UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose


IIPP continues its work with Greater Manchester to help the city become carbon neutral by 2038

27 February 2020

During a week of deep dive immersion, IIPP’s Head of Green Economy Martha McPherson hosted Robyn Smith from Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) to outline key next steps for this groundbreaking green transition partnership.


As cities around the globe take a closer look at their green footprint, Greater Manchester has gone one step further with the bold plan to be carbon neutral by 2038.

IIPP's partnership with Greater Manchester started back in 2019, when we published our thought starter report ‘A mission-oriented approach to clean growth’ which acted as an initial roadmap for the city region, as part of the Greater Manchester Independent Prosperity Commission, on which IIPP's Director Mariana Mazzucato was a panellist.

Since then the partnership has grown and developed, focusing on helping the city region achieve its goal in practice as it takes on a new 5 Year Environment Plan and Local Industrial Strategy, which has a mission-oriented approach at its core.

This month, IIPP’s Head of Green Growth Martha McPherson invited GMCA Project Manager Robyn Smith to IIPP’s London office for lectures, seminars and shared learning sessions to plot out the next steps for our partnership.

“The 2019 mission-oriented innovation roadmap created by IIPP and GMCA was key in developing the Five Year Environment Plan and our plan to reach carbon neutrality. Spending time at the IIPP with Martha and meeting the team allowed me to get a deeper understanding of mission-orientated innovation and the next steps we can take together,” said Robyn Smith.

Figure 6 The potential components of mission-oriented approach

The bold plan for Greater Manchester to be carbon neutral by 2038 is a complex and ambitious project that puts climate and the environment at the heart of city planning, covering everything housing and construction to schools.

IIPP’s research and engagement will feed into the city-regions plans to implement this innovative approach, focusing on problem-specific challenges and cross-sectoral collaboration to achieve the goal of being a carbon neutral city-region.

“It was an incredibly useful week for setting out the next steps for how we will work together in the future, including: fortnightly calls between us with a flexible agenda to discuss Greater Manchester progress and any insight from IIPP, inviting IIPP to attend our challenge group meetings, as well as continued shared learnings from IIPP research and projects that are relevant to Greater Manchester and local strategies,” said Robyn Smith.

To find out more about the IIPP and Greater Partnership, please contact Martha McPherson: m.mcpherson@ucl.ac.uk