Call Out For COP29 Official Observers

We have an exciting opportunity for researchers, academics, PhD students and professional services staff at The University Of Sheffield. We are giving you the chance to attend COP29 in Baku, Azerbaijan as an official observer to witness international climate policy being made!

🌍 Does COP29 align with your research?
🌏 Do you want to expand your network?
🌍 Could you use the opportunity to publicise the work of the University and create new opportunities?

As a member of the Research and Independent Non-Governmental Organizations (RINGO) constituency to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the University of Sheffield is allocated a small number of places to attend the conferences as an observer. These are official observer places that permit attendance to all parts of the conference – both the official ‘blue’ zone run by the UN for international delegates and observers as well as any public ‘green zone’. 

You can see the COP29 thematic days here.

You are now invited to bid for a place. We encourage researchers from a diverse range of backgrounds and career stages to apply. University of Sheffield PhD students, post doctoral researchers, academic and professional services staff are all welcome to apply.

Please note that this year you can only apply for an onsite place (there is no option to attend online at the moment).

We anticipate being allocated 5 to 6 official observer places for each of the two weeks of the COP29 conference, 11 to 22 November 2024, so that means 10 to 12 places in total for 1 week each

We have booked a number of hotel rooms for all TUoS delegates and all costs including flights and reasonable expenses will be covered by the Grantham Centre if you are successful in your application. You will also be able to get money in advance to pay for subsistence costs, e.g. your meals.

Members of the University may be invited through their own networks to present or be part of a panel at COP29 and therefore attend without the need for an observer pass. If this is the case, please get in touch with Richard Sulley (, who will be coordinating involvement by Sheffield academics in order to showcase our sustainability research.  

Attend an information session

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Sign up here for an information session where you will learn how to bid for your place, as well as hear from previous attendees about their experiences, the COP process and what the role of an official observer involves.

Your attendance at one of the information sessions doesn’t commit you to anything. You do not need to attend one of the information sessions in order to be allowed to bid for a place at COP29, it will however help to make your application stronger, should you end up bidding for a place at COP29.

How to apply

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Please fill in this form outlining your case for attending COP29 by 5pm on Thursday 15th August. Once you submit your application, you can still go back to the form and edit your answers if you wish up until the deadline.

Your case should include why you would like to attend, what you hope to get out of it, including any specific links to your research or wider engagement plans, and what benefit your attendance will have to TUoS and the wider sustainability community. Please include any information about how your work is relevant to one or more of the COP29 goals or themes. Please note that a simple description of your PhD project will result in your application automatically being unsuccessful.

We would welcome applications which include innovative ways through which participants might communicate their participation or that can be used to drive wider change in the delivery of sustainability goals, either for the institution, or wider society. 

In return for us funding your attendance at COP29, we would like to know what you are planning to do pre- and post- conference and what will be the tangible impact of your attendance. This could be an article you will write, an event you will organise or participate in, a conversation with a policymaker you’re planning to have, a research you will conduct etc.

We especially welcome representatives of the Global South to bid for a delegate place. Please note that if you don’t have a UK passport, you are responsible for making sure that your study/work visa arrangements allow you to come in and out of the UK.

If you have attended COP before then you are welcome to apply again. The bids will be assessed by the Sustainability Steering Group, chaired by Professor Sue Hartley, who will select attendees and also prepare a reserve list in case any selected delegates have to drop out. 

What is involved if you get selected

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If you are chosen to be a delegate at COP29, you will be required to participate in any planned communication and publicity activity, and we welcome your suggestions on novel ways you may wish to do this.

We will also hold a COP29 reflection event early in 2025 which you would be required to attend (please see here more information about a COP28 reflection event we held earlier this year).

We will organise a series of training sessions in the Autumn 2024 for the selected COP29 delegates to help them prepare for the conference. 

A compulsory ‘Working with Journalists’ training session will also be organised in late September or October 2024. You will have the option to choose from a range of dates to complete this in-person training session.

Sheffield attendance at previous COPs

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Please see blogs from staff and PhD students who attended previous COPs and you can also watch a recording of our reflections event from last year.

•    Reflections on COP 28
•    PhD students attending various COPs
•    COP26 – We must look beyond the conference floor
•    Why COP25 was a positive experience for a social scientist
•    COP24: A day at COP and what it’s like to attend the biggest climate conference in the world
•    COP22 – Sheffield delegation return from COP

Visa information

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Please read carefully below important information on visa arrangements for COP29, should you be selected as a delegate.

•    All foreign participants entering Azerbaijan for COP29 must have a passport valid for at least six months from the date of entry into Azerbaijan.
•    All COP29 participants traveling from outside Azerbaijan will require a visa, regardless of their national passport.
•    The Azerbaijan Government has authorised an electronic, free-of-charge “COP29 Special Visa”, for all COP29 Azerbaijan registered participants.
•    The COP29 Special Visa allows the holder a single-entry visit. Should you wish to leave Azerbaijan and return during COP29 you must re-apply for the COP29 Special Visa following the same process as you used previously, using your UNFCCC registration number.
•    Upon approval of registration via the UNFCCC Online Registration System, participants will receive a link to apply for the visa as part of the UNFCCC registration confirmation email.
•    The COP29 Special Visa will indicate the date of issue and be valid until 30 November 2024. Visa holders must enter the Republic of Azerbaijan before this date.
•    Participants are strongly encouraged to apply for the COP29 Special Visa promptly once their UNFCCC registration is confirmed. Please use the visa portal link in your UNFCCC registration email to track the status of your visa.

Any questions?

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If you have any questions about the COP29 application process please contact Grantham Centre Manager, Deborah Beck ( in the first instance.