Cambridge partners with industry leaders to fund research on global sustainability challenges

The Prince of Wales Global Sustainability Fellowship Programme represents a multi-million-pound commitment from the private sector to accelerate progress on UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The Prince of Wales Global Sustainability Fellowship Programme will create a rich intellectual space for collaboration between researchers and industry as we seek breakthrough ideas and leadership actions towards meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Polly Courtice

The Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) is launching The Prince of Wales Global Sustainability Fellowship Programme today (11 July), with the support of some of the UK’s leading companies. The programme will attract researchers from around the world to identify solutions to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In a unique model for the University, up to 15 Prince of Wales Global Sustainability Fellows will be appointed to undertake three-year studies to mobilise global evidence on the world’s most pressing challenges, enabling companies and policymakers to build a more sustainable economy.

Founding sponsors of the Fellowship Programme include Anglian Water, Asda, AstraZeneca, The Equal Opportunities Foundation, Heathrow Airport Holdings, Paul and Michelle Gilding, Sainsbury’s, Sappi and Unilever.

As a tribute to his 70th birthday year, and in recognition of his lifetime’s dedication to environmental issues, the Fellowship Programme is named in honour of CISL’s Patron The Prince of Wales.

This effort is even more urgent given the UN’s announcement last week that progress on the SDGs has been slow and not on track to reach its 2030 targets.

"Universities contribute to society through the creation of new knowledge and the development of new skills," said Professor Stephen Toope, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge. "It is our aspiration to do this in ways that are relevant and purposeful. The Prince of Wales Global Sustainability Fellowship Programme, hosted by the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, will help us to do just that by allowing academics to engage productively with business, government and financial institutions for society’s benefit - both in the UK and globally."

The SDGs were launched in 2015 to provide a global framework for development with 17 Goals to be achieved by 2030, such as ending poverty, tackling inequality and climate change. Governments have cited the critical role of the private sector in delivering the Goals.

"The Prince of Wales Global Sustainability Fellowship Programme will create a rich intellectual space for collaboration between researchers and industry as we seek breakthrough ideas and leadership actionstowards meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals," said Polly Courtice, Director of CISL.

"Sainsbury’s are proud to be founding supporters of this Fellowship Programme and to have the opportunity to assess the evidence and potential for our business to play a more active and positive role in the communities we serve and source from," said Mike Coupe, Group Chief Executive, Sainsbury’s.

"AstraZeneca is proud to be part of the Prince of Wales Global Sustainability Fellowship Programme, supporting research to positively impact SDG 3; Good health and wellbeing," said Katarina Ageborg, Executive Vice-President, Sustainability and Chief Compliance Officer, AstraZeneca. "By supporting a research Fellow to review the academic evidence for non-communicable disease prevention, we look forward to understanding and sharing more about the policies, practices and innovations necessary to deliver the economic and human benefits of sustainable health."

"Meeting the UN SDGs will require the biggest transformation the world has ever faced and it will take all stakeholders to pull it off: governments, the private sector, civil society and academia," said Lise Kingo, CEO & Executive Director, United Nations Global Compact. "The Prince of Wales Global Sustainability Fellowship Programme will provide a critical meeting point for the exchange of ideas in the development of solutions, and the evidence base for the urgent action that is required."