Skip to main content

Night owls wanted for Leeds Climathon

Centre news
Press release

A 24-hour event at the University of Leeds is looking to sign up participants with staying power to crack a climate change challenge for the city.

Leeds is one of 121 major cities around the world taking part in the marathon climate event on 28-29 October. Participants will focus on tackling the question, “How can we deliver domestic carbon reduction in an age of austerity?” and will be expected to work in teams around the clock to come up with the best solutions.

One of five UK cities signed up for the Climate-KIC Climathon, Leeds is the only city in the North of England taking part. The Leeds event is being organised by the Priestley International Centre for Climate and the Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy (CCCEP) at the University of Leeds with support from co-sponsors Cites and CIE-MAP, as well as the Centre for Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Studies, Sustainability Research Institute, Spark and Leeds City Council.

The challenge, which has been set by Leeds City Council, seeks to discover new ways of approaching and financing energy efficiency measures in homes. Although Leeds City Council has been successful in attracting funding for efficiency measures in the past, recent national policy changes mean these are no longer cost effective, so the council is keen to attract ideas for innovative new business models and fresh thinking on the issue.

The “Climathon”, which is based on the concept of “hackathons”, is open for recruitment until 14 October. Unlike traditional hackathons, which involve computer programming, the event’s challenge – which includes examining governance mechanisms, business models, behaviour change and technological innovation, as well as data-crunching and computer modelling – makes it suitable for people from a broad range of backgrounds and skill sets.

The Leeds Climathon is especially keen to investigate the potential of a revolving fund, which captures and reinvests savings, keeping finance in the system. Other options include new initiatives to maximise participation in existing low cost solutions and novel suggestions for improving energy efficiency in our homes, especially in the private rented sector.

“We need to mobilise more people and increase the flow of great ideas to give ourselves the best chance of tackling climate change,” said Professor Andy Gouldson, Deputy Director of CCCEP. “This is especially the case at the local level where we’re always looking for better ways to fund and deliver the transition to a low carbon society. The Climathon enables us to do just that.”

He added: “It will be great to see what people come up with – we’re not usually allowed to put people in a room and keep them there for 24 hours until they come up with something groundbreaking!”

Participants will be placed into teams and will receive coaching and mentoring during the 24-hour challenge. At the end of the marathon – before a well-earned rest – each team will present its idea to a panel of judges and the winning concept selected.

Cllr Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council executive board member with responsibility for the environment and sustainability said:

“Leeds has a target to reduce carbon emissions in the city by 40% by 2020. Emissions from people’s homes make up about a third of this and we want to find new ways of financing energy efficiency measures to help people, save energy, reduce carbon, stay warm and improve their health.

“The Climathon will be another example of successful collaboration between the Council and the University that help to make Leeds a city of innovation.”

To take part in the Climathon, go to and sign up on the Leeds, West Yorkshire City page. Questions about the challenge should be emailed to Information is also available at



The Climathon is particularly suitable for individuals or existing teams with expertise in the following areas:

  • Finance
  • Legal
  • Governance
  • Community
  • Housing
  • Energy & renewables
  • Retrofitting/insulation
  • Charities/NGOs
  • Entrepreneurs/Start ups
  • SMEs
  • Building
  • Property rentals
  • Computing
  • Modelling
  • Social enterprise
  • Engineering
  • Climate change science
  • Fuel poverty
  • Policy
  • Anyone with an interest and passion for climate change issues


Climate-KIC Climathon

Climathon is a global 24-hour climate change event which will take place simultaneously in major cities around the world on 28 October 2016. Citizens around the world will get to take direct climate action in their own cities by coming up with innovative solutions to local climate change problems in 24-hour hosted workshops.

Last year’s Climathon saw 19 cities around the world take part in the first Climathon challenge on 18 June 2015. Climathon engaged more than 2.6 million people worldwide to take climate action. Winners of the city challenges showcased their solutions during the Paris Climate Summit.

Visit for an overview of partner organisations and the climate change challenges per city. Follow the Climathon on 28 October on social media via #Climathon and #climateleeds and


Climate-KIC is the EU’s largest public private partnership addressing climate change through innovation to build a zero carbon economy across four priority themes: urban areas, land use, production systems, and decision metrics and finance. Education is at the heart of these themes to inspire and empower the next generation of climate leaders. Climate-KIC is supported by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), a body of the European Union.

Priestley International Centre for Climate

The Priestley International Centre for Climate at the University of Leeds brings together world leading expertise in all the key strands of climate change research. As well as forging new international partnerships, the Priestley Centre’s focus is on interdisciplinary research partnerships that better link our physical, technological, economic and social understanding of climate change with strategies for mitigation and adaptation.

The Priestley International Centre for Climate is one of the University’s flagship strategic investments in response to the global challenge of climate change, with £6.82m invested in it over five years. It was launched in June 2016. The director is Piers Forster, Professor of Physical Climate Change in the School of Earth and Environment. @priestleycentre #climateleeds

Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy

The Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy (CCCEP) brings together some of the world’s leading researchers on climate change economics and policy with a mission to advance public and private action on climate change through rigorous, innovative research.

The Centre is hosted jointly by the University of Leeds and the London School of Economics (LSE) and is chaired by Professor Lord Stern of Brentford. It is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.


Contacts for press

Professor Andy Gouldson is available for interview. Please contact Sarah Reed , Press Officer – Media Relations, University of Leeds 0113 343 4196 email

Priestley International Centre for Climate Kate Lock, Communications Officer: Mob: 07792 633984

Leeds City Council Catherine Lindley, Press Officer:

0113 3957567 Mob: 07712 214224