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Organised by Professor Judith Howard CBE FRS, Professor Ash Amin FBA, Professor Martyn Chamberlain and Professor Matthew Davidson
This meeting will review global sustainability in the context of: climate change; supply of essential materials, food and energy; and new disease patterns. The challenges to global societies will be discussed and the potential of advances in biology, chemistry, physics, medicine, energy technology and materials science to ameliorate these problems will be considered, together with the intrinsic limits of wholly scientific solutions.
The programme is available to download (PDF).
Biographies and audio recordings are available below.
The proceedings of this meeting are due to be published in a future issue of Philosophical Transactions A.
Professor Judith Howard CBE FRS, Durham University, UKOrganiser
Professor Judith Howard CBE FRS began her career as a DPhil student at Oxford carrying out neutron studies of biological molecules with Nobel laureate Professor Dorothy Hodgkin OM. Research in Bristol (1969-91) preceded appointment to the foundation chair of Structural Chemistry and first female Professor of Chemistry at Durham (1991). She became the first woman president of the British Crystallographic Association in 1992 and the first woman to head a five-star chemistry department at a UK university in 2006, a post from which she just retired. She is now the Director of the newly founded Biophysical Sciences Institute at Durham which spans 6 departments in the Science Faculty.
She was a Royal Society Vice-President 2004-5, and has also served on many national and international scientific and educational committees and working groups.
Professor Ash Amin FBA, Durham University, UK Organiser
Ash Amin is Professor of Geography at Durham University and Executive Director of the university’s Institute of Advanced Study. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, Fellow of the World Academy of Arts and Sciences, and Fellow of the British Academy. He was awarded the Royal Geographical Society’s Edward Heath Prize in 1998 for contributions to research on Europe.
One of the UK's most celebrated urbanists, Professor Amin is known for his work on the geographies of modern living, for example urban and regional society as relationally and materially constituted; and globalisation as an everyday process that thoroughly reconstitutes meanings of the local. He has also contributed to re-thinking the economy as a cultural entity, while his writings on multiculturalism have helped change policy on the management of ethnic diversity. He has (co) authored or (co) edited 17 books and (co) written over 100 journal articles and book chapters. His most recent books include: Cities: Re-imagining the Urban (with Nigel Thrift, Polity,2002); Architectures of Knowledge (with Patrick Cohendet, Oxford University Press, 2004); The Blackwell Cultural Economy Reader (edited with Nigel Thrift, Blackwell, 2005); Community, Economic Creativity and Organization (edited with Joanne Roberts, Oxford University Press, 2008); The Social Economy (edited, Zed Books, 2009); and Thinking About Almost Everything (edited with Michael O’Neill, Profile Books, 2009).
Professor Martyn Chamberlain, Durham University, UKOrganiser
JM Chamberlain is Professor of Applied Physics and Master of Grey College at Durham University. Before taking up his present post, JMC worked at Nottingham and Leeds Universities. JMC is a semiconductor physicist by background, although for a number of years he has worked on the development of the technology and applicable science of the terahertz (THz) frequency range. This has involved the realisation of new types of components and systems, together with the exploitation of THz radiation in such areas as: medical imaging, biology, security and non-destructive testing. He has also led a number of EU programmes in this field. He is one of the founder members of the Durham Biophysical Sciences Institute. He has authored more than 250 papers, given many invited talks and is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics.
Professor Matthew Davidson, University of Bath, UKChallenges and opportunities for sustainable chemical technologies
Matthew Davidson is currently Whorrod Professor of Sustainable Chemical Technologies at the University of Bath. He graduated in Chemistry from the University of Wales, Swansea, in 1990 and received a PhD from the University of Cambridge in 1993. He was elected to a Research Fellowship at St John’s College Cambridge in 1992 and held Lectureships in the Department of Chemistry at Cambridge (1995) and at Durham University (1995-1999) before being appointed to a Chair of Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Bath in 1999. He established the Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies (CSCT) at Bath in 2008 and is currently Director of its EPSRC Doctoral Training Centre (DTC). Professor Davidson is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and is a previous recipient of the Harrison Memorial Prize of the Royal Society of Chemistry and a Royal Society Industry Fellowship.
