.  SHARED GREEN DEAL is one of only two research projects, out of 117 submissions, to receive funding under one of the Green Deal Horizon2020 calls.

Much of the recent focus on tackling climate change has centred on green technology development.  SHARED GREEN DEAL, however, will involve 24 separate ‘social experiments’ – taking place in neighbourhoods across Europe – looking at how organisations and individuals can work together to make our daily lives more sustainable.

In the UK, an experiment is planned to explore how local knowledge networks, which share information and skills between citizens and professionals, can help achieve the major renovations needed to future-proof Britain’s leaky buildings.

The project will work directly with families in fuel poverty, as well as with schools, housing associations and businesses.  Skill-sharing workshops, toolkits for other local networks, and accessible training videos will be developed which especially focus on sharing energy-saving know-how between generations.

The pledge that no person or place is left behind during the transition to a low carbon society is a key part of the European Green Deal, and diversity and inclusivity will be at the heart of SHARED GREEN DEAL to ensure disadvantaged and vulnerable social groups are supported with the changes taking place.

Dr Rosie Robison, an Associate Professor at ARU and the Geography President of the British Science Association, said:

“SHARED GREEN DEAL is geared towards meeting the EU’s target of climate neutrality by 2050, and because of the enormous importance of this target, the European Commission is taking a close interest in the project. The UK is also committed to net zero by 2050, so the lessons from the project are directly relevant nationally.

“It’s also deliberately spanning a large number of areas – many more than research projects traditionally include under one umbrella.  It covers mobility, energy efficiency, renewables, biodiversity, food, and the circular economy, as well as climate action and pollution.  In total, there are 19 different social science and humanities disciplines involved.”

Dr Chris Foulds, Associate Professor at ARU, added

“Through the development of effective new strategies, our project aims to deliver positive changes in actions and achieve long-term buy-in from individuals, communities, and organisations.  The findings from the project will be shared with a range of stakeholders, including policymakers and civil society across Europe.”

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