Sustainable Earth 2018: 28 and 29 June

Discover how research can ignite sustainability action in organisations

Sustainable Earth 2018 gives academics and professionals the chance to develop effective research partnerships to share knowledge and expertise to create a sustainable future.

Why attend?

  • Build networks to support research and innovation
  • Broaden academic collaborations beyond your discipline
  • Develop ideas for future funding 
  • Catch up on cutting-edge research from sustainability leaders
  • Get involved with University projects
  • Connect your research with community groups and organisations

The conference takes place on 28 and 29 June in the Rolle Marquee at the University of Plymouth. The standard rate for the conference is £80, with a concession rate of £50. University of Plymouth staff, students and collaborators can attend free of charge.

Free evening talk: The Sterling Lecture

In the first annual Sterling Lecture, Professor Iain Stewart will be discussing geoscience communication. This lecture is open to all and is free to attend. Find out more and register.

Keynote speakers

We are pleased to announce the 2018 keynotes: 

  • Baroness Bryony Worthington
    Executive Director, Environmental Defence Fund Europe
  • Dr Christopher Shaw
    Senior Researcher, Climate Outreach
  • Dr Mike Maunder
    Director of Life Sciences, The Eden Project
  • Dr Vanessa Lawrence CB
    Senior adviser to governments, inter-governmental organisations including the World Bank and large private sector organisations and a Non-Executive Director of the Satellite Applications Catapult
  • Professor Virginia Murray
    Consultant in Global Disaster Risk Reduction, Public Health England; Vice Chair UNISDR Scientific and Technical Advisory Group

Join the conversation on Twitter using #PlymEarth18

Programme: Day 1

  • Thursday 28 June 2018
  • Rolle Marquee, University of Plymouth

13:15 Registration, networking and coffee

13:45 Conference welcome and introduction

14:00 Keynote 1: Baroness Bryony Worthington

14:45 University of Plymouth speaker: Professor Richard Thompson - Plastics and the environment

15:15 Tea and coffee

15:30 Marketplace session 1

16:15 University of Plymouth speaker: Professor Will Blake - Soil erosion in East Africa

16:45 Keynote 2: Dr Mike Maunder - Regenerative Futures: New conservation opportunities in the Anthropocene

17:30 Close of conference

The Sterling Lecture 

Selling Planet Earth: Translating geo-science into global action

Speaker: Professor Iain Stewart - UNESCO Chair in Geoscience and Society

18:30 Arrival and registration

19:00 Public lecture

20:30 End of lecture

Programme: Day 2

  • Friday 29 June 2018
  • Rolle Marquee, University of Plymouth

8:30 Registration, networking and coffee

8:55 Welcome back

9:00 Keynote 3: Professor Virginia Murray

9:45 University of Plymouth speaker: Dr Sana Murrani - Displacement and Emplacement of Spatial Heritage

10:15 Tea and coffee

10:30 Marketplace session 2

11:15 Marketplace session 3

12:00 Lunch with poster session

13:00 Keynote 4: Dr Vanessa Lawrence CB - The Measuring and Monitoring of Sustainable Life: the role of geospatial information today and into the future

13:45 University of Plymouth speaker: Professor Gerd Masselink - Extreme storms and recovery: the importance of monitoring for sustainable coastal zone management

14:15 Tea, coffee and biscuits

14:30 Marketplace session 4

15:15 Keynote 5: Dr Christopher Shaw - Communicating climate change

16:00 Closing remarks

16:30 End of conference

Who attends Sustainable Earth 2018?

  • A Local companies
  • < Global corporations
  • ' Local authorities
  • A Social entrprises
  • A Charities
  • É Academic researchers
  • ' Educational institutions
  • A Students
  • Ä Community groups
  • { Not-for-profits
  • ] Political organisations
  • } Volunteers
  • ' Public sector bodies
  • A Interested individuals

Keynote: Baroness Bryony Worthington

Bryony is Executive Director for the Environmental Defence Fund Europe where she is responsible for its management and development. 

She plays a critical role in the execution of the work program, which is currently focused on oceans, climate and energy. Baroness Worthington is an architect of the UK's Climate Change Act, and wrote the first report in the UK calling for the introduction of 'carbon budgets'. 

She was the brains behind the Friends of the Earth 'Big Ask' campaign, and helped the UK government launch its first public awareness campaign. Since 2015 Baroness Worthington has been a Trustee at UNICEF.

Follow Bryony on Twitter


Keynote: Dr Chris Shaw

Chris has 15 years' experience of researching climate policy and climate communications. Prior to joining Climate Outreach as a Senior Researcher, Chris was a Research Fellow at University of Sussex and then University of Oxford. 

Since joining Climate Outreach Chris has developed climate change communication programmes and tools for national governments, scientific bodies (including the IPCC), NGOs, development banks and faith organisations. 

Chris also works with universities and research institutions from across the globe on multi-partner academic projects. Chris is an Associate of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and a member of the faculty at the School of Business, Management and Economics at the University of Sussex. His book The Two Degrees Dangerous Limit for Climate Change: Public Understanding and Decision Making (Routledge) was shortlisted for the 2016 Philip Abrams Memorial Prize.