Dr Vicky Pope, Met Office Hadley Centre, UKThe reality of climate change: evidence and myths
Vicky has worked at the Met Office since graduating from Cambridge in the early 1980’s and worked initially on stratospheric research and later on climate modelling. She was a founding member of the Met Office Hadley Centre set up in 1990 to provide climate predictions and climate science to underpin government policy on climate change. She led one of the teams who developed the climate models use in IPCC 3rd and 4th assessment reports and the UK Climate Projections published in 2009 (UKCP09).
From 2002, she took on various senior management roles including responsibility for delivering the Met Office Hadley Centre Integrated Climate Programme to the main government customers, DECC and Defra. She has also initiated new programmes of work, in particular a new partnership with DFID to improve climate advice and science capacity in Africa and a multidisciplinary collaborative programme for DECC to provide policy relevant advice.
Vicky is on a number of national committees and advisory bodies: for example UKCIP, the British Council and the advisory board for the new climate change gallery at the science museum.
Vicky has just taken on a new role to improve how we communicate climate science advice. She will look at how the Met Office can develop stronger links with users of climate information and refine the communication of climate change and related issues. She will focus on how the Met Office can provide the most appropriate information to decision makers and others and understand how they use that information so that it can be improved. She will also look more broadly at the role the Met Office should play in communicating climate science and climate change in the light of its increasing importance in the public arena.
Professor Stuart Lane, Durham University, UKWater, risk and the future: the challenges of modelling and prediction
MA, PhD, Cambridge (1994). PhD research coupled civil engineering and geomorphology to understand how rivers work. Lectured in Cambridge until 2000 when he took up a Chair in Leeds, moving to a Chair in Durham in 2004, becoming Director of Durham's Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience in 2008. Research concerned with innovative modelling of rivers and catchments and their impacts upon people and organisms, including floods, droughts, fish and bugs. Has received a number of awards - from the International Association of Geomorphologists, International Association of Hydraulic Research, Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry Society and a Phillip Leverhulme Prize in Earth and Environmental Science.
Lynda Armstrong OBE, Shell International Exploration and Production BV, The NetherlandsTowards a sustainable energy future: realities and opportunities
Lynda is a Technical Vice President with Shell International. She leads Shell’s Exploration & Production Global Petroleum Engineering field development planning and study organisation, which has centres in The Netherlands, Houston, Aberdeen, India and Qatar. She has worked for Shell for more than 30 years in a variety of assignments around the world. These have included positions in Hydrocarbon Exploration and Production, Commercial and HR when she worked in recruitment and international staff planning.
Previous assignments have included New Business Development Director in Shell UK and Exploration Director in Petroleum Development Oman. She is experienced in managing large technical organisations and has led several major business improvement programmes to enhance operating performance.
In 2003 she was awarded the Order of the British Empire by the British Government for services to the Oil and Gas industry. She is a Fellow of the Energy Institute, a member of the Industry Board for the UK Resource Centre for Women in Science, Engineering and Technology and on the Editorial panel of the International Journal of Gender, Science and Technology.
Professor Allan Jones FREng, E.ON New Build & Technology Limited, UK Low carbon options for the future provision of power
Allan Jones is the UK Country Director for New Build and Technology, E.ON’s centre of excellence for Science, Engineering and Technology with offices in Gelsenkirchen and Hannover in Germany and Nottingham in the UK Nottingham.
Allan is a fuels, combustion and emissions expert with almost 35 years experience in the field. Previously to his current role, Allan held the role of Head of Research and Development for E.ON UK.
Following his work on technologies to reduce dust emissions from oil fired utility boilers; Allan was the recipient of a prestigious Royal Society Esso Energy Award. He gained a second award, the Institute of Energy Caleb Brett award, for his work on demonstrating the viability of Orimulsion as a reburn fuel to reduce NOx emissions.
Allan graduated from Southampton University with both a BSc and PhD in Physics. In 2004 he was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in recognition of his efforts to produce cleaner power from fossil fuels and he gave the 2005 BCURA Coal Science Lecture for which he was awarded the Robens Medal. In August 2006 he was awarded a Special Professorship in Low Carbon Technologies for Power Generation by the University of Nottingham. He was awarded a second Special Professorship in the School of Building Physics and Civil Engineering at Loughborough University in 2008.
