De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) officially opened its pavilion at COP28 in Dubai today – and one of the first visitors was a Malawi king keen to hear about the university's biofuels research.
DMU is represented at the most important climate change talks for decades and are official observers with the university’s delegation of academics, PhD researchers, and senior leaders contributing to the talks by the world’s governments.
The university’s pavilion opened with a steady stream of international visitors as the opening ceremony for COP28 took place at the former Expo 2020 site.
Professor Simon Oldroyd, the Pro Vice-Chancellor for Sustainability, and Helen Donnellan, the Director of Business, Research and Innovation, welcomed guests before officially declaring Pavilion 105 open.
Professor Oldroyd told the invite audience: “Sustainability and climate change are the biggest challenges facing humanity today and these talks are the most important in decades as the first-ever ‘global stock-take’ - a measure of how countries are doing against the target set in Paris eight years ago to limit global temperate rises to 1.5C.
“It makes me proud as I look round this pavilion that De Montfort University is taking an active part and demonstrating its commitment to making a difference through its actions.
“We are here in our capacity as official United Nations observers and contributing to the debate for climate action as I know our students, staff, and indeed the people of Leicester would wish,” he added.
For more information on events at COP 28 and events in Leicester and Dubai visit: DMU at COP28
Some of the climate change research going on was then outlined by Ms Donnellan including working with the Nigerian Government to show how waste plastic can be repurposed and turned into new products; how homes were built with used plastic bottles; of innovative work that is providing amputees with cheaper, more comfortable prosthetic limb sockets created from plastic bottles; and how harnessing microorganisms can make the process of methane capture more efficient.
She added: “DMU has a proud record of climate research going back to the early 1990s and that pride in outstanding and impactful research continues to this day. It is important that our research is shared on the world stage to demonstrate this university is really making a difference as well as contributing to the climate action debate.”
Among the early visitors to the DMU pavilion was a Malawi king, who held discussions with the university’s researchers on the potential for future collaborations with his country on biofuels.
One of HRM Inkosi Ya Makosi Gomani’s passions is protection and restoration of trees and forests to protect climate and halt land degradation in Malawi, which is a predominantly agriculture-based economy. His Majesty, who rules the Maseko Ngosi people, said: “The research on biofuels can help lessen use of fertilisers and help with deforestation. It has been interesting to meet with the researchers and hear how these methods could benefit lands naturally.”
The pavilion at COP28 is part of joint approach that also sees events taking place at the university’s Leicester and Dubai campuses.
Events in Leicester kicked off on Wednesday, with the Big River Clean-Up to prevent plastics getting into the oceans.
With partners at the Canal and River Trust, Leicester City Council, and community group Roots, more than 40 students helped to collect more than 65 bags of plastic and litter plus 25 bulky items that would otherwise have ended up in the River Soar and eventually the ocean.
The clean-up was followed by an official launch of Leicester’s campus programme and the first of a series of events taking place from now until the end of COP28 on 12 December.
The delegation at COP28 will be presenting their research at DMU Dubai from 5-12 December and the campus also plan a series of other events during the climate change talks.
Posted on Friday 1st December 2023