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UKRI at Cheltenham Science Festival 2020


UKRI at Cheltenham Science Festival 2020

It’s Cheltenham Science Festival 2020 this week and as part of the programme this year UK Research and Innovation are helping highlight the contribution of research to highlighting the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Cheltenham Science Festival @ Home, which is taking a virtual presence this year, features six days of free online events, live Q&As, family shows and interactive workshops from some of the top science names in the world.

Seven experts from across UKRI’s international development research portfolio will join host Greg Foot to take part in a daily investigation into six UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). They will show how UK science is contributing towards global efforts to achieving the SDGs.

Over the past five years, UKRI has spent over £1 billion on research for international development across 1,750 projects, involving over 7,800 researchers and 2,600 organisations across 130 countries through the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) and the Newton Fund. These investments support and contribute towards global efforts to achieving the UN’s SDGs. In February, UKRI developed a new partnership with the United Nation’s Development Programme, centred around achieving the SDGs through new and innovative approaches to research.

Professor Andrew Thompson, UKRI’s International Champion, said: “Research has a central role to play in achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Researchers funded by the GCRF are striving to bring new knowledge to bear to end to poverty and protect the planet and to address the inequalities that COVID-19 has revealed. UKRI is delighted to be supporting this year’s Cheltenham Science Festival. In the midst of this pandemic, it is more than ever crucial to work in global partnership for a safer, fairer, healthier and more sustainable future.

“The panels taking place across the Cheltenham Festival offer fascinating insights into the ways in which researchers in the UK and the Global South are working closely together to better understand and make a reality of the SDGs.”

Cheltenham Science Festival @ Home is running from 2-7 June. Tune in every day this week at 2pm to listen to the panels on Cheltenham Festivals YouTube Channel.

UKRI GCRF Panel Members

Tuesday 2nd June SDG 2: Zero Hunger Professor Claire Heffernan

Claire Heffernan is Director of the London International Development Centre. She holds a joint appointment as Chair in Global Development at the Royal Veterinary College and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Claire has extensive experience of interdisciplinary research grounded in the challenges faced by low and middle income countries. She is currently PI of the UKRI GCRF Action against Stunting Hub an interdisciplinary team comprising researchers from 18 institutions, which aims to transform research on child stunting.

Tuesday 2nd June SDG 2: Zero Hunger Professor Lorraine Sherr

Lorraine Sherr is a professor of Clinical and Health Psychology at University College London and co-director on the UKRI GCRF Hub looking at accelerating achievements for Africa's Adolescents, with Professor Lucie Cluver (PI Oxford University and University of Cape Town, and Dr Chris Desmond from the University of KwaZulu Natal).  Profesor Sherr has worked on many international initiatives and carried out global research.  She has lead research on two global initiatives to advance strategy for Children and HIV as well as for reducing Violence against children.  She is editor of three international Journals and published many scientific papers.

Wednesday 3rd June SDG 14: Life below water Professor Elisa Morgera

Elisa Morgera is Professor of Global Environmental Law at Strathclyde University Law School, Glasgow (UK) and Director of the UKRI GCRF One Ocean Hub. She investigates the role of law in ensuring equity and sustainability in the context of conservation activities, natural resource development and knowledge production for sustainability. She focuses on the linkages between biodiversity, human rights, and business responsibility. Before and during her academic career, Elisa has worked for different agencies of the United Nations and advised over 50 countries on natural resource governance.

Thursday 4th June SDG 15: Life on Land Professor Federica Di Palma

Federica Di-Palma is a Professor at the University of East Anglia and the Founder and Director of Science is Global strategy and consulting.  

She is passionate about exploring and preserving Biodiversity around the world. She leads a number of multidisciplinary research programmes which use genomics approaches to understand how evolutionary and environmental pressures have shaped the diversity of vertebrate species with implications for food, environment and livelihoods. She is a visiting scientist at the Earlham Institute, where she was the former Director of Science, and at Broad Institute in Cambridge Ma (US), where she was previously the Assistant Director of the Vertebrate Genome Biology programme.

Professor Di-Palma is the lead researcher on the GCRF Grow Colombia project working to achieve lasting biodiversity conservation.

Friday 5th June SDG 12: Responsible consumption and production Dr Jaideep Gupte

Dr Jaideep Gupte is Fellow of the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex. Formerly a Prize Fellow of the Urban Design Research Institute, Mumbai, Jaideep researches the material, temporal, political and technological aspects of urban informality. Jaideep leads the Cities and Sustainable Infrastructure Portfolio of the GCRF and acts as a champion for multisectoral and transdisciplinary research on the Built Environment for UKRI.

Saturday 6th June SDG 3: Good Health and Wellbeing Professor Helen Fletcher

Helen Fletcher is a Professor of Immunology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and Director of International Development, UK Research & Innovation (UKRI).  Helen’s research interests include Tuberculosis (TB) vaccines and immune correlates of risk of disease. Since 2000 She has worked with scientists across Africa in The Gambia, Zambia, Ethiopia, Senegal, Kenya, South Africa and Uganda.  She is a Trustee of The Jenner Vaccine Foundation, Editor of the journal Tropical Medicine and International Health (TMIH) and has written over 100 peer review research articles and chapters. As Director of International Development at UKRI, Helen is responsible for the development of strategy, policy and delivery of the UKRI Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) and the Newton Fund.

Sunday 7th June XR takeover SDG 13: climate action Professor Mark Sutton

Professor Mark Sutton is a researcher at the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, addressing humanity’s adverse effects on the global nitrogen cycle. A former chair of the International Nitrogen Initiative, he is Director of the International Nitrogen Management System for the UN Environment Programme.  He is the PI for the UKRI GCRF South Asian Nitrogen Hub. The author of many publications, in 2019 he piloted the first-ever Nitrogen Resolution adopted by the UN Environment Assembly.

Find out more, including the festival programme, on the Cheltenham Science Festival website.

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