The news that General Electric is to create 750 new jobs on Teesside with its offshore wind blade manufacturing facility once more showcases how this region is at the forefront of the UK’s green industrial revolution.
As an anchor institution and engine for economic growth, Teesside University is proud to play its part in helping drive this forward by providing industry with the requisite skills and expertise.
Indeed, at the heart of the university’s research Grand Challenges is a focus on forging a smart, greener industrial economy.
The Grand Challenges foster interdisciplinary, solutions-focused research that plays to regional, national and international priorities and delivers outstanding impact.
The university has already established two research centres – a centre for digital innovation and a centre for sustainable engineering – which will focus on novel and disruptive technologies, processes and business models to deliver green and sustainable growth and increased productivity and prosperity.
The university is also working closely with the Tees Valley Combined Authority at the National Hydrogen Transport Centre as part of a wider Net Zero Innovation Hub.
The Net Zero Innovation Hub, based on the Tees Advanced Manufacturing Park (TeesAMP) in Middlesbrough, brings together expert insight, resources and partnerships to grow net-zero capabilities and opportunities, placing the region at the forefront of the clean energy agenda and helping to create hundreds more clean energy jobs.
Research shows support for green economy
A new research report from Teesside University has found that while people have concerns about reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, support for a greener future post-pandemic is strong.
The research, conducted by YouGov and commissioned by North of England gas distributor Northern Gas Networks, also saw one in three people (30 per cent) say that they are unsure whether Great Britain could be carbon neutral within the next 30 years.
The report also concludes that people want to see greener policy commitments at the top of the agenda when the country begins to
“build back better” after the Covid-19 pandemic.
The research finds that close to two-thirds (64 per cent) of respondents think the country should take the opportunity to rebuild the post-pandemic economy in a way that is greener and better for the environment.
The research also found that:
• Most people are as concerned about the environment as they were before the coronavirus outbreak (59 per cent), or even more concerned (14 per cent).
• In the North-East, 68 per cent of respondents said they were proud of the region’s industrial heritage and the sense of identity it continues to give to communities.
• More 18-to-24-year-olds in Great Britain want the government to prioritise unlocking investment in green energy (20 per cent) than on job creation (15 per cent).
• Of those who said Great Britain should take the opportunity to rebuild in a way that is greener and better for the environment, more than a third (35 per cent) think a green recovery will help to bring communities together.
The report, A Climate for Change, investigates current public attitudes around climate change and the shift to greener energy sources, as well as economic and environmental priorities. It has been written by Professor Matthew Cotton, chair of Public Policy at Teesside University.
Professor Cotton said: “Reaching net-zero requires big but achievable changes, both to society and to the ways in which our economy can grow sustainably.
“As individuals, the concept of ‘think global – act local’ is relevant. The benefits of ‘building back better’ are not limited to the environment and regaining economic prosperity, but also to the opportunity to promote positive social values and bring diverse groups together, as highlighted by many people taking part in our research.
“Businesses have a responsibility to provide environmental and community-led initiatives as part of the nation’s recovery.”
Mark Horsley, CEO of Northern Gas Networks, said: “Our research nationally and in the north of England demonstrates clear public support for urgent climate action. The findings also show that Great Britain is firmly behind green innovation as we look towards a post-pandemic recovery. Key to making that happen is collaboration between government, the public sector and other industry leaders to drive forward the debate.
“However, this research also suggests that when it comes to specific transitions to alternative energy sources such as hydrogen, public awareness and understanding is very low.”
Investment is critical to post-pandemic recovery
Teesside University has backed announcements in the Budget regarding the location of Treasury North in Darlington and to create a freeport in the Tees Valley.
Vice-chancellor and chief executive of Teesside University, Professor Paul Croney, said: “We are delighted that the government has chosen Darlington as the base for Treasury North and is investing in economic growth and jobs creation in the Tees Valley.
“It is critical that the post-pandemic recovery plan responds to the differing needs across the UK, and that the voice of the regions is reflected in future policy decisions. Locating this core government function outside of London, to be based here in the Tees Valley, will allow for more effective engagement with and understanding of the social, economic and cultural context.
“As an anchor institution with global reach, Teesside University is fully behind the levelling up ambition and contributes to this in collaboration with partners, to improve economic and social prosperity.
“We look forward to contributing to the development of the proposed economic campus through providing graduate talent and research expertise across accounting, finance, economics, politics and social policy, and to explore opportunities to work in partnership with policymakers to provide evidence, analysis and evaluation of key activities.”
For more information visit tees.ac.uk.