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From climate research to innovation

A Priestley Centre innovation training programme for climate-related researchers

Delivering and scaling-up innovation from climate-related research is critical to rapidly and effectively transition to a resilient, net-zero future, and supporting society to adapt to the changes in climate we have already locked in. Using our research and expertise to underpin the development and implementation of new tools, products, services or processes will enhance the delivery of evidence-based solutions and responses to climate challenges.

Creativity is thinking of something new. Innovation is the implementation of something new.

Paul Sloane

The Priestley Centre is developing a range of activities to support University of Leeds climate-related researchers to build their knowledge, skills and capacity to identify and develop innovation opportunities from their research. Through these activities, we aim to embed a culture of designing our projects so that innovation is a natural outcome. We are now accepting applications from PGRs and early career researchers[1] to apply for a short training course focused on the what and how of delivering innovation from climate-related research. Through this pilot course you will gain insights on:

  • Innovation, its importance to the University and the response to the climate crisis
  • Identifying innovation opportunities and embedding them into your research projects through adopting the successful design thinking process.
  • The innovation process and learn methods to generate, analyse and develop your ideas
  • Engaging with external stakeholders; pitching your ideas; and real-word experiences of delivering innovation for climate
  • The support available at University of Leeds and the partnership eco-system

The time commitment is 3 days (13, 14 and 15 July) and the course will be delivered on campus (Charles Thackrah Building). Please note that this workshop will be taking place in person. Virtual participation is not possible.

If you are interested in taking part in this pilot course please complete this short application form by 12:00 on 30 June 2022.

If you have any questions please contact

More about the course

Across the three days, you will work in groups on a climate-related challenge and identify potential solutions by leveraging the design thinking framework. Used by successful organisations such as Toyota, Apple, Nike and Proctor and Gamble, design thinking is a user-centric iterative approach to problem solving and innovation. Championed by organisations such as IDEO and Stanford Design School, this approach borrows from a variety of disciplines including psychology, ethnography, computer science, and organisational learning. You will also reflect on applying this step-by-step iterative process to your own research projects.

About the facilitator

The lead facilitator for the course is Tony Morgan. Tony is an Associate Professor in Innovation Management at Leeds University Business School. He joined the University in 2019 following a successful career in technology and innovation at IBM as Chief Innovation Officer and a highly successful three-year Visiting Professorship sponsored by the Royal Academy of Engineering at the University of Leeds. He is the author of the book “Collaborative Innovation: How Clients and Service Providers Can Work by Design to Achieve It” and has co-authored the book “Design Thinking for Student Projects” which will be published in 2022.


[1] People may self-define their status for the purposes of this course.