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How should we live with global environmental uncertainty?

Press release issued: 10 November 2010

The University's new Cabot Institute will bring together world-leading researchers in science, engineering, social sciences and law to tackle some of the major issues that threaten the world today. Join a discussion panel event on Monday 15 November to mark the launch.

World-leading researchers in science, engineering, social sciences and law, whose research tackles some of the major issues that threaten the world today, from climate change, population growth to social injustice and national security, will come together in a new environmental research institute.

The Cabot Institute at the University of Bristol seeks to address the challenges of the 21st century with environmental scientists, geographers, engineers, and law and social researchers, carrying out research on all aspects of global and environmental change, from basic science and social science to technological and policy solutions.

Bristol is at the forefront of research in many areas including volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, landslides, floods, climate change, international development and security and geo-engineering.  Last month, one of the world's leading volcanologists, Steve Sparks, Chaning Wills Professor of Geology in the School of Earth Sciences, was named among the 100 most important people in British science and engineering in The Times science magazine, Eureka.

The institute will be launched on Monday 15 November, culminating in an evening 'Question Time' style debate, which members of the public are welcome to attend.  Julian Hector, Head of Radio at the BBC's Natural History Unit in Bristol, will chair the event, with all questions to the panel coming from the audience.

The panel of leading environmental scientists, policy makers and campaigners includes: Sir Crispin Tickell, Director of Policy Foresight Programme; the Hon Sir Jonathon Porritt, Founder Director of Forum for the Future; Julie Hill of the Green Alliance; Brendon Gormley, Chief Executive of the Disasters Emergency Committee and Professor Ric Parker, Rolls-Royce Director of Research and Technology.

The debate, How should we live with global environmental uncertainty?, will take place at 6 pm in the Great Hall, Wills Memorial Building, Queen's Road, Bristol.  The event is free and open to all but places must be booked in advance, together with the submission of questions to the panel, by emailing

Professor Judith Squires, Dean of Social Sciences and Law, said: "The University has great strengths in all areas of global and environmental change and the Cabot Institute represents an exciting opportunity for Bristol to develop a world-class research institute."

Professor Jon Keating, Dean of Science, added: "We hope by 2015 the institute will be internationally recognised as the leading multidisciplinary institute on uncertainty, complexity and pre-emptive action in the context of global environmental change."

Professor Nick Lieven, Dean of Engineering, said: "The University has a strong sense of research excellence across a wide range of individual disciplines.  What really excites me about the institute is the way that these strengths are genuinely being brought together to tackle some of the most pressing global questions of our times."


Further information

There will be an opportunity to look at poster displays after the lecture at 7.15 pm on research being carried out by academics in the new Cabot Institute.
Please contact Joanne Fryer for further information.
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