ECR Net Zero Conference (Manchester, 30 November – 1 December 2022)

We were thrilled to co-host the first ECR Net Zero Conference with eight other fantastic organisations working in the Net Zero space – C-DICE, CO2RE, CREDS, ERA, EnergyREV, IDRIC, TFI Network+ and UKERC.

Taking place at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester, on Wednesday 30 November – Thursday 1 December 2022, the conference provided an opportunity for key research organisations and ECRs to meet and network with peers from different research communities within the wider net zero research community, and build a collaborative community.

Recordings and slides (where we have permission to share them) are available below.

Here’s the agenda:

Day 1 – Wednesday 30 November 2022

11:30-13:00Registration and lunch
Carys Blunt, UKCCSRC (on behalf of the organising committee)
Mercedes Maroto-Valer, IDRIC
13:45-14:45Plenary session 1: COP27 – Reflections and actions
William Blyth, Oxford Energy Associates
Mathieu Blondeel, Warwick Business School
Laura Stefanini, University of Sheffield
Mirjam Roeder, Aston University
Chaired by Pooya Hoseinpoori, Imperial College London
14:45-15:30Coffee break
15:30-17:00Parallel sessions: Skills based workshops
Net Zero Policy workshop

Run in collaboration by C-DICE and UKERC, this workshop will provide participants both with the theoretical framework on contributing to the policymaking process and the opportunity to take the first steps in their policy engagement journey. Participants will also hear from academia and industry representatives who will share their experiences and practical tips for successful engagement.

Speakers: Will Blyth, Jude Asibor, Vivien Chow and Anna Pultar

Effective Industry Engagement

In the initial panel session, you will hear insights from successful industry-academic collaborations, who will discuss how to effectively communicate research to industry audiences, and build effective working relationships with industry partners. In the second half of this session, you will have the opportunity to workshop with fellow ECRs to discuss ways to better engage with industry, through oral, written and presentation means.

Speakers: Lindsay Armstrong, Kyra Sedransk-Campbell, Rhys Jones, Cheryl Anderson, Laiz Souto and Jeannie Tan (chair)

Net Zero Career Pathways: Knowledge Exchange

This practical and interactive session will help you make the most of your current research in shaping your future career. It will involve theoretical input and talks by ECRs who are now working in industry, government, academia and the voluntary sector.

Speakers: Amish Sarpotdar, Timur Yunusov, Abdul’Aziz Aliyu, Alice Garvey, Jon Runyon

17:00–19:00Networking reception
19:00-22:00Conference dinner


Day 2 – Thursday 1 December 2022

08:30-09:00Arrivals and coffee
09:00-10:30Parallel sessions: Net zero topical discussions
Industrial Decarbonisation: People and Place

Industrial emissions are some of the hardest to abate. In this session, we will look at the activity happening on the ground in the UK’s industrial clusters, with a particular focus on the just transition, social licence and skills needed to meet the industrial decarbonisation challenge.

Speakers: Bryony Livesey, Jen Roberts, Kirstie Simpson and Rachel Bray

COP27 World Café

Based on The World Café method this workshop will bring together ECRs to discuss ways to tackle challenges identified by COP27 and how to make the resolutions agreed a reality. Each station will cover a different challenge or resolution with participants moving between stations to discuss their ideas.

Led by Tom Dolan

Social and Environmental Challenges of Net Zero

Led by ECRs, this session will bring different ECR perspectives to the social and environmental challenges of meeting the 2050 Net Zero targets. The session will then break out into an interactive element to discuss some of these challenges further.

Led by Catrin Harris, Genevieve Hodgins and Caspar Donnison

10:30-11:00Coffee break
11:00-12:00Plenary session 2: What are the main challenges in delivering Net Zero – Bottlenecks and barriers
Nick Eyre, University of Oxford
Rob Gross, Imperial College London and UKERC
Emily Cox, University of Oxford
Uttara Narayan, University of Oxford
Matthew Winning, UCL
Closing remarks
Debbie Froggatt, TFI Network+ (on behalf of the organising committee)
12:30-14:00Networking lunch and departures

Session recordings

 Video recordings (via the live webinars) of our conference sessions will be available below, where we have permission to share them.

Other resources


Industrial Decarbonisation parallel session - Outputs


COP27 World Cafe - on-demand mural board

Speaker & chair biographies (A-Z)

Abdul’Aziz Aliyu, IEAGHG

Abdul’Aziz A. Aliyu is currently working with the IEAGHG, his role includes the design and scope of technical studies specifically carbon capture on industrial processes and low carbon hydrogen production. Abdul’Aziz has a Master’s degree in ‘Energy and Environment’ from the University of Leeds and Doctorate degree from the University of Sheffield in ‘Post-combustion Carbon Capture’.


