Associate Director and Head of Climate Change Adaptation at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)
The EBRD is an ‘innovation bank’ which was created to make a difference in our countries of operations by financing investments that go beyond business-as-usual and support market adoption of improved technologies and practices. The environment in which I work is already highly networked with governments, international agencies, financial institutions and businesses across a wide range of countries. So my main aim for the Policy Fellowship was to identify a focused number of areas where our operations and business needs intersect with the research interests of motivated academics.
The most concrete impact of my Fellowship, and where there has been quite a lot of follow-up, is on the topic of climate resilience in buildings, and cities more generally. Together, we held a very useful Distinguished Debate here at the EBRD, where leading academics such as Professor Paul Linden, Director of the Cambridge Forum for Sustainability Leadership (CFSL), highlighted the work done in California on low energy cooling and passive ventilation systems. Professor Alan Short, Department of Architecture, discussed his work on massively cutting air conditioning electricity bills in UK hospitals through innovative design of buildings.
The network established through my Fellowship was used to help form an Expert Panel on climate resilience in buildings which enabled us to kick off a whole new area of business development looking to invest in ways that improve the climate resilience of buildings— both commercial and residential — in climate vulnerable countries, particularly in countries that have high exposure to heat and water stress in the southern and eastern Mediterranean.
The Fellowship has enabled me to connect with people I would otherwise never have come across. It offered access to a huge number of academics and institutions at the University. We believe that the work we are doing will help households, communities and businesses deal with increasing climatic variability and climate extremes. The connections that I have made at Cambridge will certainly have contributed to that outcome.