Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Net Zero Expertise and Policymaking: Challenges and Opportunities

How can we effectively bring Net Zero innovators, sustainable technologies and policymakers together to drive effective and equitable Net Zero transitions?

June 22nd, 1:30 PM - 5:30 PM, M2 - WBS Teaching Centre, University of Warwick

Key Note Speakers

Helena Bennett

Helena Bennett is Head of Climate Policy at sector-leading environmental think-tank and charity Green Alliance.

Professor Steve Evans

Professor Steve Evans Director of Research, Institute for Manufacturing at the University of Cambridge and Director of the EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Industrial Sustainability.

Councillor Zoë Leventhal KC

Green Party Town Councillor in Abbey Ward, Kenilworth, and a barrister practising in public law and human rights.

About the Event

Join the Energy, Sustainable Cities, Innovative Manufacturing & Future Materials GRP for an event featuring leaders in the field of interdisciplinary research for a talk on "Net Zero Expertise and Policymaking: Challenges and Opportunities."

The journey towards a net-zero future is a complex one, requiring technical knowledge from a variety of disciplines. But how can this knowledge be effectively translated to policymakers without oversimplification or misrepresentation? And what are the practical considerations and obstacles involved, from both the expert and policymaker perspectives?

This event offers a platform for dialogue between academia, industry, third-sector organisations and policymakers.

Key questions that will be explored include:
  • How can we better connect technological innovation and Net Zero policymaking to accelerate national and local Net Zero transitions?
  • What existing institutions, networks, and capabilities exist for relaying net-zero and energy knowledge to policy-makers, and how can they be improved?
  • How should the relationship between politics and expertise be structured? Should experts simply provide facts, leaving the interpretation and impact on society to policy-makers? Or should they engage more deeply with the socio-political aspects of innovation and advise accordingly?
  • How can we better engage the citizens with technological innovation to both inform and empower civic engagement with Net Zero transitions? And what are the challenges and opportunities in doing so?

Leading voices in the field will deliver keynotes, and we welcome submissions from scholars, policymakers, and industry leaders to join us in exploring innovative and impactful ways to create effective cross-sector communication and collaboration on Net Zero innovation and policymaking.

There will be Q&A sessions in each sessions with engagement from the audience, followed by networking opportunities.

This event promises to be a rich opportunity for building and deepening Net Zero policymaking networks both regionally and beyond. It should be of particular interest to scholars, policymakers and industry leaders looking to seize the opportunities presented by Net Zero and build dynamic multi-sector networks to collaborate and co-create tomorrow’s solutions today.

Event Schedule

**There will be a tour of the Energy Innovation Centre (WMG) for a limited number of people from 12:00 - 12:30pm. If interested please make this clear when you register.
1:30pm - 2:30pm Researcher Networking & Lunch

2:30pm - 2:45 pm

Opening Remarks

Professor Caroline Meyer, Pro Vice Chancellor (Research)

2:45pm - 3:30pm
Net Zero Policy: Context, Challenges and Opportunities

Helena Bennett, Head of Climate Policy, Green Alliance

In conversation with: John Rembowski, Research Assistant, Energy Global Research Priority Group

3:30pm - 3:45pm Coffee Break
3:45pm - 4:30pm
Global Challenges, Local Solutions

Cllr Zoë Leventhal KC, Kenilworth

In conversation with: Dr. Caroline Kuzemko, Co-Lead, Energy Global Research Priority Group

4:30 pm - 5:30 pm
Net Zero: Directions, Actions and Interactions

Professor Steve Evans, Director of Research, Institute for Manufacturing, University of Cambridge

Chair: Dr Stuart Coles, Reader, WMG

Speaker and Chair Biographies

Helena Bennett

Helena Bennett is Head of Climate Policy at sector-leading environmental think-tank and charity Green Alliance.

With an interdisciplinary academic background in both Environmental Policy and Physics with Astrophysics, Helena has worked as a Senior Associate and Sustainability Lead at PwC UK and as a Research Advisor for the Climate Vulnerable Forum. Her policy and research work at Green Alliance centres on the power sector, heat & buildings, transport, industry and greenhouse gas removal. Recent publications include: "Moving on: greener travel for the UK" and "How to counter the risk to the UK's electric vehicle industry" in the context of the UK's response to the US Inflation Reduction Act.

