Reading wins inaugural THE environmental leadership award
08 December 2023
The University of Reading’s world-class research in climate change and its impacts, and our leadership driving action through education and partnership, has won the University a higher education award.
The Outstanding Contribution to Environmental Leadership award was presented to the University at the Times Higher Education (THE) Awards 2023 on Thursday, 8 December. Reading is the first ever winner of the award and was commended for the institution’s impressive range of measures that have delivered on local, national and international levels.
As one of the University’s four strategic principles, environmental sustainability is critical to the institution’s mission. The University aims to maximise its influence and convening power to achieve meaningful change through a range of measures. These include:
World-leading climate research: Six Reading scientists were IPCC Sixth Assessment Report 1 lead authors and the University attended COP26 as an official observer organisation.
Increasing awareness of and accessibility to information about our changing climate: our climate stripes graphic has gained international traction for its simplicity, reaching millions to ‘start climate conversations’
Driving transformational change in climate education:
National Climate Education Action Plan: creating a network of partners to drive critical, transformational change to empower young people for their future
The Climate Ambassador Scheme: connecting schools and colleges around the UK with climate and sustainability experts to access free support and guidance
National Climate Education and Sustainability Initial Teacher Education (ITE) Framework: empowering trainee teachers to include climate in their classrooms
Sector-leading commitment to on-campus sustainability: including improving biodiversity across our campus and utilising it as a ‘living lab’, delivering access and benefits to our staff, students and local community.
Partnering for the planet:collaborating locally, nationally and internationally across a diverse range of initiatives and sectors e.g., NHS, Reading Football Club and Microsoft
THE Awards judges “the University of Reading does not just talk the talk but sets the agenda on one of the biggest issues of our time.” They particularly praised the University’s work as an example of “how climate research and action can be translated into delivery… What stood out was the sheer breadth of Reading’s contributions to environmental leadership…”
Professor Robert Van de Noort, Vice Chancellor of the University of Reading, said: “This award provides recognition for the University of Reading's commitment to being a leader in environmental sustainability and climate action.
"I want to congratulate all University staff and students who contributed to this achievement. Whether through our world-class research, our campus operations, or our many external collaborations.
“We are having a real impact through leading by example, but we will not stop there. This award motivates us to push ahead even further and ensure environmental responsibility remains at the very heart of Reading's identity.”
Professor Hannah Cloke was also nominated for Outstanding Research Supervisor of the Year for her exceptional supervision of 32 PhD students over 20 years, many of whom are now leading figures in their fields. Her nomination highlighted her uniquely brilliant supervision style over two decades.