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Research and education communities urged to unite to tackle global climate chall


Note: Under embargo until 1.30pm, Monday 8 November, 2021

Research and education communities urged to unite to tackle global climate challenges


Joint Press Release

08 November 2021

Today at COP26 research and education organisations are launchinga call for collective global actionto tackle climate change.

CESAER - the European association of leading universities of science and technology, ISCN - the International Sustainable Campus Network, Science Europe and the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, the host city for COP26, want to bring together expertise in the research and education sectors to tackle the Net-Zero emissions challenge.

The four, who are partners of the Science for Net-Zero Symposium at the United Nations climate change conference, aim to boost the contributions of universities and other research organisations towards the world's aims of hitting carbon reduction targets. The group has set out a vision for collaboration and pledged to adopt the climate change mitigation measures within their own organisations as a show of commitment.

In particular, the group cites the UN Sustainable Development Goal 13, which prompts everyone to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts and calls for dedicated action in six key areas, including developing the next generation of students and researchers for the Net-Zero Transition, for participating organisations to reduce their own carbon footprint and improving the shared understanding of what needs to be done.

The call is for universities, national research performing organisations and research funding organisations, to look at how their actions and ambitions around climate change can collectively be upgraded.

Organisations that share the vision are invited to join the four and extend collective efforts towards a Net-Zero emissions future and take part in future COP meetings.

Organisations are also urged to face the challenges together by encouraging cross sectoral collaboration with other business sectors, non-governmental organisations, cities and regions, as well as pledging to support the Net-Zero Transition at all levels of policy making.

"We share a vision of a world where research and education communities work together to solve urgent global challenges and believe that research and education will underpin a sustainable relationship between the use and preservation of natural resources, and human activity," said the Presidents and Principal of the four organisations, launching the call from the COP26 site on the Scottish Event Campus.

We are launching a call to action based on our own commitment for the Net-Zero Transition to other partners, leaders, and the broad public, to join efforts towards the most pressing challenge of our time, climate change," said Professor Rik Van de Walle, President of CESAER.

"Cooperation is key to addressing the Net-Zero Transition. It needs many interdisciplinary research efforts to understand better the way climate phenomena are interlinked and how it will affect our life in the decades to come," said Dr Marc Schiltz, President of Science Europe. 

"Research and education communities have a crucial role to play in delivering Net-Zero, one of the greatest challenges facing humanity. Through collaboration and a whole systems-based approach, we can put sustainability at the heart of everything we do and work together to combat climate change," said Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Strathclyde.

"We are committed to promoting international collaboration and working to build bridges between our institutions, to deepen our impact and accelerate our efforts toward realizing the Net-Zero Transition," added Professor Gisou van der Goot, President of ISCN. 


Notes for editor: Call To Action: (pdf)

Media contacts


  • Calum Ian MacKichan, CESAER Communication Officer,+32 16 32 41 19

  • Valentina Garoia,Science Europe Communications Manager, + 32 (0)2 226 03 06

  • Victoria Smith,ISCN Executive Director,+1 604 3292171


CESAERis the European association of leading specialised and comprehensive universities of science and technology that: champion excellence in higher education, training, research, and innovation; influence debate; contribute to the realisation of open knowledge societies; and deliver significant scientific, social, economic, and societal impact.


Science Europeis the association representing 38 public research funding and performing organisations across 28 European countries. It brings together the scientific expertise of its members to push the frontiers of how scientific research is produced and delivers benefits to society. It advocates science and the scientific community to help build the European Research Area and shape the global scientific agenda.


ISCNis a global network of 90 universities in over 30 countries. The mission of the network is to provide an international forum to support higher education institutions in the exchange of information, ideas, and best practices for achieving sustainable campus operations and integrating sustainability in research and teaching.


The University of Strathclydeis a leading international technological university based in Glasgow. Inspired by the founding principle as ‘a place of useful learning', its mission is to make a positive difference to the lives of its students, to society and to the world. It is a member of CESAER and ISCN and works closely with government, industrial and NGO partners on the Net-Zero Transition.


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