The University of Reading

Partnering for the Planet

Climate change is the defining crisis of our generation, and it will be the lived reality for generations to come. Yet many people still do not understand the issue or feel able to respond to it adequately, including the very young people whose future will be most affected. It is vital that we work to equip people today and in generations to come with knowledge and understanding, so that we are all empowered to respond to and tackle the climate and ecological crisis facing our planet.

We strongly believe that to deliver a better global future, we must work together. We work alongside governments to inform and change public policy and perception. As an institution and community, we’re committed to taking leading, collective action to find lasting solutions – on a local, national and international scale.

Sharing expertise

We have been awarded a 2021 Queen’s Anniversary Prize in recognition of our pioneering research, teaching, stewardship and outreach on climate change. In addition to our climate scientists playing a leading role in the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, we are the most-represented organisation in the UK on the Reuters Hot List of the world’s top climate scientists 2021.

Climate education in schools and colleges

We held a Climate Education Summit in September 2021 that brought together young people, scientists, teachers and educationalists, policymakers and campaigners, to start meaningful conversations to enact lasting, positive change in how young people learn about climate issues in schools and colleges in the UK. Our aim was to identify and outline how a step change in climate and sustainability education can be made so that young people have the skills and knowledge needed for the twenty-first century.

Our National Climate Education Action Plan emerged from the Summit and was launched at COP26. Since then, we have continued to build the network and work with others to deliver action.

Climate Ambassador Scheme

We have developed the Climate Ambassador Scheme, working in collaboration with STEM Learning, which connects schools and colleges around the UK with climate and sustainability experts to access free support and guidance. Involving partners from universities and research institutions around the UK, the Climate Ambassador Scheme has been adopted as a core part of the Department for Education Sustainability and Climate Change Strategy.

Empowering student teachers and trainers

The University of Reading’s Institute of Education has developed a Climate and Sustainability Initial Teacher Education Framework to ensure that all trainee teachers are empowered to effectively incorporate climate education within their teaching, across all levels and subjects. 

The framework is being piloted at Reading throughout 2022/23, benefitting students on all our initial teacher training programmes. Following the pilot, the intention is that this be rolled out across the UK.

Supporting our students

At the University of Reading, all students have opportunities to develop an understanding of the impacts and challenges of both the changing climate and further decline of the natural world, equipping them with key skills and knowledge to make a positive difference in their future career and day-to-day life. In addition to relevant University-wide modules and activities, the RED Sustainable Action Award gives all our students the opportunity to develop awareness of sustainability issues, solutions and opportunities while developing their employability skills.

Short online courses

The University of Reading offers a range of short, online courses across a range of climate and sustainability-related topics, which are free to join.

For example, our 4-hour beginners course Planet Partners: Tackling the Climate Crisis Together investigates the impacts of climate change, the research being done to tackle it, and helps you understand what you can do to take meaningful action. This course is co-designed by two University of Reading students – Meteorology and Climate student Nick Mitchell, and German Studies student Emily Woodall – working closely with academics from the across the University.

Get inspired

Read stories of our staff, students and alumni, many of whom are applying their knowledge and skills to tackle global challenges.

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