Keynote: Dr Mike Maunder

Mike is a Board Director of Eden Project Ltd and Eden Project International Ltd. Mike has responsibility for Eden’s horticulture, science and professional training. This role includes responsibility for Eden’s dynamic horticultural exhibits and collaborations with universities and other research institutions. 

Mike trained in horticulture at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and studied plant systematics at the University of Reading with a PhD in conservation genetics. Mike has spent his career to date working in botanic gardens, museums and universities with a particular interest in species and habitat conservation. Mike has worked with the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, the National Tropical Botanical Garden, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden and Florida International University, with extensive field work and consulting experience in the Caribbean, Sub Saharan Africa and the Middle East.

Find out more about Mike's role at Eden

Keynote: Dr Vanessa Lawrence CB

Vanessa is working internationally as an advisor and special contributor to a number of organisations, including as the Senior Strategic Global Advisor for Geospatial for the World Bank Group based in Washington DC and as the Strategic Advisor to the National Geospatial Information Committee of Saudi Arabia. 

She is also a Non-Executive Director of the Satellite Applications Catapult based at Harwell whose focus is fostering innovation in the use of satellite data. Vanessa was awarded the GeoSpatial Personality of the Decade 2000–2010 and also was honoured by Her Majesty the Queen by being included in the Honours list to join an Order of Heraldry; and hence she is a Companion of the Order of the Bath.

Read more about her work on the Satellite Applications Catapult website

Keynote: Professor Virginia Murray

Virginia was appointed as Head of Extreme Events and Health Protection, Public Health England, on 1 January 2011. With the Extreme Events team, she is developing evidence base information and advice on flooding, heat, cold, volcanic ash, and other extreme weather and natural hazards events. 

Appointed as Visiting Professor in Health Protection, MRC-HPA Centre for Environment and Health, Imperial College and King’s College, London (2004), she has published widely. She is vice-chair of the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) Scientific and Technical Group and is one of the members of the UNISDR Advisory Group for the Post-2015 Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

Find Virginia on LinkedIn

University speaker: Professor Gerd Masselink

Gerd Masselink is a Professor in Coastal Geomorphology with over 20 years’ experience in collecting and analysing coastal data, and over 100 papers published in peer-reviewed international journals. Gerd obtained his MSc in Physical Geography from Utrecht University in 1989 and his PhD in Marine Science from Sydney University in 1994. He was a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Western Australia until 1998, and came to the UK in 1999 as a Lecturer in Physical Geography at Loughborough University. In 2005 he moved to Plymouth where he became a professor in 2007. He lead the Coastal Processes Research Group from 2009-11, and was the Associate Head of School (Marine Science) in the School of Marine Science and Engineering from 2011-15.

University speaker: Professor Richard Thompson

Richard is the Associate Dean (research) for the Faculty of Science and Engineering, and Head of the International Marine Litter Research Unit at the University of Plymouth. 

Richard is a world-leading researcher on the topic of plastic pollution in the ocean, a topic he has studied for over 20 years. This has led him to; publish materials in prestigious journals such as Nature; write reports for the United Nations; and advise the UK House of Commons. One of his key papers ‘Lost at Sea: Where Is All the Plastic?’, has been cited over 1000 times. In the 2018 new-year honours list he was made an OBE for Services to Marine Science, related to his research on micro-plastics. 

Richard is also researching the modification of coastal engineering to enhance biodiversity and the ecology and conservation of shallow water environments.

University speaker: Dr Sana Murrani

Sana is an urban theorist and experimental architect. She is the Associate Head of School for Graduate Affairs in the School of Art, Design and Architecture at the University of Plymouth. 

Dr Murrani is also founder of the Displacement Studies Research Network, the network seeks to provide a voice for the displaced, and facilitates a platform for global multi-disciplinary research. Sana’s studies began at the University of Baghdad, before moving to Plymouth to undertake a PhD. 

Today her research uses urban theory to investigate the transient conditions of marginalised and displaced populations. Sana participates in international conferences and workshops, is a reviewer for Leonardo Reviews, and recently became a member of the ESRC Global Challenge Research Fund Peer Review College. 

Follow Sana on twitter


University speaker: Professor Will Blake

Will is Professor of Catchment Science in the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Plymouth, and Director of the Consolidated Radioisotope Facility

Will’s research focuses on the impact of human actions and natural disturbances in river basins on food, water and energy security; particularly studying the dynamics of sediment, from soil erosion, into the siltation of aquatic environments. 

Based on expertise gained in association with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Will has become a specialist in the application of sediment tracing technology. Currently Will is leading the NERC funded ‘Jali Ardhi’ (‘Care for the Land’) project, researching the environmental and social impact of soil erosion in East Africa.

Connect with Will on LinkedIn.


Sterling Lecture speaker: Professor Iain Stewart

Iain is Professor of Geoscience Communication at the University of Plymouth and Director of its Sustainable Earth Institute. 

His long-standing research interests are in interdisciplinary investigations of geological hazards (earthquakes, volcanism, tsunamis) and abrupt environmental change, and more recently in the communication of ‘contested geoscience’ to the public. 

As part of his geo-communication he regularly presents Earth science programmes for BBC television, including Earth: The Power of the Planet; How Earth Made Us, How To Grow A Planet, The Rise of the Continents and, most recently, Planet Oil.

Follow Iain on Twitter