QUB To Lead Zero-Carbon Co-Operatives Project

Queen's University Belfast has received a significant funding boost for a project which is focused on creating and developing innovative solutions to meet the Net-Zero goal through the use of Zero-Carbon Co-operatives.

Funded by the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, the project will take a multi-disciplinary approach, devising new business opportunities to help achieve a balance between the amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced by society and the amount removed from the atmosphere.

The project will leverage the innovation and research strengths of the University to assist agricultural, industrial, energy and societal communities to develop solutions which accelerate the transition to Net-Zero.

Professor David Rooney, who is leading the project, said: "The recently published energy strategy shows how Northern Ireland can build on its unique strengths to create opportunities for people and businesses to participate in and benefit from a low carbon economy.

"There is a lot to do as Northern Ireland is a disproportionately large CO2e emitter within the UK and it is vital that we work together to deliver a Net Zero future.

"The cross sectoral Zero-Carbon Cooperative sets out an ambitious plan with an imaginative approach to build on regional human and natural capital to accelerate green growth.
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"By supporting new entrepreneurial capability, we can for example, help create new products and services which operate at the interface between specific sectors such as construction, materials, transport, manufacturing and energy thereby accelerating collective decarbonisation."

Professor Rooney added: "The people who join us on this adventure will have the opportunity to take part in innovative training and access first-hand the University's cutting-edge research and world class technology. But best of all, they will leave with the entrepreneurial skills needed to work in a Net Zero industry."

As part of a collaborative project, Queen's is also involved in developing a Net-Zero Skills Academy, funded by local government. The University will work with industry to identify the skills required, now and in the future, to support companies right across Northern Ireland to deliver a sustainable future.

Professor Rooney explained: "The Net-Zero Skills Academy will identify important training and qualification gaps within this rapidly developing sector. Working with regional partners, including Further Education colleges, Queen's University Belfast will then seek to identify opportunities to fill these gaps through reskilling, upskilling and new skills development.

"Together this work within Net-Zero will help to deliver better skills and opportunities for people and business during 2022."

Work will be taking place in regions right across Northern Ireland in early 2022.

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