Researcher awarded prestigious COP26 Fellowship for energy justice work

Offshore windfarm

A Strathclyde researcher has been awarded one of four unique Fellowships to engage with the international climate negotiations in the run up to COP26, the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference.

Dr Rebecca Ford, a Chancellor’s Fellow and Lecturer who works between the School of Government & Public Policy and the department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering, will be focussing on energy justice and how it can be embedded and aligned with other decision making areas to ensure a just transition.

 Woman smiling at camera

Rebecca who submitted a video proposal and was one of 129 applicants for the Fellowships, said: “I’m really excited to work alongside the other Fellows and wider COP 26 Universities Network to inform and support COP 26 in Glasgow next year.

“My work will align evidence for a socially equitable energy transition with financial, environmental, and other outcomes, providing policymakers with useful and usable evidence to deliver a prosperous and equitable net-zero society.”

Glasgow conference

The 26th Conference of the Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change will be held in November 2021 after this year’s planned conference was cancelled due to the pandemic.

The COP26 Fellowships are sponsored by UK Research and Innovation through the Economic and Social Research Council and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and offered through the Place-Based Climate Action Network. They will support the international climate negotiations through the provision, synthesis, translation and interpretation of scientific evidence.  

The Fellowships will run until mid-November 2021, covering the pre-COP26 process and COP26 itself and the Fellows will be embedded into the activities of the COP26 universities network run by the Grantham Institute at Imperial College London.

COP26 President Alok Sharma said:  “I offer my warmest welcome to the new COP26 Fellows and look forward to them bringing their expertise to the work already underway.
“The COP26 Universities Network will play a vital role to inform and communicate the need for meaningful climate action in the run up to the summit.”

The Head of Policy and Translation at the Graham Institute, Alyssa Gilbert said: “We are looking forward to integrating these Fellows, their work and their energy into the heart of the COP26 universities network. Their research activities will be shared with others in the universities network, to stimulate our academic communities to get involved in COP26.”

Active role

Professor Alison Park, Director of Research at ESRC, said: “I am delighted with the announcement of the four COP26 Fellowships. These will provide a unique opportunity for the four researchers, each at different stages in their research careers and from different disciplinary backgrounds, to play an active role in COP26.  

“Their work will play an important part in highlighting how UK research and evidence can contribute to collaborative decision making on our international transition to net zero.”

The other three Fellowships were awarded to Harriet Thew from the University of Leeds, Thomas Hale from the University of Oxford and Jessica Omukuti from the University of York.