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Symposium Programme: October 11, 2021

Welcome, Refreshments & Introductions

Scarman Gallery
08:30 - 09:00 Registration and refreshments

Scarman, Room 42
09:00 - 09:10 Introduction and welcome address by Professor Jackie Hodgson, Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research), University of Warwick
09:10 - 09:30 Opening speech from Professor Caroline Meyer, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research), University of Warwick. Includes a brief video from Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands

Morning Sessions

Work & Wellbeing in a Post-Pandemic World

09:30 - 12:00 (includes a 30 minute break)

Scarman, Room 42

Led by the Productivity & the Futures of Work GRP and Health GRP

Chair: Paddie Murphy, PLMCS


The Covid-19 pandemic has reshaped much contemporary thinking on the futures of work in terms of productivity, wellbeing, sustainability and environment, work conditions and workspaces.

In this series of short keynotes, leading experts of the Productivity and the Future of Work GRP and Health GRP, from across Warwick, will be reflecting on the way the nature of work and the work environment is transforming. The interdisciplinary approach aims to stimulate debate and challenge the understanding of the direction of travel based on the state of the art of research and practice.

Towards a Sustainable Energy Future: Local Solutions

09:30 - 12:00 (includes a 30 minute break)

Scarman, Room 43

Led by the Energy GRP and Innovative Manufacturing & Future Materials GRP

Chair: Matt Western, MP for Warwick & Leamington, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Groups for Electric Vehicles and Climate Change.


This session is about how we can achieve sustainable energy transitions through local actions – it is an interactive session that will include presentations by University of Warwick researchers, as well as opportunities for wider discussion and feedback from all attendees.

It draws out three main themes:

  • Technological change

  • Energy system decentralisation

  • The circular economy

We begin with an opening address, by Matt Western, Warwick and Leamington MP. This is followed by two presentations by the Energy Global Research Priority group on the many roles of local actors in sustainable change, and exploring a new ‘toolkit’ for local authority staff responsible for delivering action to reduce emissions.

This is followed by two presentations by the Innovative Manufacturing & Future Materials GRP, which focusing on the roles of batteries in local sustainable energy systems and innovations being led by Warwick researchers. It also includes a demonstration of a new battery innovation.

The final section of the morning will be table-led discussion on opportunities for, and constraints upon, local action for sustainable energy transitions, and what attendees think universities can offer in this space. This culminates in a panel-led discussion of these questions.


Lunch Break & Pre-Lunch Provocations

Scarman, Room 42
12:00 - 12:15
Student Sustainability Showcase, led by Richard Groves, Innovation Group, University of Warwick

Warwick Enterprise and the Innovation Group will share how our innovative students and graduates are advocating sustainability by taking practical action in a variety of ways. We are proud to have such a passionate body of students and graduates that want to create a positive impact: environmentally, socially and economically.

Over lunch delegates will have an opportunity to engage with Warwick students to learn more about the enterprising ideas that they’ve been developing to positively impact the world - from disrupting the energy sector, to advocating sustainability across the University and beyond through our Creating Changemakers initiative.

Courtyard Dining Room
12:15 - 13:15 Buffet lunch and networking

Afternoon Sessions

Future Health of the Region's Population & its Natural Environment

13:15 - 15:15

Scarman, Room 42

Led by the Health GRP and Food GRP

Chair: Liz Gaulton, Director of Public Health, Coventry City Council


Human wellbeing is influenced by our diet and our surroundings, and both are ultimately dependent on the natural world and its diversity.

We will explore how, firstly, the University of Warwick is working with partners and funders to protect the natural environment on our campuses and more widely within the region and, secondly, how our research is focusing on the application of biodiversity to produce and cultivate the components of a healthy diet in a sustainable way, as well as on using behavioural and social science approaches to encourage people to eat them.

We will discuss how diets changed during the lockdown, and consider birds, butterflies, beans and biological control!

Driving to Sustainability

13:15 - 15:15

Scarman, Room 43

Led by the Innovative Manufacturing & Future Materials GRP and Cyber Security GRP.

Chair: Ivan Wilson, EMBED


Coventry and Warwickshire have always been at the cutting edge of innovation in transportation.

This session will discuss the challenges and potential consequences of moving towards greater electrification in the region. To deliver sustainable transport plans, we must develop disruptive technologies and deploy cooperative, connected, and automated mobility. Smart transport can make transport safer, more efficient, and more sustainable. Plus, the integration of existing technologies can create new innovative services that are key to supporting regional jobs and growth.

The session will explore data-driven transport, and how users’ personal data must be safeguarded. Personal data is needed if we want to understand travel behaviours, but the data that is collected and shared is personally identifiable. During the session, we'll explore how to balance the effectiveness of strategies to deliver smart sustainable transport against the privacy needs of travellers.


Afternoon Tea & Coffee Break

15:15 - 15:45. Courtyard Dining Room

Changing Behaviours for a More Sustainable Society

15:45 - 17:00

Scarman, Room 42

Led by the Behaviour, Brain & Society GRP

Chair: Bret Willers, Head of Climate Change & Sustainability, Coventry City Council


This session focuses on the psychological challenges to building and supporting a sustainable society: from wellbeing across an expanding lifespan, to consumer choices in the age of climate change, to the behavioural and emotional adaptations required by our increasingly complex communities.

Projects include behaviour change interventions to encourage people to reduce household water waste; raising awareness of the risks associated with indoor air pollution, and exploring the integration of refugees and migrants.

We will present examples of this work and explain how insights from behavioural science can be harnessed for the good of individuals and local communities. The session will give participants an opportunity to discuss and share their ideas with a view to supporting new collaborations with the University.

Towards a More Sustainable & Resilient City

15:45 - 17:00

Scarman, Room 43

Led by the Sustainable Cities GRP and Habitability GRP

Chair: Councillor Jim O'Boyle, Cabinet Member for Jobs and Regeneration, Coventry City Council


This session showcases how to make urban areas more resilient and sustainable by linking up new technologies and novel forms of data collection with the communities they are designed to benefit.

First, we will draw from a range of international experiences to explore the role of geospatial mapping and citizen-generated data in fostering enhanced urban resilience for vulnerable communities, and in seeking to narrow the gap between how professionals and citizens perceive risk.

Secondly, we'll describe three ways of doing this with regards to air pollution, a major concern in Coventry and the largest environmental risk to public health in the UK. We explore: how creative urban architecture can turn raw data on air pollution into sensory experiences that help non-scientists to engage with the data; how machine learning algorithms can be used in tandem with a new generation of sensors to track air quality in real-time, allowing individual citizens to find the least polluted routes through their city; and, how historically-minded science teaching can raise awareness about the natural environment while showcasing the scientific heritage of a particular place.


Closing Address

17:00 - 17:15. Scarman, Room 42

Wrap up, final thoughts and next steps by Professor Jackie Hodgson, Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research), University of Warwick.

The event closes at 17:15.