Flood risk testing in the Marine Building

From health and housing to flooding and food – a university and its local city council are set to launch a research manifesto aimed at tackling specific sustainability issues affecting people and place.

The collaboration between Plymouth University and Plymouth City Council is believed to be one of the first of its kind in the country and will bring together academics and researchers with counterparts in policy and reform.

The manifesto, Plymouth: Creating a Sustainable Future, is focused upon areas relating to life in Plymouth, such as health, housing, transport, water quality and flooding, and food, and comes on the back of a number of partner projects between the University’s Institute for Sustainability Solutions Research (ISSR) and the council’s Low Carbon Team.

This includes the ground-breaking work on smart-ticketing on transport, which has been developed between the University and the council and which now supports over £76 million of transactions annually across the South West with the research, and delivery company hosted on campus.

Professor David Coslett, Interim Vice-Chancellor, said: 

“Our approach to sustainability has been to link teaching, research and campus management together in a single endeavour and that is why Plymouth University has been consistently ranked as one of the greenest universities in the country, and the world. Our research influences policy and practice and produces real change in people’s lives. We want to make it even easier to bring together policy makers, practitioners and researchers so that we can take our research and practice and help to deliver change for our communities.” 

Plymouth City Council leader Tudor Evans said: 

“This is a really exciting development that has the potential to reverberate across the globe. Like all cities, we have issues that we recognise and are working to address. As a council we sometimes lack the expertise to carry out the necessary research on solutions that will ensure Plymouth’s future is bright. This scheme means we can draw on world-leading experts, right here in Plymouth to solve issues that affect not just people in Plymouth, but the wider region and beyond. It defines a shared agenda for research that targets the very real local issues facing the city's sustainable growth. People and organisations are recognising the importance of ensuring we act sustainably. We owe it to the next generation of Plymothians to solve problems together. By marrying teams whose day jobs are to look at low carbon initiatives, plan for greener buildings, and transport with researchers who specialise in addressing the sustainability issues, Plymouth’s reputation as a green city will be even stronger.”

The manifesto is to be launched on Wednesday 25 February at the Sherwell Centre on campus, followed by a project development workshop with representatives from the council, Plymouth University and local sustainability stakeholders.

Dr Tim Daley, Director of ISSR, speaking ahead of the launch, said: 

“This manifesto outlines key sustainability issues and related research questions for Plymouth. It is about how we can bring our research expertise closer to those who can use it. It is about how we work with and support our partners to help them achieve a better, more prosperous future. It is a manifesto for partnership working on shared goals that will speed up progress towards a sustainable university at the heart of a sustainable city.”