skip to content

Cambridge Forum for Sustainability and the Environment


Between October 2015 and June 2016, our topic was 'Risk, resilience and response'. As in previous years, a panel of three expert 'witnesses' from across and beyond Cambridge joined us each month. They were a rich mixture of policy- and decision-makers from governments and businesses , and technical experts and each of them will provide their perspective on the gaps in our knowledge and burning questions for future research.

Each term, we explored a different theme. First, we focused on food and water supply resilience. We jointly hosted these three meetings with the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission and we are co-producing a brief white paper for EC policy makers identifying future research gaps and opportunities in this area.

Between January and March 2016, we built on the discussions we had during our first topic and focus on resilient cities and ways in which big data and technology will shape the way we view and live in cities of the future. 

In April, May and June we explored energy resilience. Our expert witnesses helped us to explore research questions related to ‘How can Bioenergy (based on photosynthesis) be used as a deployable and sustainable energy source for off–grid situations’. 

Profiles of the witnesses


Dr PB  Anand
Reader in Environmental Economics and Public Policy,
Bradford Centre for International Development,
University of Bradford
Professor Michael  Batty
Professor of Planning, and Chairman, Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis,
Faculty of the Built Environment, University College, London (UCL)
 Edgar  Blanco
Research and Development Manage
AnDigestion Ltd
 Rowan  Douglas
CEO, Capital, Science & Policy Practice and Chairman, Willis Research Network,
Willis Group
 Sergio  Freire
Scientific / Technical Project Manager
DG Joint Research Centre (JRC)
Institute for the Protection and Security of the Citizen (IPSC)
Global Security and Crisis Management Unit
Professor Sir Brian  Heap
Scientific Advisor at the Smart Villages Initiative
Research Associate at the Centre for Development Studies, Cambridge.
Professor Chris  Howe
Professor of Plant and Microbial Biochemistry,
Department of Biochemistry, University of Cambridge
Professor James  Jackson
Professor of Geophysics, Geodynamics and Tectonics,
Head of the Department Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge
Dr Francois  Kayitakire
Senior Scientist within the Food Security (FOODSEC) Group,
Institute of Environment and Sustainability (IES),
Joint Research Center (JRC) of the European Commission, based in Ispra, Italy
Dr Mukesh  Kumar
Research Associate in the International Manufacturing group,
Institute for Manufacturing, University of Cambridge
 Rob  Mills
Head of European Energy Markets, Ofgem
Dr John  Mullett
Founder and Director
SOWTech (Sustainable OneWorld Technologies) CIC
 Thierry  Negre
Head of the Food Security Group within the Monitoring Agricultural Resources Unit (MARS),
Institute of Environment and Sustainability (IES),
Joint Research Center (JRC) of the European Commission, based in Ispra, Italy
 Paul  Newell
A Statistician in the Energy Science team,
Met Office
Professor Alan  O'Neill
Emeritus Professor of Meteorology at the University of Reading and currently a visiting professor in the Cavendish Laboratory and a visiting fellow at Clare Hall, University of Cambridge
Dr Heinz  Ossenbrink
Head of Renewables and Energy Efficiency Unit
Institute for Energy and Transport, European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Italy
Dr Rana  Pant
Scientific/Technical Project Officer
Sustainability Assessment
Institute for Environment and Sustainability, European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Italy
 Stephen  Peedell
Senior Scientific Officer in the Land Resource Management Unit,
Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission (based in Ispra, Italy)
Professor Jaideep  Prabhu
Jawaharlal Nehru Professor of Indian Business & Enterprise
Director of the Centre for India & Global Business (CIGB),
Judge Business School, University of Cambridge
Dr Drew  Purves
Research Scientist,
Google DeepMind, based in London
Professor Danny  Ralph
Professor of Operations Research
Academic Director of the Centre for Risk Studies (CRS)
Judge Business School, University of Cambridge
Dr  Muhammad Tayyab   Safdar
Affiliated Lecturer at the Centre of Development Studies
Member of the Tutor Panel at the Institute of Continuing Education (ICE), University of Cambridge.
Dr Elisabete A Silva
University Senior Lecturer,
Department of Land Economy, University of Cambridge
Dr Matthew  Smith
Scientist in the Computational Science Lab,
Microsoft Research