His expertise is recognised through his holding of many key posts including Chairman of the Combustion Physics Group of the UK Institute of Physics, Director and now President of British Flame, Director and Vice President of the British Coal Utilisation Research Association, Chairman and founder member of the UK Coal Research Forum, a member of the UK Government Advisory Committee on Carbon Abatement Technology and a member of the UK Advanced Power Generation Technology Forum. He is also a Board Member for the UK Energy Technologies Institute; and sits on the Research Advisory Committee of the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) of the USA.
Professor Sir Ian Wilmut FRS FRSE, University of Edinburgh, UKBiomedical and social contributions to sustainability
Ian Wilmut is the Director of the MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Edinburgh. The Mission of the Centre is to develop new treatments for human disease through innovative research with stem cells. The new Centre covers the full spectrum of research - from basic mechanisms of stem cell regulation, via rigorous translational studies, to clinical trials with stem cells and their derivatives. Purpose designed facilities that will be completed in spring 2011 are being built alongside the new Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh. The research of Ian’s own group is directed toward understanding the mechanisms that bring about reprogramming of nuclei and with exploiting new opportunities for reprogramming cells to study degenerative diseases, such as Motor Neuron Disease.
Professor David Newbery FBA, University of Cambridge, UKThe economics of strategic resource shortages and climate change
David Newbery PhD ScD FBA, is Professor of Applied Economics at the University of Cambridge and Research Director of its Electricity Policy Research Group. Educated at Cambridge with degrees in Mathematics and Economics, he is a Fellow of the Econometric Society, the British Academy and the Centre for Economic Policy Research. He was President of the European Economic Association in 1996, awarded the Frisch Medal of the Econometric Society, 1990; and the IAEE 2002 Outstanding Contributions to the Profession of Energy Economics Award. Has advised Ofgem, Ofwat, and ORR, was a member of the Competition Commission, chairman of the Dutch Electricity Market Surveillance Committee. Currently on DEFRA’s academic panel of environmental economists and chair of the Lead Expert Group, Foresight Land Use Futures. Current research on electricity market design (including security of supply), transmission pricing, regulation, market power, environmental and energy policy design. Recent books A European Market for Electricity? (with others), and Privatization, Restructuring and Regulation of Network Utilities. Guest editor of The Energy Journal (2005) issue on European electricity liberalisation, and recently the recipient of Papers in Honor of David Newbery: The future of electricity¸ in The Energy Journal (2008).
Dr David Satterthwaite, International Institute for Environment and Development, UKHow urban societies can adapt to resource shortage and climate change
David Satterthwaite is a Senior Fellow at the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and Editor of the international journal Environment and Urbanization. A development planner by training with a Doctorate in social policy, he also teaches at the Development Planning Unit, University College London. His recent books include: The Earthscan Reader on Sustainable Cities (editor), Earthscan, 1999; Environmental Problems in an Urbanizing World (with Jorge E. Hardoy and Diana Mitlin), Earthscan, 2001; Reducing Poverty and Sustaining the Environment: the Politics of Local Engagement (co-editor and co-author), Earthscan, 2005; and Adapting Cities to Climate Change (co-editor with Jane Bicknell and David Dodman), Earthscan, 2009. He was a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for the Third and Fourth Assessments (1998 to 2007) and has been contributing to preparations for the Fifth Assessment. In 2004, he was awarded the Volvo Environment Prize and made an Honorary Professor at the University of Hull.
