Northumbria University Energy Futures Programme

Public Sector • Gateshead, Middlesbrough, Newcastle upon Tyne, Stockton-on-Tees, and more...

Energy Futures is a diverse community of academics from across departments and faculties at Northumbria University, collectively working towards a sustainable energy future.

  • Stock photo: Northumbria University

Northumbria University's story

Northumbria University's Energy Futures programme recognises that the complex challenges resulting from human-caused global heating affect all areas of our lives, and the programme aims to help the North East Region work towards a net-zero future.

Energy Futures is a diverse community of approximately 50 academics drawn from many different departments and faculties across Northumbria University. Their vision is to help meet the world's rapidly-growing energy needs, by driving forward innovative research to create a cleaner energy future for everyone. They have recognised that this is a multidimensional challenge, which transcends individual science disciplines and necessitates research designed to deliver impact.

Drawing on expertise in a range of areas - from electric vehicles and low carbon buildings to agenda-setting sustainable business models, urban biodiversity and responsible design - the Energy Futures programme enables the combined contribution of the University's experts to benefit a wide variety of external partners.

Northumbria University has already been recognised internationally for the quality of its environmental efforts, having reduced its own carbon emissions by half in the past five years – with a target of zero carbon by 2040. It was recently ranked fourth in the UK and 27th in the world for sustainability, due to initiatives such as Energy Futures keeping it at the forefront of research and education in clean energy technology, as well as its offering of acclaimed courses in the sustainability field, and its own progress to zero carbon.

Useful learnings from Northumbria University

The university has found that the managed integration of the widest range of relevant disciplines into a co-ordinated programme, backed up by appropriate policies and skills training, enables collective success and thereby maximises the programme's potential impact. (This approach is applied to six other similar programmes within the university addressing other complex societal and global problems.)

Insights from industry research indicate that prioritising equality, diversity and inclusivity leads to greater levels of innovation. This is a strategic priority for Energy Futures in particular, because the challenge of achieving net zero carbon emissions requires solutions on a 10-year timescale, which is inextricably linked to innovation.

The combined Renewable Energy North East Universities (ReNU) and Energy Futures platform includes a portfolio of over 30 industry partners ranging from large multinationals to small and medium-sized enterprises. This platform is the gateway for all energy-related work at Northumbria University.

Lastly, the University promotes the value of STEM to society and is involved in influencing UK science policy.

Northumbria University's metrics

Carbon emissions: The university has an ambitious but achievable target of zero carbon by 2040, and successfully reduced its carbon emissions by fifty per cent in the past five years.

The university's success is also evident in the fact it has been ranked fourth in the UK and 27th in the world for sustainability.

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Response to climate crisis

Mitigation & Adaptation




Public Sector, 250 to 10,000 people

Shared by

North East and Yorkshire Net Zero Hub

Updated Nov, 2023

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