Priestley International Centre for Climate Launch


The Priestley International Centre for Climate will have its launch on Tuesday 14 June at the University of Leeds. It comprises a formal afternoon event (internal) and a ‘Climate Question Time’ evening panel debate open to all.

The afternoon launch will be attended by the Vice-Chancellor, Sir Alan Langlands, and includes the presentation of  the first international prize for solutions-facing climate research,  as well as a substantial prize for a University of Leeds PhD student conducting excellent and timely research into climate change. This will be introduced by a keynote speech from a VIP Leeds alumnus and the main prizewinner will be invited to give a short introduction to their work. We are also delighted to host a presentation by our international partners; this will be followed by a talk and Q&A on new climate research led by key Priestley Centre academics. The afternoon event will conclude with a catered reception.

The launch takes place in the Maurice Keyworth lecture theatre at the Leeds University Business School, commencing promptly at 3.30pm (registration from 3.00pm) and runs until 5.00pm. The event is open to University of Leeds staff, PhD students and invited guests only.  Pre-registration is essential and early booking is advised. Register for your free tickets here.

Climate Question Time

The ‘Climate Question Time’ event, which is open to the public, will take place 7.00pm for 7.30pm at the 340-seater Rupert Becket lecture theatre in the Michael Sadler Building and will feature high-profile panellists from government, policy, research and communications. Panellists will discuss the question, ‘Are there achievable solutions for limiting climate impacts at 1.5C level?’ and questions from the audience should be submitted in advance on the Eventbrite registration form (for preference), or in writing before the commencement of the debate. Tickets are free and will be issued on a first-come basis; pre-booking is required. Register for Climate Question Time tickets here.

Names of VIP speakers and international partners are currently embargoed and will be released in May.

CGD Summer School: Exploring challenges and opportunities to achieving ‘Just Practices of Development’ in the context of the SDGs

As the international community gears up to respond to the new Sustainable Development Goals, join us to debate issues around development research and practice and whether and how genuine reform, inclusion and justice might be achieved.

In a world characterised by recurrent crises, and entrenched and deepening inequalities, business as usual remains the order of the day in many professional fields, including international development. And yet, the societal upheavals and disappointing outcomes of recent interventions and policies in the name of ‘development’ pose important questions for the current modus operandi of international development actors. Our summer school picks up on this point and problematizes various international development practices, in order to analyse how they are framed, and by whom, and their role in reproducing or challenging the status quo. We reflect on how and why current practices bring such a difficult mix of challenges for human existence and survival ranging from poverty and urban growth, to climate change, food and health, and ask:

•How is development practice entangled in the current challenges of political conflict, social inequality and unsustainability, and what opportunities are there to overcome this?
•What are the principal challenges when implementing more progressive development approaches that advance ‘inclusive’, ‘bottom up’, or popular-democratic development?
•What are the politics of knowledge in development practice? In other words, whose knowledge counts and matters in the day-to-day operations of a range of development stakeholders, considering the constraints posed by narrow measures of effectiveness, managerialism, results-based management and payment-by-results frameworks? How is this being tackled?

This summer school will address these questions as we explore the very real challenges of ‘doing’ development as the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) gain momentum.

Take part in 5 days of lively and stimulating debate, lectures and workshops with University of Leeds academics, special guests and summer school participants from around the world. Refreshments, lunches and afternoon tea, coffee and cakes included – plus the Summer School dinner.


International bursary competition

This is for applicants who live outside of the UK, the bursary will cover the Summer School fee, 5 nights accommodation in Leeds and a contribution towards travel costs.

Fees and accommodation only bursary

This is for all applicants and will cover the Summer School fee and 5 nights accommodation in Leeds

Applicants should send 500 words outlining their interest in Summer School and what they hope to do in the future, other useful information would be the applicants background, any previous experience of work or study in development, what contribution they will make to the Summer School. This bursary application should be emailed along with a CV to Laura Smith at on or before April 20th 2016.

Please state in your email which bursary you wish to be considered for.

For further information and updates on summer school please see here.

Fossil Fuel Divestment and the University of Leeds

The fossil fuel divestment movement has grown very rapidly since 2014. The movement encourages large investors (like universities, pension funds, local authorities, and faith groups) to reinvest their money away from fossil fuel companies. So far, organisations holding funds worth more than £2.3 trillion have decided to divest. UK universities have been especially influenced by the divestment campaign. Among numerous others, the Russell Group universities of Edinburgh, Glasgow, LSE, Oxford, Sheffield, and Warwick have already made full or partial divestment commitments.

But what’s the rationale for the divestment campaign? What difference does it make – to investors, to the fossil fuel industry, and to the chance of avoiding catastrophic climate change? And should the University of Leeds join the movement? Last semester, a student referendum committed Leeds University Union to campaigning for divestment at Leeds. What’s our university’s current investment policy and practice? What are the potential benefits and risks of divestment? How might things change?

In this seminar we’ll debate the implications of fossil fuel divestment for the University of Leeds and the wider world. Speakers will include Toke Dahler (Union Affairs Officer, Leeds University Union), and Chris Saltmarsh and Emily Vincent, activists in last year’s successful divestment campaign at the University of Sheffield. All staff and students are welcome, whatever your views on the issue, or whether you’d just like to find out more.