Harpenden scientists team up with other experts to fund and mentor climate change solutions

Rothamsted Research has partnered with other experts to launch SHAKE Climate Change. Photo: Danny Lo

Rothamsted Research has partnered with other experts to launch SHAKE Climate Change. Photo: Danny Loo. - Credit: Archant

Harpenden scientists are teaming up with other experts from around the country to fund and mentor climate change solutions with real potential.

Rothamsted Research has partnered with Cranfield University, University College London, and the University of Hertfordshire to launch a programme called SHAKE Climate Change.

Over nine years, SHAKE will award £140,000 each to 15 entrepreneurs or teams who have innovative ideas to tackle climate change in the agri-food sector.

They will also receive two years training from experts in business and science.

Ventures can relate to any part of the food production chain, which contributes more than a quarter of the world's emissions.

SHAKE is funded by Societe Generale UK Foundation, which is an independent UK branch of Societe Generale Group.

Director of science, innovation, engagement and partnerships at Rothamsted Research, Prof Angela Karp, said: "There has been a lot of publicity recently around the environmental impact of eating meat - but the contribution of agri-food to our climate footprint is so much more complex and wider than that.

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"Fossil fuel use for farm machinery, transport, refrigeration, fertiliser production all contribute.

"The way soils are managed can have a huge effect - not just on CO2 or methane, but nitrous oxide emissions too. Then there's the whole issue of how agricultural wastes can be reduced or recycled, moving towards a circular economy."

She said in many people's eyes, food and farming are "fast becoming climate villains" when there is potential for the sector to "become the heroes".

There will be three application waves, which start with about 30 applicants invited to a one-week residential intensive workshop, where they will pitch their application ideas to a panel of experts.

Of this initial cohort, around ten applicants will be selected for a further three months of training and around five ventures will then be finally chosen.

Applicants should visit www.shakeclimate.org or email Tinne Midtgaard on info@shakeclimate.org