Councillor Zoë Leventhal KC

Zoë Leventhal KC is a standing Town Councillor in Abbey Ward, Kenilworth.

In her role as Councillor, Zoë's priorities are to preserve and regenerate local biodiversity, encourage and aid local residents in taking energy efficiency measures and switch to renewable energy, and to promote active travel in and around Kenilworth. Appointed a Queen's Counsel in 2022, Zoë has over two decades of legal experience with expertise in climate change issues, the planning regime, health & social care, welfare rights, and discrimination. She currently leads a programme of work on the transition to Net Zero within the legal profession.

Professor Steve Evans

Professor Steve Evans Director of Research, Institute for Manufacturing at the University of Cambridge and Director of the EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Industrial Sustainability.

Having spent twelve years in industry and finished his career as an Engineering Systems Manager at Martin-Baker Engineering, Steve has now worked in academia for over two decades. He has also acted as a Specialist Advisor to the House of Lords and serves as Chairman of the Manufacturing Policy Panel for the Institution of Engineering and Technology. His interdisciplinary research spans areas including sustainable industrial strategy, building just and equitable food systems and sustainable cities, with a focus on working with organisations to develop collaborative solutions.

Dr. Stuart Coles

Stuart Coles is a Reader and Assistant Professor in Sustainable Materials and Manufacturing at WMG and Deputy Director of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Sustainable Materials and Manufacturing.

Stuart's main research interests centre on the environmental impact of industrial products and processes, with a particular focus on the use of waste and bio-based and recycled materials. In his work with the EPSRC, he is leading research into the generation of hydrogen from wastewater treatment using microbial electrolysis cells. He has also published research into the factors that influence the electric vehicle market and its overall environmental impact, and recently co-authored the paper "Understanding the future impacts of electric vehicles? An analysis of multiple factors that influence the market".

Dr. Caroline Kuzemko

Caroline Kuzemko is Co-Lead of Warwick's Energy GRPLink opens in a new window, Link opens in a new window, Reader in International Political Economy and Co-Chair and Co-Founder of the European Council for Political Research (ECPR) Research Network on Energy Politics, Policy, and Governance.

As Deputy Director of UKERC Phase 4, Theme 1, on UK Energy in a Global Context, and a Co-Investigator on the 'Geopolitics of Energy Transitions' UKERC project, Caroline's current research centres on the linkages between geopolitics and sustainable and just energy transformations. Recent research roles include work as Principal Investigator of the 'Brexit & Beyond: UK Zero Carbon Energy Policy and PoliticsLink opens in a new windowLink opens in a new window'. She is a frequent collaborator with non-academic partners, including local governments, BEIS, Ofgem, UK100, and MPs, helping to shape ideas and policies regarding sustainable energy transitions. She has published a number of books related to the politics of energy, including: The Energy Security-Climate Nexus: Institutional Change in the UK and BeyondLink opens in a new windowLink opens in a new window, and The Global Energy Challenge: Environment, Development and SecurityLink opens in a new window. Caroline is also a member of Warwick's Environment & Social Sustainability Action Group (ESSAGLink opens in a new windowLink opens in a new window).

John Rembowski

John Rembowski is Research Assistant for the Energy GRP and Sustainability Network Officer at Warwick Business School.

Currently completing an MSc in Global Environmental Politics at the University of Edinburgh, John's research centres on the role of co-operatives in tackling the climate and ecological crises, with a focus on the theory-praxis gap. Previous work for the Energy GRP has included the Sustainable Coventry and Warwickshire Symposium in 2021 and StayGreen, a website and toolkit designed to help Town and Parish Councils identify and implement sustainability policies. Beyond Warwick, John has worked as a Lead Consultant for student-led environmental consultancy Six Degrees; acted as Coordinator, Writer and Editor for Extinction Rebellion Global; and has written for The Ecologist.