UCL Public Policy


UCL-LGA Net Zero Innovation Programme shortlisted as finalist in Climate Challenge Cup

19 October 2021

UCL and the Local Government Association (LGA)’s climate project, the Net Zero Innovation Programme, has been shortlisted in the Young Foundation and MetroLab Network's Climate Challenge Cup, funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

an image of the climate challenge cup graphic

The Net Zero Innovation Programme (NZIP) brings together partnerships of researchers and local authorities, supporting them to define and co-create challenges and develop projects that could begin to address climate challenges.

The programme is one of 12 projects to make it to the final of the Climate Challenge Cup, a new international competition celebrating transformative civic research partnerships in the UK and US to combat climate change. NZIP is one of just six projects featured in the “Carbon reduction to achieve net zero” category – whilst one of the partnerships supported by the NZIP programme – a Local Climate Adaptation Tool in Exeter - is shortlisted as a finalist in the “Adaptation to climate change” category.

Commenting on the programme’s success, Professor David Price, UCL Vice-Provost (Research, Innovation & Global Engagement), said: “The Net Zero Innovation Programme recognises the desire of both researchers and local authorities to work in collaboration towards the common goal of carbon reduction, and the unique skills these different groups bring to a shared project. I am delighted that this project is a finalist in the Climate Challenge Cup, helping to further share UCL’s learning in this area at COP26 and beyond. Congratulations to the team.”

As part of the project, earlier this year the NZIP team launched the podcast “Together Towards Net Zero”, in which researchers and policy professionals involved in the programme explore opportunities and challenges faced in partnering with those from different worlds to help achieve net zero emissions commitments. It aims to facilitate the sharing of knowledge on partnership working, and act as a catalyst and inspiration for collaborative climate action.

Councillor Liz Green, the LGA’s lead member for climate change on the Improvement and Innovation Board, said: “The Local Government Association are really pleased to work with UCL in supporting both councils and universities in their local net zero and biodiversity goals. We’re very happy to be named finalists in the Climate Challenge Cup and are excited to learn from the other finalists as part the process.”

Among the other shortlisted finalists are projects featuring innovative climate solutions, such as injecting CO2 into concrete to reduce its carbon footprint by 60%, and a process to trap up to 25% of airborne CO2 into soil, which is currently being trialled in Texas and Yorkshire.

The Cup will culminate in an innovation showcase and awards ceremony on 10 November at COP26, the United Nations 2021 Climate Change Conference, held this year in Glasgow. The ceremony will take place in the COP26 ‘Green Zone’ and streamed live to a global audience.

Helen Goulden, Young Foundation CEO said: "We were impressed that UCL and the LGA joined forces to create the Net-Zero Innovation Programme to help local authorities and universities deliver initiatives that will reduce carbon emissions and support citizen needs like good housing and new job opportunities.

“I’m excited to host the Climate Challenge Cup innovation showcase and awards at COP26. We can’t fight the climate crisis in silo. It’s important to enable innovation partnerships between universities, civic bodies and communities to avert a climate catastrophe.”