Professor Antony Costello, University College London, UKGlobal health and climate change: moving from denial and catastrophic fatalism to positive action
Anthony Costello is Professor of International Child Health, Director of the Centre for International Health and Development at the UCL Institute of Child Health, and Director of the UCL Institute for Global Health. His areas of scientific expertise include the evaluation of community interventions on maternal and newborn mortality, women’s groups, the cost-effectiveness of interventions, community and social life saving treatments for maternal and newborn mortality in the poorest populations, nutritional supplementation and international overseas aid flows for maternal and child health. He has published over 100 papers in international journals, including the Lancet, BMJ, Pediatrics, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, PLOS Medicine and Biomed Central journals, and has received award grants of over £20m including programme and project grants from the UK Department for International Development, the Wellcome Trust, Saving Newborn Lives Initiative, the Big Lottery Fund and the Health Foundation. He is the founder and Executive Director of Women and Children First, a UK based NGO which has developed an international programme of support for programmes to improve maternal and child health in poor populations. He is an Honorary Consultant Paediatrician at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust and at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases, UCLH Trust.
Professor Laurie Peter, University of Bath, UKTowards sustainable photovoltaics: the search for new materials
Laurie Peter studied in Southampton for his PhD before moving to Germany as a CIBA Research Fellow to work with Professor Heinz Gerischer in 1969. He stayed in Germany to become a researcher at the Fritz Haber Institute in Berlin, returning to the UK in 1975 to take up a lectureship in Southampton. He has been Professor of Physical Chemistry in Bath since 1991. He has been Chairman of the Electrochemistry Group of the RSC and a Vice President of the International Society of Electrochemistry. He was an Editor of the Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry. He is currently working part time at the University of Bath and at the Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin.
Professor Daniel G Nocera, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USAPersonalized energy for 1 (× 6 billion)
Daniel G Nocera is the Henry Dreyfus Professor of Energy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Director of the Solar Revolutions Project and Director of the Eni Solar Frontiers Center at MIT. His group pioneered studies of the basic mechanisms of energy conversion in biology and chemistry. He has recently accomplished a solar fuels process that captures many of the elements of photosynthesis outside of the leaf. This discovery sets the stage for a storage mechanism for the large scale, distributed, deployment of solar energy. He has been awarded the Eni Prize (2005), IAPS Award (2006), Burghausen Prize (2007), Harrison Howe Award (2008), ACS Inorganic Chemistry Award (2009) and the UN Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Organization’s Science and Technology Award (2009) for his contributions to the development of renewable energy. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences. He was named as Times Magazine 100 Most Influential People in the World.
Nocera is a frequent guest on TV (CNN, ABC Nightline, PBS, ABS Nature’s Edge, Jim Lehrer News Hour, NOVA, CBS, CNBC,Discovery Channel, The Science Channel and Plum in the US and Explora and RAI in Europe), radio (NPR, Bloomberg News, CBS, BBC, All Things Considered, Here and Now, Climate Connections, Voice of America) and is regularly featured in print (New York Times, National Geographic, Forbes, Discover, Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine, The New Republic, U.S. News and World Report, Outside Magazine, Wired, Technology Review). His 2006 PBS show was nominated for an Emmy Award. He worked with Robert Krulwich of ABC News to develop the pilot that was used to launch the PBS NOVA show, ScienceNow. He also worked with Mr. Krulwich and the web designer OddTodd to develop a five part series on The Lifestyle of Carbon, which was sponsored by the National Geographic. He opened the Mountain Film Festival 2007 in Telluride CO, the Aspen Forum in Aspen CO in 2008 and 2009, and the World Science Festival in NYC in 2008. He sits on several advisory boards and is currently working with several artists in the U.S and abroad, actors and producers in Los Angeles and major business leaders in the U.S. to help them develop a position that contributes positively to the energy and sustainability challenge confronting this planet. In 2008, he founded Sun Catalytix, a company committed to bringing personalized energy to the non-legacy world.
Professor Jonathan Jones FRS, The Sainsbury Laboratory, Norwich Research Park, UK Why GM crops
After PhD studies in cereal cytogenetics with Dick Flavell at the Plant Breeding Institute in Cambridge, Jonathan Jones (JJ) was a postdoc with Fred Ausubel at Harvard, working on symbiotic nitrogen fixation.
He then (1983-1988) worked in the private sector at a startup agbiotech company (Advanced Genetic Sciences, Oakland, California) founded to exploit new developments in molecular biology for crop improvement. This company was the first to field test a GM organism (“Frostban” the “ice minus” Pseudomonas strain for frost protection).