Cheryl Anderson, Tata Steel UK

Cheryl is the Head of Innovation and External Networks for Tata Steel UK, having spent over 18 years working in the steel industry, including international leadership roles in R&D, Business Development and Marketing. This background enables Cheryl to bring experience from different disciplines to her current work leading on innovation, harnessing the power of cross-functional and external collaboration, and leading company networks to deliver results in areas as diverse as health, safety & well-being, customer experience and new technology.

Cheryl holds a Bachelor’s degree in Materials Science and Engineering and an Engineering Doctorate in Steel Technology from Swansea University. She is a professional member of the Institute of Materials Minerals and Mining (IOM3).

Lindsay-Marie Armstrong, University of Southampton

Dr Lindsay-Marie Armstrong is an Associate Professor within Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University of Southampton. She Chaired the Clean Carbon University Strategic Research Group, a network of over 150+ academic and industrial partners driving researcher and innovation towards a decarbonised future; and she was instrumental to the development and launch of the Solent Cluster. She sits on the UK Industrial Decarbonisation Multi-cluster Committee and is an adviser and member of the Industrial Key Stakeholder forum supporting BEIS with the scoping of the industrial decarbonisation agenda. Her research is heavily multidisciplinary bridging the fields of chemical engineering, mechanical engineering and mathematics as she develops computational tools for accelerating scale-up of reactive technologies. She has extensive knowledge of reactive multiphase modelling, particularly for carbon capture and utilization technologies.

Jude Odianosen Asibor, Cranfield University

Jude Odianosen Asibor is an Energy and Sustainability PhD research student at Cranfield University. He is also a Lecturer in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Benin, Nigeria. He received his BEng in Mechanical Engineering in 2014 from the University of Benin, Nigeria and his MSc in Mechanical Engineering in 2018 from Coventry University, UK. He also bagged an MEng in Thermal Power Engineering in 2019 from the University of Benin, Nigeria.

Jude joined the Energy and Sustainability Theme of Cranfield University in September 2019 as a PhD researcher. His research is focussed on assessing the global deployment potential of greenhouse gas removal technologies. He is currently undertaking a C-DICE Secondment with HyDEX to assess policy barriers to the uptake of a hydrogen economy in the Midlands region of the UK.

Mathieu Blondeel, Warwick Business School

Mathieu Blondeel is a Research Fellow at the Warwick Business School where he is currently working in the UKERC theme 1 group, “UK Energy in a Global Context”. The theme has two projects: one on The Geopolitical Economy of Energy System Transformation; and a second on Brexit & Beyond: UK Net Zero Energy Policy. Beyond that, he is interested in a variety of topics at the intersection of global climate and energy politics. He obtained his PhD at Ghent University, Belgium.


William Blyth, Oxford Energy Associates

Dr William Blyth is Senior Research Fellow for Energy at the UK Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office, and Director of Oxford Energy Associates, an independent energy research company. He holds Honorary Research Fellow position at Imperial College London. His area of research is energy security, climate change and sustainable development, particularly the electricity sector transition in developed and developing countries.

At the FCDO, William helped establish the Climate Compatible Growth programme, a five year £38m research programme which aims to accelerate the roll-out of improved infrastructure that reduces GHG emissions and increases inclusive economic growth in developing countries. He is also part of the UK Energy Research Centre consortium, focusing on market design options to support the UK transition to zero-carbon electricity. William previously worked at the International Energy Agency in Paris, the European Environment Agency in Copenhagen and for AEA Technology Environment. He has a DPhil in Physics from Oxford University.

Vivien Chow, Loughborough University

Dr Vivien Chow joined Loughborough University in June 2017 as lecturer in construction engineering management. Previously she was a Research Associate at the University of New South Wales, and undertook her PhD studies at the University of Hong Kong. Her PhD explored the politics of engagement, specifically how power relationships play out during public engagement processes. In September 2022 Vivien joined the academic leadership of C-DICE, the Centre for Postdoctoral Development in Infrastructure Cities and Energy.

Vivien’s current research interests fall under the following broad areas: public engagement and stakeholder management; risk management of critical infrastructure; the role of material artefacts in communications across knowledge boundaries; the power dynamics at play in projects and project management processes; and qualitative methodology, particularly processual research and ethnographic studies.

