24 Mar 2023 12:00 - 15:00 James Dyson Building Trumpington Street Cambridge CB2 1QA


About this event

One of a series of 3 workshops organised by Cambridge Zero throughout March, focussed on a broad common theme of materials and the transition to net-zero. These in-person workshops are supported by the Natural Environment Research Council as part of their Cross-disciplinary Research for Discovery Science activities.

This event is in collaboration with the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, CRASSH and the Energy IRC.


This exploratory event aims to help build connections across the University community to catalyse cross-disciplinary research collaborations and knowledge transfer which, over time, have the potential to influence national and international research, policy and funding agendas.

We would like to facilitate as many viewpoints as possible in the time available and the event is open to PhD students, Research Associates, Research and Academic staff at the University, Colleges and associated research institutions.


The shift from high-carbon to low-emissions systems requires substantial materials and minerals. Such transitions necessitate an interdisciplinary and integrated perspective to understand the environmental, social and ethical implications of new technologies and their associated materials demands. At both global and national levels, different projected pathways for greenhouse gas emissions over this century have markedly different implications for materials demand. This is particularly true for the minerals needed for decarbonised energy supply, manufacturing and construction. Even for those pathways that can achieve the Paris temperature goal, there is significant diversity in materials demand based on assumed social, technical, economic and political developments.

How energy-related minerals for the net-zero transition are extracted, processed, traded, used and recycled will have significant social, environmental, economic and ethical implications across countries. In addition, historical shifts in materials extraction, development and use have had implications for human slavery, environmental injustice, and global resource economies and conflicts. This event aims to kick-start a discussion of these issues by bringing together researchers from a range of disciplines across the University of Cambridge. Our objectives are to explore innovative approaches to materials demand, build an interdisciplinary network of researchers and research concentration in materials demand for decarbonisation, develop and respond to funding calls, and generate publications and reports on this topic.

Read the full programme for the event.

Outline Workshop Programme:

12:00 Light Sandwich Lunch

12:30 Welcome and introductory remarks, Simon Buckle, Cambridge Zero

12:40 Opening perspectives: short 5–7-minute remarks from a panel, followed by discussion

  • Jennifer Gabrys, Chair in Media, Culture and Environment in the Department of Sociology
  • Karishma Jain, Deputy Director of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
  • Jeremy Green, Professor of Political Economy, Department of Politics and International Studies

13:30 Issues: short 5-7-minute talks, followed by discussion.

  • Extractivism in Latin America, Tamara Wattnem, Assistant Professor in Development Studies and Latin American Studies, Department of Politics and International Studies
  • International trade and development issues, Clara Galeazzi, C-EENRG Fellow, Department of Land Economy
  • Energy & Infrastructure in Africa, Mike Degani, Assistant Professor of Environmental Anthropology, Juliet Campbell Fellow in Social Anthropology, Girton College

14:20 Next steps

  • Short presentations on opportunities and discussion on how to take the agenda forward

14:50 Closing remarks and next steps

Other workshops in this series:

If you have any questions, please contact Alison at Alison.Holroyd@admin.cam.ac.uk


Tel: +44 1223 766886
Email enquiries@crassh.cam.ac.uk