University of Sheffield receives £1.7 million donation to tackle challenges of food, water and energy security

  • £1.7 million alumni donation from Grantham Foundation set to fund further research into sustainability and food, water and energy security at the University of Sheffield.
  • The donation will support a bespoke communication training programme for over 40 PhD studentships - developing future leaders equipped to tackle the global sustainability challenges facing humankind.
  • Funds will initiate work on the unpalatable truths sustainability brings via a Policy Unit within the University of Sheffield’s Grantham Centre, aimed at communicating a systemic policy approach to tackling global sustainability challenges.
  • Work will support current research within the newly created Institute for Sustainable Food and the Energy Institute at the University of Sheffield.

Plant and hand

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.

The donation from the Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment, established by alumnus Jeremy Grantham and his wife Hanne, will build on the work 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.

Professor Tony Ryan, Director of the Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures at the University of Sheffield, said: "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."

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 to the University’s Development, Alumni Relations and Events (DARE) team.

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.

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.

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.

Miles Stevenson, Director of Advancement in the University of Sheffield’s Development, Alumni Relations and Events (DARE) team, said: "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."

Additional information

The Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures

The University of Sheffield
With almost 29,000 of the brightest students from over 140 countries, learning alongside over 1,200 of the best academics from across the globe, the University of Sheffield is one of the world’s leading universities.

A member of the UK’s prestigious Russell Group of leading research-led institutions, Sheffield offers world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines.

Unified by the power of discovery and understanding, staff and students at the university are committed to finding new ways to transform the world we live in.

Sheffield is the only university to feature in The Sunday Times 100 Best Not-For-Profit Organisations to Work For 2018 and for the last eight years has been ranked in the top five UK universities for Student Satisfaction by Times Higher Education.

Sheffield has six Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and its alumni go on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence all over the world, making significant contributions in their chosen fields.

Global research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, AstraZeneca, Glaxo SmithKline, Siemens and Airbus, as well as many UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.

Contact

For further information please contact:

Shemina Davis
Media Relations Manager
The University of Sheffield
0114 222 5339
shemina.davis@sheffield.ac.uk