Emily Cox, University of Oxford

Emily Cox is a research associate at the University of Oxford in the Smith School, working on the Greenhouse Gas Removal Hub CO2RE. Emily is also a researcher at Cardiff University, working for the UK Energy Research Centre and the Leverhulme Centre for Climate Change Research.

Emily is an interdisciplinary social scientist in energy and climate. She is interested in all aspects of low-carbon transitions, but particularly risk, resilience, public attitudes and behaviours, and socio-technical systems. Emily is affiliated with numerous research centres on energy and climate, and recently led a project looking at public perceptions of new renewable energy technologies. She previously worked as a lecturer in Psychology at Cardiff University, and taught courses on Climate Change and Energy Policy at the University of Sussex. She did her PhD at SPRU at the University of Sussex. She also previously worked as a social science researcher at the Royal Academy of Engineering and the energy utility E.ON, and as a project manager for Greenpeace UK.

Nick Eyre, CREDS and University of Oxford

Nick Eyre is Professor of Energy and Climate Policy in the Environmental Change Institute of the University of Oxford. He is currently Director of the Centre for Research into Energy Demand Solutions (CREDS), which is UK Research and Innovation’s major centre for research on energy use. He is an acting Co-Director of the University of Oxford’s new Zero-carbon Energy Research Oxford (the ZERO Institute).

Nick has been a Lead Author and Review Editor in the last two cycles of the IPCC Mitigation Report. He is a member of the Science Expert Group of the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and scientific advisor on climate change to Oxford City Council. Nick has a doctorate in nuclear physics from the University of Oxford. From 2007 to 2017, he was a Co-Director of the UK Energy Research Centre, and before that Director of Strategy at the Energy Saving Trust.

Alice Garvey, University of Leeds

Alice Garvey is a 3rd year PhD candidate and Research Fellow in energy demand at the University of Leeds, working within the Sustainability Research Institute. She is supporting the delivery of a variety of collaborative projects within the CREDS material and products research team, including leading on the net zero food system modelling. Alice has broad interest and experience in interdisciplinary projects linking the social and environmental sciences, and has previously worked with NGOs and completed a secondment with the CCC. She holds a BA from Durham University, and an MSc in Climate Change and Environmental Policy from the University of Leeds.

Robert Gross, UKERC and Imperial College London

Robert is the Director of the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC).  He is Professor of Energy Policy and Technology at Imperial College London. He has extensive teaching and post-graduate training experience.

Robert is a Fellow and Council member of the Energy Institute. He is also Council member and former Chair of the British Institute of Energy Economists (BIEE). Robert is currently a member of the Academic Advisory Panel for Ofgem (2018 to date). He has been a specialist advisor to 3 Parliamentary Select Committees, has experience of and engagement with UK policymaking, and has published extensively on energy policy, economics and technological innovation.

Pooya Hoseinpoori, Imperial College London

Pooya Hoseinpoori is a researcher at the Sustainable Gas Institute and the Centre for Environmental Policy at Imperial College London. Her research focuses on energy system modelling for infrastructure planning and studying the implications of climate change mitigation targets on energy systems transition.


Rhys Jones, University of South Wales

Rhys Jones is a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of South Wales. His experimental activities mostly involve the conversion of industrial wastes to sustainable, high value products. More recently this has involved working closely with TATA Steel and Welsh Water with an aim to help decarbonise their processes.


Bryony Livesey, IDC

Bryony Livesey leads the Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge (IDC), which forms part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF). IDC is a £210m programme with £261m match funding from industry, designed to deploy low carbon technologies and enabling infrastructure in heavily industrialised regions of the UK. Bryony was previously Head of Technology at Costain, with responsibility for the identification and development of new technology. She was a member of BEIS’ CCUS Cost Challenge Task Force, a Director of the CCSA (where she co-chaired the Technical Working Group) and has previously chaired the Independent Advisory Panel for the UKCCSRC.

Mercedes Maroto-Valer, IDRIC

Professor Mercedes Maroto-Valer (FRSE, FIChemE, FRSC, FRSA, FEI) is Champion and Director of the UK Industrial Decarbonisation Research and Innovation Centre (IDRIC) focused on accelerating the transition to net zero of the UK industrial clusters and establishing the first world net-zero industrial cluster. Mercedes is Deputy Principal (Global Sustainability) and Director of the Research Centre for Carbon Solutions (RCCS) at Heriot-Wat University. Her internationally recognised track record covers energy systems, CCUS, integration of hydrogen technologies and low-carbon fuels. She has over 550 publications, holds leading positions in professional societies and editorial boards and has received numerous international prizes and awards.

