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Showing posts from August, 2015

University of Bristol's Green Heroes: Rich Pancost

In the run up to the Bristol Post's Green Capital Awards, we thought we'd highlight some of our key Green Heroes and Green Leaders at the University of Bristol.  As part of a four part blog series this week, we will be highlighting some of the key figures behind the scenes and in front of the limelight who are the green movers and shakers of our university.  There are many more Green Heroes across the University that we would like to celebrate. To find out more about who they are and what they are doing to make our university and city a better place, please visit our Sustainability Stories website.
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Rich Pancost With a background in Geology, Rich has steered his academic progress through a career straddling a range of disciplines from oceanography to isotope geochemistry, but all of which has been focused on understanding environmental change and its impact on life. 


Rich has now been based in Bristol for the last 15 years and becam…

University of Bristol's Green Heroes: Martin Wiles

In the run up to the Bristol Post's Green Capital Awards, we thought we'd highlight some of our key Green Heroes and Green Leaders at the University of Bristol.  As part of a four part blog series this week, we will be highlighting some of the key figures behind the scenes and in front of the limelight who are the green movers and shakers of our university.  There are many more Green Heroes across the University that we would like to celebrate. To find out more about who they are and what they are doing, please visit our Sustainability Stories website.
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Martin Wiles
Martin Wiles is the head of Sustainability on the University Estate Management team and leads a team of thirteen staff who have been responsible for delivering university-wide sustainability initiatives.


Martin and his team are responsible for designing and implementing green solutions to the University’s energy problems. This has lead them to an array of successes, incl…

University of Bristol's green heroes: Katherine Baldock

In the run up to the Bristol Post's Green Capital Awards, we thought we'd highlight some of our key Green Heroes and Green Leaders at the University of Bristol.  As part of a four part blog series this week, we will be highlighting some of the key figures behind the scenes and in front of the limelight who are the green movers and shakers of our university.  There are many more Green Heroes across the University that we would like to celebrate. To find out more about who they are and what they are doing, please visit our Sustainability Stories website.
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Katherine Baldock
Katherine is a NERC Knowledge Exchange Fellow in the School of Biological Sciences and at the Cabot Institute at the University of Bristol.


Katherine has come from a background in Biology, studying in Bristol as an undergraduate. Her subsequent passion for biology and ecology has drawn her to study at various institutions and work all over the world in places such …

Public debates in science: Where’s the balance?

Earth Science PhD student Peter Spooner shares his experiences after working as a science-policy intern at the British Library, struggling to achieve scientific balance in a politically charged debate.

Anyone who follows any kind of environmental science will be aware of the differences in the ways that science can be portrayed - be it in the news, in TV shows, on the radio or at public events. As an organiser/reporter, a debate is often a good way to make your event/article more interesting, and there are almost always different points of view clamouring to be heard. It is often straightforward for a scientist specialising in a topic to point to a media debate of the issue and say: ‘That debate did not represent the scientific position’. However, as I discovered during my recent internship at the British Library, trying to organise a properly balanced debate is very difficult and may not always be the goal to which every debate aspires.

The British Library’s TalkScience series are di…

‘The Resilience Dividend’ – and the kind of thinking required to realise it

Way back in January I attended Judith Rodin’s lecture on resilience at the Festival of Ideas. I remember rushing through the door of a large lecturing theatre at Social Sciences Complex with my folding bike to hand and five minutes to go. Catching my breath, I came across a packed auditorium and thought that it might be impossible to seat anywhere but the steps, but thankfully I got seated somewhere at the front. I had heard of Judith, but never seen her speaking in person or read her work in detail, as it is not strictly speaking within my field of expertise. But Judith started conversing with the chair of the session and realised that everything she talked about made perfect sense for a computer scientist like me working on projects about future cities.

Judith apologised for ‘being a bit incoherent’ because of jet lag, as she had only arrived in the UK the previous few hours and had travelled to Bristol straight from London, but oh my, I can’t imagine how much more composed and sha…

University of Bristol's green heroes - Chris Willmore

In the run up to the Bristol Post's Green Capital Awards, we thought we'd highlight some of our key Green Heroes and Green Leaders at the University of Bristol.  As part of a four part blog series this week, we will be highlighting some of the key figures behind the scenes and in front of the limelight who are the green movers and shakers of our university.  There are many more Green Heroes across the University that we would like to celebrate. To find out more about who they are and what they are doing, please visit our Sustainability Stories website.
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Chris Willmore
Chris Willmore is the University of Bristol's Green Academy academic lead, Director of Undergraduate Studies and lead academic for Technology Enhanced Learning.


Growing up in increasingly over-developed London, Chris has since fostered a passion for saving open spaces and built environments. After an early career as a barrister practising environmental and plannin…

Fieldwork activities: A great opportunity to expose young scientists and engineers to novel technologies

Between 29 June and 7 July, three environmental monitoring stations have been installed in an organic farm approximately 15 km east of Swindon. The stations are part of the AMUSED project, funded by NERC and lead by me, Rafael Rosolem (Lecturer in Civil Engineering), with the ultimate goal being to identify key dominant processes that control changes in soil moisture and land-atmosphere interactions in the UK.

Each station is equipped with standard meteorological sensor as well as new technology for measuring soil moisture at spatial scales of approximately 600m diameter through cosmic-ray neutron interactions at approximately. The AMUSED network covers an area of approximately 1.7 square kilometers and will provide soil moisture estimates for hyper-resolution hydrometeorological modeling around the farm taking into account spatial scale heterogeneities not seen by satellite remote sensing products. The three sites are above chalk landscape and will improve our understanding of soil …

Building up solar power in Africa

It's proving tough enough in the UK to increase the amount of renewable energy we use, and attempting this in Africa may seem like a pipe dream. However, six years ago, University of Bristol alumni Edward Matos (Engineering Design, 2009) and Oliver Kynaston (Physics, 2007), fresh faced out of their degrees, created a company to do just this.

Last month, I interviewed Oliver from his home in Tanzania and he gave me the low down on how it all happened.

It all started when Edward won £10K for his social enterprise idea in the 2009 Bristol New Enterprise Competition hosted by RED (Research and Enterprise Development) at the University of Bristol. The basic plan was to design and disseminate biodigesters amongst the rural poor of developing countries that would produce clean fuel for cooking and heating from livestock excrement; thereby avoiding the need to burn firewood in the home. Inhaling smoke in the home causes acute respiratory infections and in Africa alone, this causes more t…

Withdrawn: Reflections on the past and future of our seas

On the 23rd of August, and as part of Bristol 2015 European Green Capital, I have the privilege of participating in a conversation about the future of our coastal seas that has been inspired by Luke Jerram’s ethereal and evocative Withdrawn  Project in Leigh Woods.  The conversation will include Luke, but also the esteemed chef, Josh Eggleton  who has championed sustainable food provision and is providing a sustainable fish supper for the event, and my University of Bristol Cabot Institute colleague, Dani Schmidt, who is an expert on the past and current impacts of ocean acidification on marine ecosystems.


My engagement with Withdrawn has been inspired on multiple levels, primarily the enthusiasm of Luke but also arising from my role as Cabot Director and my own research on the oceans. Withdrawn inspires reflection on our dependence on the sea and how we have polluted and depleted it, but also on how we obtain our food and the people at the heart of that industry.

All of these issues…