Grantham Centre people at COP26 in front of floral letters spelling COP26

The Grantham Centre at COP

Every year, we send Grantham Scholars to COP as official observers for the University of Sheffield. Doing so gives our people an opportunity to see how global climate change policy is made – or not – and to meet other sustainability experts.

Our team supports their trip, helping with everything from accommodation to networking. And we provide training on things like media engagement and communication so that the Grantham Scholars can make the most from their time at COP.

We will be following all the Grantham Centre people at COP on our Twitter account, and will report back on what they experience there.

COP27: Egypt, Sharm El-Sheikh

We sent 7 people from the Grantham Centre to COP27 as official observers for the University of Sheffield. Here you can find out a bit more about them.

Grantham Scholars at COP27

Su Natasha
Grantham Scholar Su Natasha Mohamad.

Su Natasha Mohamad’s project looks at the fate of plastic parts of aircraft throughout their lifetime in order to encourage reuse.

Laura Stefanini researches binders and mortars, waste valorisation and the control of CO2 emissions to maximise replacement of raw materials and cement.

Raoul Blackman is researching how urban trees respond to anthropogenic drivers.

Benedict Smith’s project looks at making graphene based sensors more selective.

Hanyu Qi researches a novel tree planting method – Miyawaki Forest Method – its application and peoples’ perspectives towards it in the UK context.

Charley Nevin‘s project is called ‘Resolving reaction mechanisms, kinetics and mass transport in radionuclide-loaded geopolymer cement wasteforms’.

Rachel Lasko researches UK Agri-food policies post-Brexit.

COP26: Glasgow

From engineering, bioscience, water, and energy, the 7 Grantham Scholars we sent to COP26 represent the diversity of work needed for a sustainable future. We interviewed them to find out what they think is good – and bad – about COP.

Mary Eliza

Grantham Scholars COP26: Mary ElizaFrom the School of Biosciences, Mary’s research looks at how we can grow legumes with less nitrogen. In her interview Mary explains how her work links to climate change and the future of food. And she stresses the need for farmers from around the world to be represented at COP26.

Read: COP26 observer interview: Mary Eliza.

You can keep up to date with Mary at COP26 on Twitter.

Charles Gillott

Grantham Scholars COP26: Charles Gillott

Charles’s work is on mitigating the impact of buildings on the environment. He’s from the from the Department of Civil Engineering and Urban Flows Observatory. In his interview, Charles stresses the need for regulation and policy for the construction industry. Plus Charles says we should train engineers to reuse old buildings rather than design new ones.

Read: COP26 observer interview: Charles Gillott.

Maria Wang Mei Hua

Grantham Scholars COP26: Maria Wang Mei Hua

Maria is from the School of Biosciences, where she researches how to make rubber production more sustainable. Asked who she’s most looking forward to hearing from, Maria says: ‘Whoever is going to speak truth to power and push for real action.’

Read: COP26 observer interview: Maria Wang Mei Hua.

Manasi Mulay

Manasi Mulay

Manasi is from the Department of Chemistry. Her research looks at advanced water treatment techniques for pollution. Her hopes for COP26 are that everyone going shares the sustainability message with their family and friends. That way, ‘A climate-vigilant society could sustainability-check products and act as a driving force for a climate-resilient economy.’

Read: COP26 observer interview: Manasi Mulay.

Reena Sayani and Suma Mani

Grantham Scholars COP26: Reena Sayani

Reena is from the School of Architecture researching sustainable energy for all. And Suma Mani is at the School of Biosciences. Her research is on woodland creation in the Peak District. Both Reena and Suma say that COP26 is a chance to see powerful people make the policy that will determine our future.

Read: COP26 observer interview: Reena Sayani & Suma Mani.

Follow Reena on Twitter.

David Rapley

David Rapley

David is from the School of Biosciences where he is studying ways to increase resistance in rice to a damaging parasitic weed. For David, it’s important to be hopeful that meaningful change can happen at COP26.

Read: COP26 observer interview: David Rapley.

Behind the scenes work on COP26

Our people are not just observers at COP, some of them have been working behind the scenes to influence what happens there. Others are going along as panellists at specialist events.