Uttara Narayan, University of Oxford and CREDS

Uttara Narayan’s research explores the relationship between racial justice and energy demand in the UK as part of CREDS at the University of Oxford. The objective of this research is to find ways to achieve racial justice within the UK’s energy demand landscape by developing a research agenda that identifies research gaps and imagines a just future. This research draws upon multidisciplinary traditions to understand energy use and racialisation. Previously, Uttara worked for the World Resources Institute in India on electricity governance. Her work involved incorporating political economy and social justice perspectives in clean energy transition and electricity access interventions. Her academic background is in development studies and public policy.

Anna Pultar, IDRIC

Dr Anna Pultar is a Policy Research Officer at IDRIC.  She works to inform active UK and Devolved Government policy development through communication of IDRIC’s leading research expertise, the experience of industry partners and independent policy analysis. Anna holds a degree in comparative politics from the University of Vienna and a PhD in social policy from the University of Edinburgh.


Jen Roberts, University of Strathclyde and UKCCSRC

Dr Jen Roberts is a Senior Lecturer and Chancellor’s Fellow in Energy, Society and Policy at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. Jen works in the interdisciplinary field of energy systems and technical, social and environmental risk – with particular focus on net zero subsurface resources including CO2 storage. A strong theme of her work is whole systems impacts and benefits for integrated and equitable decision making to inform a just transition to a sustainable future. A geoscientist by training, she still does research on rocks and fluid flow from time to time! An advocate for inclusion, Jen joins the UKCCSRC as Deputy Director and Early Career Lead this April, having been an active member since the very beginning.

Mirjam Roeder, Aston University

Mirjam Roeder is a Reader at the Energy and Bioproducts Research Institute (EBRI) at Aston University. She is an experienced research leader in sustainable bioenergy systems and the transition to low-carbon societies bridging engineering, natural and social sciences. Mirjam has an extensive knowledge of the bioenergy sector including biomass availability, conversion technologies, BECCS, markets, end-use demand.


Jon Runyon, Uniper Technologies

Dr. Jon Runyon is currently a Gas Turbine Combustion Engineer at Uniper Technologies, supporting the operation of Uniper’s European gas turbine fleet and future decarbonisation activities. He received his PhD in mechanical engineering from Cardiff University’s Gas Turbine Research Centre in 2017 and continued as a post-doc researcher until 2020. During his time at Cardiff University, he was also an ECR and supported UKCCSRC-funded projects on topics such as oxyfuel combustion.


Amish Sarpotdar, BEIS

Amish Sarpotdar is a Senior Evaluation Analyst working in the Buildings, Energy, and Evaluation team at the Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy. Before this Amish was a Postdoctoral Research Associate on the FAIR project, responsible for mapping socio-spatial vulnerabilities to energy and transport poverty in the UK. This part of his work quantified, modelled, and mapped vulnerabilities to energy and transport poverty. Amish has a doctorate in Planning and Environmental Management. The research findings from his PhD were used to inform Mumbai’s spatial data infrastructure policy. Amish’s research interests include spatial analysis, GIScience, data infrastructure, and policy. Previously, he was a Senior Infrastructure Consultant for the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Government of India and assisted in the development of the Smart Cities Mission. He has also worked as a Research Assistant in the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad and for the UK 2070 Commission.

Kyra Sedransk Campbell, University of Sheffield

Dr. Kyra Sedransk Campbell (KSC) is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Sheffield. She is co-inventor of the Oxidative Ionothermal Synthesis (OIS) method, and a co-founder of Nanomox Ltd. Her research is at the interface of chemical engineering, chemistry, and materials science; she uses fundamental research, including developing new technologies and techniques, to inform important issues around sustainability. Her academic research includes the development of low-energy and low-cost synthesis of nano/micro metal-based particles, such as zinc oxide, LDHs, and more. In the area of carbon capture she has been significant in understanding the corrosion challenges that plague the existing technologies to make the infrastructure safer and less susceptible to corrosion. She is the 2017 winner of the IChemE Nicklin Medal. She is a member and the lead EDI working group for the ISCF TFI Future Leaders Group, on the EDI committee for the TransFire project, on the Scientific Advisory Committee of the TFI Network+, and serves as EDI lead for the CCS Network+. She is engaged in working towards improving EDI in manufacturing, as a pathway to make it more appealing, and therefore sustainable in the UK, as a career.

