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New home for University’s climate research

Centre news

The Priestley Building will provide a base on the University’s main campus for leading climate-related research.

Launched in 2016, the Priestley International Centre for Climate has already brought together world-leading expertise in all the key strands of climate change research.

The centre has more than 300 members from across the University covering a broad range of research areas. This includes improving predictions of future climate change through laboratory, field and computational modelling studies; developing tools to support decisions about future city infrastructure; and research exploring the cultural significance of climate in art and literature.

Now, in its new home, the dedicated space on campus will enable the centre to continue fostering collaboration across disciplines that is dedicated to understanding and tackling climate change.

The University Chancellor Dame Jane Francis was joined by Vice-Chancellor Sir Alan Langlands to officially open the new Priestley centre building, named after Yorkshire scientist Joseph Priestley, who is credited with the discovery of oxygen and conducted pioneering experiments on the carbon cycle.

The Chancellor said: “The complexity of the climate challenge demands a broad array of ambitious solutions. The new Priestley Building offers a fantastic environment in which to expand the interdisciplinary collaborations necessary to develop the solutions.”

The Priestley International Centre for Climate has members from across all of the University’s faculties. Membership is open to any University of Leeds academic staff member or PhD researcher whose work aligns with the vision of the centre.

Professor Piers Forster, Priestley centre Director and climate scientist on the Committee on Climate Change, said: “This new dedicated space will help take the centre to the next level, attracting the brightest and best students and staff from around the world to work with the great minds already working on climate solutions across the University.”

Priestley academics are already at the forefront of international climate research.

Eight researchers, which include Priestley centre director Professor Piers Forster and three Priestley chairs, are contributing to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report – the next comprehensive assessment of the science relating to climate change and is used to inform policymakers, international climate negotiators and other stakeholders.

More recently, a report including expertise from Leeds climate researchers underpinned the UK Committee on Climate Change report which has led to the groundbreaking commitment from the UK government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.