A pioneering new research facility, designed to solve some of the most pressing global environmental challenges of our time, has received a near £1 million funding boost to achieve “Net Zero” status.
The Centre for Resilience in Environment, Water and Waste (CREWW), based on the University’s Streatham Campus and run in partnership with South West Water, will conduct world-leading research into the provision of safe and resilient water services in the UK and overseas.
The facility is designed to inform how water systems are managed in the face of climate change and population growth.
Today, it has received £942,974 from Research England, part of UK Research and Innovation, together with the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales and Scottish Funding Council, as part of the UKRPIF: Net Zero awards.
The funding boost will be used to reduce emissions from the CREWW building to achieve ‘Net Zero in Operation’ status from day one of operation, and through the lifetime of the building.
The project will also drive new learning on sustainable research infrastructure, by using the CREWW building as a living laboratory where energy and water efficiency are monitored, analysed and optimised in real time through a Digital Twin.
This will be used to also support regional, national and global partners to achieve their own Net Zero targets, through training, sharing reports and new research collaborations.
Professor Richard Brazier, Director for the Centre for Resilience in Environment, Water and Waste (CREWW) said: “CREWW will provide innovative new solutions, and exciting and crucial environmental research, to a wide range of challenges facing the water industry.
“The University is committed to being a driving force on action to combat climate change, in partnership with governments, businesses and communities. It is therefore only right that we achieve Net Zero in Operation status for this pioneering new research facility.
“Our ability to undertake research in a Net Zero facility will also support our partners in the reduction of their own emissions and we will develop and deploy our findings across the South West region and wider water sector.”
Work to begin building the new centre, which is being established through a £10.5 million grant from Research England and more than £20 million of funding from South West Water, began in January 2022.
CREWW is one of nine projects at top research centres and facilities at UK universities that are set to improve their environmental sustainability, thanks to an £18.9 million funding boost to support universities in enhancing, upgrading and adapting research centres and facilities to reduce their carbon emissions, and make research processes more environmentally sustainable.
Funding has been made available through a pilot initiative to explore how existing UKRPIF-funded research centres and facilities can be enhanced to address net zero carbon emissions targets.
Research England Executive Chair, David Sweeney, said: “The UK Research Partnership Investment Fund has a strong track record in funding state-of-art facilities that support world-leading research and strengthen partnerships between universities and other organisations active in research.
“By piloting these innovative approaches to tackling net zero in infrastructure, we hope that this scheme will help us to learn more about what works so that we and the HE sector can factor this into future activity and build upon the already successful UKRPIF model.”