University and EU scientists discuss research impact on worldwide issue


European Commission and Manchester Metropolitan academics

Manchester Metropolitan researchers shared a platform with four top EU scientists to show how global challenges need local solutions.

Speaking at the Global Challenges, Local Impact event as part of the Manchester Science Festival, guest researchers from the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) highlighted the challenging future facing Europe and the rest of the world today in the areas of health and ageing; land use and degradation; food security and sustainable transport.

Manchester Metropolitan will respond to these global challenges, showing how research – coupled with local action – can make a difference.

The audience at this family-friendly evening enjoyed some easy exercise, ate soil (tasty chocolate cake pictured below) and virtually flew over Manchester’s precious peatland carbon sinks. They also had the chance to look around one of the University’s own electric cars and discover whether it can get to London on a single charge.

The event took place at No. 70 Oxford Street and was covered on social media which you can see here.

Professor of Microbiology Joanna Verran hosted the evening alongside Darren McGarry, Head of Communcation at JRC Energy, Transport and Climate team. The aim was to inspire people to make small changes that collectively add up to big impact.

“It is sometimes hard to see how science directly improves our lives, especially for such huge global challenges,” said Professor Verran.

global-science-local-impact-2“Through film, discussion and hands-on activity we wanted to show that the science going on in Europe is the same as what we do here: it’s all relevant to people in Manchester because we are all affected by these challenges. Yes, we need science to influence international policy, but we also believe in people power. Individuals are key as decision-makers.”

Global Science, Local Impact is the first public engagement collaboration between the JRC and the University.

“Manchester Metropolitan has an impressive track record of producing innovative public engagement with research,” said Darren McGarry. “This event provides us with an opportunity for us to demonstrate the relevance of the JRC’s research and how it complements Manchester Met’s own projects that respond to global challenges.”

The four scientists from JRC were:

  • Ciarán Nicholl (Head of the Public Health Policy Unit in JRC, Institute for Health and Consumer Protection) – “Are public health services really on the brink of collapse?”
  • Arwyn Jones (Head of the Natural Capital: Soil Project, JRC) – “Brown gold: what can you do to preserve our soil”
  • Christan Thiel (JRC Institute for Energy and Transport) – Is the electric car the next mobility killer-app?
  • Dr Alan Belward (Head of the Land Resource Management Unit in the Institute for Environment and Sustainability) – “Beautiful pictures… but we’re running out of land!”

Manchester Metropolitan presenters included:

  • Dr Jamie McPhee (Reader in Muscle and Exercise Physiology)
  • Haleh Moravej (Senior Lecturer and Founder of MetMunch, the student food and nutrition social enterprise)
  • Professor Simon Caporn (Professor in Ecology and Environmental Science)
  • Thomas Higginbottom (PhD candidate, School of Science and the Environment)
  • Dr Chris Field (Lecturer in Environmental Ecology)
  • Amer Gaffar (Project Manager, Greater Manchester Hydrogen Partnership)

You can follow Global Science, Local Impact at #mcrgloballocal