The South Yorkshire Sustainability Centre (SYSC), announced by South Yorkshire Mayor Dan Jarvis at the South Yorkshire Economic Summit 2022, will bring together researchers, businesses and organisations across the region to co-design solutions to regional and global sustainability challenges.
Sheffield Hallam University is one of the key partners in the delivery of the South Yorkshire Sustainability Centre alongside the University of Sheffield, South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority, the four South Yorkshire local authorities, and a range of private and voluntary sector organisations.
The Centre will connect world-leading research with regional partners to develop and implement plans to reduce emissions, while also providing jobs and economic growth.
Projects that will be coordinated by the Centre, which has received £5 million funding from Research England, include the optimisation and decarbonisation of transport routes, retrofitting housing stock, decarbonising the agri-food sector and heavy industry, and restoring the region’s natural environments and assets.
Announcing the South Yorkshire Sustainability Centre, South Yorkshire Mayor Dan Jarvis, said: “South Yorkshire is the heartland of innovation and we are harnessing these credentials to tackle the biggest challenge facing our generation: the climate emergency and the need to drastically reduce carbon emissions. I’ve made it my mission to create a stronger, greener, fairer South Yorkshire economy and our investment in the Sustainability Centre will catalyse our region’s plan to reach net zero emissions by 2040, unlock good green jobs and grow and attract new businesses and investment.”
Experts from two of Sheffield Hallam’s leading research centres – the National Centre of Excellence for Food Engineering (NCEFE) and the Centre for Regional, Economic and Social Research (CRESR) – will lead work on decarbonising the agri-food sector and supporting a ‘just transition’ to net zero.
Researchers from NCEFE will work with regional business partners examine ways to reduce the environmental impact of food manufacturing in South Yorkshire while improving the energy efficiency in the region’s food processing sector.
CRESR academics will be working closely with closely with voluntary sector and civil society groups, small businesses, workers and vulnerable communities in the region to ensure their views and needs are central to actions towards a sustainable South Yorkshire. Their work will provide a basis for policy to support workers and SMEs in the transition to net zero.
Professor Wayne Cranton, Dean of Research at Sheffield Hallam University said: “The South Yorkshire Sustainability Centre is an excellent example of how collaboration and partnership can come together to build on research excellence, expertise and knowledge across organisations and across disciplines - to realise economic and social impact through the common goal of addressing the urgent sustainability challenges. I am delighted that our research teams at the National Centre of Excellence for Food Engineering and at the Centre for Regional, Economic and Social Research will be at the forefront of this work through our partnership in the new Centre.”