In 1988, he became one of the first recruits at The Sainsbury Laboratory in Norwich, and is a leading researcher in plant disease and disease resistance. His publications include: “The plant immune system”, Jones JD, Dangl JL. Nature  444; 323-9 and “Plant pathogens and integrated defence responses to infection”, Dangl JL, Jones JD. Nature.  411: 826-33. He currently uses new genomics methods to investigate how pathogens suppress host defences.
He has co-founded 2 companies; www.mendelbio.com, founded in 1997 to discover key regulators of crop productivity, and Norfolk Plant Sciences Ltd, to combine health-promoting and disease resistance traits in potato and tomato.
JJ was elected a Professor at the University of East Anglia in 1997, a member of EMBO in 1998, and was elected FRS in 2003. He is a board member of the European Plant Science Organization (EPSO). He was part of the Royal Society working group that produced the “Reaping the Benefits” report.
He has posted comments on GM crops at the Independent “Why I'm happy to play God with your food” and the Guardian “Comment is free” website.
Professor Robert Edwards, Durham University, UKPlants: biofactories for a sustainable future?
Robert Edwards trained as a biochemist at the Universities of Bath (B.Sc 1981) and London (Ph.D 1984), specializing in the biotransformation of synthetic compounds. He has subsequently worked in the private sector in the UK and US (Schering Agrochemicals; Noble Foundation), before moving to Durham University as a lecturer in 1991. As an independent investigator, he has developed interests in herbicide selectivity, plant secondary metabolism and most recently in biorefining and has published over 200 related papers, book articles and patents. In 2004, in recognition of his contributions to plant biochemistry, he was awarded a 5 year research development fellowship by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. Currently Head of the Biology Department at Durham, he will be taking on the role of Chief Scientist at the Food and Environment Research Agency as of August 2010.
Dr Jackie Hunter CBE, Pharmivation Ltd, UKChallenges for pharmaceutical industry - how to inspire and incentivise innovation
Dr Jackie Hunter has worked in the pharmaceutical industry for over 20 years and in 2002 she was appointed SVP and Head of the Neurology and Gastrointestinal Centre of Excellence (CEDD) for GlaxoSmithkline. The CEDD was focussed on the development of new therapeutics for neurodegenerative disorders, pain and gastrointestinal diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease.
In 2008 she became Head of Science Environment Development where she was responsible for developing an R&D strategy for precompetitive research and working with external scientific partners. She established GSK as a leader in open innovation and led the creation of the world’s first ‘open innovation’ campus for the pharmaceutical industry in Stevenage UK. She also played a leading role in the establishment of the Innovative Medicines Initiative in Europe and chaired the EFPIA research Directors Group.
In 2010 she left GSK forming Pharmivation Ltd, to concentrate on open innovation in bioscience. Jackie is also non-executive director of Proximagen Neuroscience. She was recently named as one of 2010’s Women of Outstanding Achievement in Science, Engineering and Technology for her contribution to innovation and entrepreneurship
Professor Sir Magdi Yacoub KBE FRS, Imperial College London, UKDisease appearance and evolution against a background of climate change and reduced resources
Professor Alan Bilsborough, Durham University, UKPanel Discussion: Overview and Future Directions
Alan Bilsborough is Emeritus Professor of Anthropology at Durham University. He was previously Demonstrator and Lecturer in Physical Anthropology, Cambridge University (1968-1984), and Professor of Anthropology at Durham (1985-2009), where he was also Dean of Social Sciences and Pro-Vice-Chancellor. His research interests are in the fossil record for human evolution, especially the cranio-dental evidence, and phyletic and adaptive interpretations based upon this. As well as several overview accounts, he has published on facial structure and its adaptive basis in Australopithecus and early Homo, the nature, extent and significance of diversity within Homo erectus, Neanderthal and early modern cranial and dental morphology, and on contingency, patterning and species in hominid evolution. He is currently working on a survey of early hominid diversity, and is an Advisory Editor for the Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Human Evolution.
Professor Tom McLeish, Durham University, UKPanel Discussion: Overview and Future Directions
Book prize event 6 Mar
History of science lecture 7 Mar
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