31 October 2019

Economics alumnus donates £1.7 million to tackle challenges of food, water and energy security

Research into sustainability and tackling the global challenges of food, water and energy security has received a further boost, thanks to a £1.7 million philanthropic donation to the University of Sheffield.

An undergraduate student in a lab coat.

The donation was made by alumnus Jeremy Grantham (BA Economics 1961, Honorary DSc 2012) and his wife Hanne, through the Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment. They have previously made significant donations to allow the establishment of the Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures at the University of Sheffield.

The financial boost will enable recruitment of two more cohorts of Grantham Scholars, who will work on interdisciplinary projects and engage with the global sustainability challenges facing humankind.

It will also fund pilot work into the unpalatable truths sustainability brings by establishing a Policy Unit within the Grantham Centre. This will be aimed at communicating a systemic policy approach to meeting the needs of a growing and urbanising population, faced with complex challenges of extreme climate change.

The funds will also develop flagship research around sustainable food, plants and soil, and energy, complementing the work of the Leverhulme Centre for Climate Change Mitigation, the newly created Institute for Sustainable Food and the Energy Institute at the University of Sheffield. World-class research and innovation will focus on the areas of climate change mitigation, agri-food systems, water technology, advanced engineering and international development.

This investment by the Grantham Foundation will allow us to further build on our existing research into sustainability, allowing us to take our work to the next level.

We are very grateful to Jeremy and Hanne Grantham for enabling us to develop a cadre of Grantham Scholars who will become the leaders of tomorrow and make a real difference in tackling the global sustainability challenges we face."

Professor Tony Ryan

Director of the Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures at the University of Sheffield

Jeremy Grantham, a world-renowned investment manager and co-founder of the Grantham Foundation, with his wife Hanne, of the Grantham Foundation, was brought up in Doncaster and graduated from the University of Sheffield with a degree in Economics in 1961. He received an Honorary Doctorate from the University in 2012.

Jeremy Grantham and wife Hannne in background. Image credit Filip Wolak

The Grantham Foundation is based in Boston in the United States of America and is dedicated to raising awareness of urgent environmental issues and supports individuals and organisations working to find solutions.

The University of Sheffield is very grateful to Jeremy and Hanne Grantham of the Grantham Foundation for this generous donation and for their belief in our work here in Sheffield. We look forward to the Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures making a difference by supporting Grantham Scholars and developing sustainability research for the next five years."

Miles Stevenson

Director of Advancement for the University of Sheffield

The Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures at the University of Sheffield was set up in 2014 following a £2.6 million philanthropic donation from the Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment. 

Since then it has worked to influence industrial and government policy through catalysing innovative research, public engagement and developing networks to bring about social, political and industrial change. The centre’s work has also included carrying out specialist, high-level research projects that tackle the most pressing environmental problems and training the next generation of PhD scholars to become experts in their fields.

The work builds on the University of Sheffield’s world-leading reputation for research, particularly in areas such as food and energy security, as well as its longstanding commitment to sustainability. The University’s five-year Sustainability Strategy and action plan will be launched later this year.