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Heriot-Watt University and COP28

COP28 took place in the United Arab Emirates, from 30 November to 12 December 2023. Read more about Heriot-Watt University’s contribution to the UN Climate Change Conference.

Satellite view of planet earth

The first 'global stocktake'

The 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference, at Expo City in Dubai, stood as a pivotal point in the global effort to combat the climate crisis.  Marking the first 'global stocktake' under the 2015 Paris climate agreement, it presented a critical platform for deliberations and collaborations aimed at speeding up actions essential to address the pressing challenges of climate change, particularly around country’s emissions-cutting goals to keep the world within 1.5C of pre-industrial levels. 

Heriot-Watt took an active stance by hosting a dedicated Climate Hub at our Dubai Campus, assembling a dedicated team of experts drawn from diverse disciplines within the university, and also participating in COP28, in the Blue and Green zones. This activity highlighted our commitment to making a substantial impact on the global stage. Engaging in negotiations, discussions, and events, the team worked tirelessly over the course of two weeks to help bring about change.

Neon sign that says FOR THE WORLD

How Heriot-Watt University helps shape the debate

We are using our global reach and innovation in teaching, pioneering research, and enterprise to make a significant impact towards the attainment of the UN Sustainable Development Goals while making commitments to become more sustainable as an institution and global community. Learn more about our approach to sustainability on our dedicated pages.

Environmental sustainability is one of Heriot-Watt’s Strategic Performance Indicators within Strategy 2025, which sets out our commitment to delivering statutory environmental requirements and enhancing sustainability outcomes across the full breadth of the university's activities. Explore our 10 Commitments on Global Environmental Sustainability to gain insight into our unwavering dedication to this vital cause.


Professor Richard A. Williams Principal and Vice-Chancellor

RA Williams profile photo
"As an engineer committed to global sustainability, I am confident we can deliver solutions provided we have the ambition, confidence, and awareness. We need a radical decisive, long-term framework based on reality and built-on enhanced citizen understanding, not short-term platforming. "

Professor Richard A. Williams ,
Principal and Vice-Chancellor

Meet our experts

Professor Dame Heather McGregor

Professor Dame Heather McGregor DBE FRSE

Professor Dame Heather McGregor was the lead host at our Climate Hub, which showcased our world class university facilities to drive engagement in the critical discussions about the climate emergency.

Prof. Gillian Murray

Professor Gillian Murray

Our Deputy Principal for Enterprise and Business, Professor Gillian Murray, took part in events in the Green Zone at COP28, and at our Climate Hub, championing Heriot-Watt's distinctive role in combatting the climate emergency.

Professor Tadhg O’Donovan

Professor Tadhg O’Donovan

Deputy Vice-Principal (Academic Leadership) Heriot-Watt University Dubai, Chief Scientist and solar expert, Professor Tadhg O'Donovan led events and discussions on the latest breakthrough technologies and our world-class research.

Professor Mercedes Maroto-Valer

Professor Mercedes Maroto-Valer

Deputy Principal for Global Sustainability, Professor Mercedes Maroto-Valer contributed at COP28 as a member of the UN Council of Engineers for the Energy Transition, and as Director of the UK Industrial Decarbonisation Research and Innovation Centre.

A lighthouse against a starry sky - a beacon

A beacon for global change

"I champion Heriot-Watt University's distinctive role in combating the climate emergency. Serving as a trusted broker, our university seeks collaboration with governments and businesses, leveraging our presence in the UAE to initiate vital conversations. My vision involves generating initiatives to support countries affected by climate change, emphasising the crucial role of our graduates and alumni community in translating summit agreements into tangible progress, championing their significance in shaping a sustainable future."

Professor Gillian Murray
Deputy Principal (Enterprise & Business)

 “Following the first Global Stocktake, there is a need to supercharge our implementation pathways. I am passionate about my role as technology diplomat and continuing to engage in strategic discussions to increase pace and scale globally, for a just and inclusive transition.”

Professor Mercedes Maroto-Valer
Deputy Principal for Global Sustainability

Kbric sustainable material

Building momentum through collaboration

"As a pioneering and global university, our aim is to take a distinctive lead in defining the route to global sustainability. The Heriot-Watt Climate Hub provided a base for visitors to Dubai, offering our world-class university facilities to all those arriving to address the climate emergency."

Professor Dame Heather McGregor DBE FRSE
Provost and Vice-Principal

"We exhibited the latest breakthrough technologies from aspiring entrepreneurs who are developing solutions for a more sustainable future. Our Global Research Institutes showcased advances that address societal challenges and drive change that will help us achieve net zero."

Professor Tadhg O’Donovan
Deputy Vice Principal (Academic Leadership), Chief Scientist

Image pictured left: K-BRIQ® by Kenoteq Ltd co-founded by Professor Gabriela M. Medero, Heriot-Watt University.