Thursday, September 30, 2021

A new collaboration with Microsoft is set to help Walker Institute scientists develop more solutions to climate threats worldwide.

Climate variability and change pose a huge risk to developing societies in the form of ecological degradation, state fragility, conflict, migration, rapid population growth and social inequality.

Understanding these issues demands a new approach that does not fit into any singular traditional academic discipline.  The Walker Institute at the University of Reading is well placed to fill this critical gap: driving new interdisciplinary research to address these major global challenges.

Now through this new collaboration with, and generous support from, Microsoft, the Walker Institute is increasing its capacity to undertake its essential and impactful work.

“Walker Institute’s mission is to enable the development of climate-resilient societies: societies able to adapt in an uncertain, changing world. Our contribution to a new knowledge base is key, ensuring that climate-resilience is better understood and can be attained. We make a meaningful difference in peoples’ lives: conducting risk-taking, innovative and novel research to tackle the complexity of the global challenges facing society. This support from Microsoft lets us grow our research base, giving us more information and allowing us to answer critical questions more effectively and more efficiently”

Professor Rosalind Cornforth, Walker Institute Director

The collaboration will provide funding for the Walker Institute to advance research understanding of Earth’s natural systems, develop nature-based solutions to problems like agricultural stress, and strengthen collaborations with scientists and communities in affected areas.

Microsoft is a global technology company committed to ambitious sustainability goals – to become a carbon negative, water positive and zero waste company by 2030 – and to help provide the data, tools, and applications that are needed to address the many environmental challenges we face.

Microsoft UK is keen to draw on the expertise of the Walker Institute in research to work across a range of issues including how to measure and manage climate risk and how to achieve Net-zero.

“Sustainability at Microsoft is about helping us, and helping others, to reduce carbon emissions and protect biodiversity. A key way we do this is working with leaders in the fields of weather, climate, prediction and risk. We are delighted to be building the capacity of the Walker Institute to do more of what they do best, and look forward to a long and fruitful relationship with both the Walker Institute and the University of Reading”.

Alberto Arribas Herranz, Microsoft Sustainability Science Lead for Europe

A formal launch is to be held at the University of Reading on 24 November.