Kirstie Simpson, Chester Business School

Within Chester Business School, Kirstie Simpson has responsibility for the University’s Strategic Economic Development team. Alongside the academic responsibilities of my role, she oversees a number of significantly-sized externally funded projects, totalling almost £40m. More recently her work has focussed on the Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge and the requirement and importance of the development of skills throughout the decarbonisation supply chain. She is the chair of the Skills, Learning and Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) subcommittee for the HyNet project, leading the charge for a more inclusive and diverse workforce.

Laiz Souto, University of Bristol

Laiz Souto is an electrical engineer specialized in power systems with academic and professional experiences in Europe, North America, and South America. She is currently a Postdoctoral Research Associate in Future Energy Networks at the University of Bristol with the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. Her main research interest is in strengthening power grid resilience to extreme weather events, considering large-scale transmission and distribution systems, planning and operational aspects, net-zero carbon emissions targets, and sector couplings. She is also an active member of IEEE, CIGRE, and ESIG.

Laura Stefanini, University of Sheffield

Laura is a PhD researcher in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at The University of Sheffield, since May 2019. She is part of the Cements@Sheffield (led by Professor John L. Provis) and Sustainable Materials at Sheffield (led by Dr Brant Walkley) research groups. Her PhD, titled “Design of alkali-activated material with maximised recycled content” is part of the European project Interreg NWE: URBCON. Laura’s research focuses on replacement of cement, valorisation of waste materials, and reduction of CO2 emissions via alkali-activation, in agreement with a sustainable development of the construction industry and with the circular economy.

Previously, she completed a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering at Politecnico di Milano, Italy (2015), followed by two Master’s degrees at Universitat Politècnica de València, Spain, in Sustainable Chemistry (MSc, 2017) and in Environmental and Industrial Safety (MEng, 2018). During those years in Valencia, Laura joined the ITQ (Instituto de Tecnología Química) Research Centre focusing on heterogeneous catalysis and catalytic removal of contaminants from the environment in the framework of sustainable chemistry.

Jeannie Tan, IDRIC and RCCS

Dr. Jeannie Z. Y. Tan is currently a research fellow of the Research Centre for Carbon Solutions (RCCS) and project technical lead of the UK Industrial Decarbonisation Research and Innovation Centre (IDRIC). Currently, she is one of the ECR committes within IDRIC-ECR. She received her BSc. (2010) from The Universiti Sains Malaysia, and her Msc. (2013) from Zhejiang University. She obtained her PhD (2017) from The University of Melbourne and after that joined the RCCS at Heriot–Watt University as Research Associate in the same year. She received the IAAM Young Scientist Medal in June 2022 her contribution to Micro and Nanostructured Materials.

Matt Winning, UCL

Dr Matt Winning is a Senior Research Fellow at the UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources working on climate policy and the circular economy, especially on interactions between the environment and the macroeconomy, often using energy system and economic models. He has been part of UKERC phases 3 and 4 (with outputs from phase 3 cited in the IPCC’s WG3 AR6), is an author on the Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change and currently works as a researcher on the Circular Metals project which is part of the UKRI funded National Interdisciplinary Circular Economy Research (NICER) Programme.

Matt is also a passionate climate communicator and hosts the BBC Radio 4 show Net Zero: A Very British Problem as well as being a guest on The News Quiz, The Now Show, The Verb, and co-hosted of the BBC Radio 4 show Mark Watson and Matt Winning: Seriously, Though, The Planet. He performs live climate change comedy, including three different Edinburgh Fringe shows and has a TEDx talk about the importance of using humour to discuss climate change. His debut comedy book Hot Mess: What On Earth Can We Do About Climate Change came out in the UK in November 2021 with Headline Publishing.

Timur Yunusov, Baringa Partners

Timur Yunusov is a Senior Consultant at Baringa Partners and a CREDS Research Fellow at the University of Reading.  Timur’s consulting role at present focuses on developing flexibility services and flexibility markets to facilitate transition to DSO, and creation of Smart Local Energy System through innovation Projects LEO and TRANSITION. In the academic role, he is supporting the CREDS Flexibility theme in exploring suitable metrics for measuring demand side flexibility and understanding the value of demand side flexibility. Before joining CREDS, Timur has worked on determining the distributional impacts of Time of Use tariffs from household activity data and smart meter data (DEePRED project) and developed and integrated energy storage control strategy for support of low voltage networks (New Thames Valley Vision project). He obtained PhD and MEng from University of Reading.