Marta Crispo

Grantham Scholar Marta Crispo is a student commissioner with the EAUC climate commission who have created a student statement to present at COY (the official route for youth representation at COP26). The statement includes 9 demands to address sustainability issues within the education sector. If you want to read the full statement, then look here: COY16 Student Statement.

Ella Hubbard

Grantham Scholar Ella Hubbard explains why we must repoliticise the climate crisis and look beyond the main at COP26 for hope. Read: COP26: We must look beyond the conference floor.

Professor Rachael Rothman

Dr Rothman is one of many Grantham Centre people working towards COP26
Our Co-Director Dr Rachael Rothman is a member of the COP26 University Network.

Our Co-Director Rachael Rothman is a member of the COP26 University Network, a group of universities aiming to influence the key topics of COP26. They recently created guidance to support universities and colleges to develop offsetting policies as part of their net-zero strategies. You can read more here: Our Co-Director contributes to COP26 Universities Network briefing.

Professor Tony Ryan

Our other Co-Director Tony Ryan will be on the panel of a Science and Innovation session with Reckitt. The theme for the session is Innovating to tackle climate change – how science can deliver a decarbonised society.

Dr Maria Val Martin

Maria supervises some of our Grantham Scholars. She will at the COP26 Green Zone with the UKRI decarbonization exhibition as an expert on climate change mitigation on November 1st and 2nd. Keep up to date with Maria on Twitter.

Grantham Centre at previous COPs

Our people at COP22 including Niall Bradshaw, Tony Ryan and Duncan Cameron.

We’ve been sending official observers to COP for years, including the historic COP21 when the Paris Agreement was signed. If you want find out more about this, then follow the links below.


7 reasons why COP25 was a positive experience for a social scientist. Grantham Scholar Theresa on why COP25 was a good place to be.


A day at COP24: what’s it like to be at the biggest climate conference in the world? Grantham Scholars Florentine Weber and George Coiley show what’s it like to be at the biggest climate conference in the world in this photoblog.

Grantham Scholars Go To COP 24


COP22: corridor diplomacy and biodiversity by Kaisa Pietilä. Kaisa reflects on ‘corridor diplomacy’ at COP22 and how biodiversity was left out of the talks.

COP22, Trump and the need for action by Niall Bradshaw. Grantham Scholar Niall Bradshaw reports back from COP22. Held in 2016 as Trump came to power in the US, and pulled out of the Paris Agreement, the mood was grim. But people galvanised around the need for action.

Energy water food nexus at COP22 by Tinashe Mawodza. Tinashe reports on a Grantham Centre panel on the energy, water, food nexus.

COP22 an intriguing week of scholarship by Angesh Anupam. Angesh gives us a view from the ground, including events put on by the Grantham Centre

Sheffield delegation return from important COP22 in Marrakech. The Sheffield delegation at COP22 included Grantham Scholars and academics from across TUoS. They hosted and took part in panels on food and energy.

‘Shocking and scary’: how Trump’s victory was received at COP22 by Tony Ryan and Duncan Cameron. Reactions from COP22 as the world woke up to Donald Trump’s US election victory.


Watch: Carbon Neutral University videos about climate change for COP21. In the run up to COP21, the University of Sheffield’s Carbon Neutral University hosted a range of experts to talk about climate change. Included were Grantham supervisor Dr Matt Watson, Mike Berners-Lee and MEP Linda McAvan. The videos from this event are now on our YouTube channel.

Overcoming the tragedy of the commons – a Grantham Scholar’s perspective on COP21. Grantham Scholar Rob Hardie was part of the University of Sheffield’s delegation to COP21, in Paris. Here he reflects on Ostrom’s theories about the conditions needed to overcome the tragedy of the commons, and how they were in place when the Paris Agreement was created.

COP21 panel on climate-smart food system: slides from speakers. The Grantham Centre hosted a panel on food and climate change, chaired by Tony Ryan.

As she joins the TUoS delegation to COP21, Grantham supervisor Professor Michelle Holdsworth explains why we must tackle the issues around health, nutrition and climate change. Read: Unhealthy diets, climate change & hunger by Michelle Holdsworth.

Soil loss: an unfolding global disaster – Grantham Centre briefing note

More from the University of Sheffield at COP26

You can find more information about TUoS at COP26 at Sheffield at COP26.