The Cambridge Summer Programme in International Energy Policy and Climate Change Risk Assessment

The Cambridge Summer Programme in International Energy Policy and Climate Change Risk Assessment is run by the Institute for the Environment of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the United States in collaboration with the E3 Foundation and Cambridge Science and Policy Consulting.

Through tutorials on energy, sustainability, risk, decisions and community design, and a set of team-based projects chosen by the students in collaboration with programme sponsors, students learn about ways to bring sustainability, carbon dioxide reduction practices and climate change resilience to individuals, institutions, communities and nations, using the City of Cambridge and the UK as the core examples but with principles that can be applied world-wide.

From start to finish, the entire programme lasts 5 weeks, usually beginning in the first week of July. This year a group of undergraduate students from various academic years and disciplines from the University of Cambridge attended the programme. The places were generously granted by Professor Douglas Crawford-Brown to the Zero Carbon Society, who duly advertised the opportunity.

Here is what two attendees said about their experience:

Katherine Howell, 2nd year, Geography at St. Catharine’s:
I felt the programme was a really constructive use of five weeks – part
course, part research project. The classes raised questions, approaches and
concepts that lie outside my subject but are really important to climate
change mitigation – like Doug’s mantra ‘run the numbers’. Working with the
UNC students and students from a huge range of disciplines definitely
helped broaden perspective too. The project involved producing, in a small
group, a package for Cambridge City Council including a literature review
and recommendations for a guidance for retrofits in conservation areas.
This was particularly rewarding, knowing that our work will feed into
something concrete, practical and exciting. This should be a good CV-boost
as it ties in both with academic research and environmental consultancy.

Charlotte Rogers-Washington, 1st year, Geography at Girton
Applying for this summer programme was a very last minute decision for me
but I am extremely glad I had the opportunity to be involved in such a
programme. The specific project that I worked on was titled ‘You-Gov
Incentives Survey’. The main aim was to help You-Gov create questions for a
survey that would find out what incentives residents (occupant owners,
landlords, tennants etc) needed in order for them to retrofit their homes
or properties. This process took the form of email correspondence and a
conference call. Unfortunately, due to time restrictions, during the course
of the summer programme we only managed to create a draft for the survey
although we will hopefully continue to stay in contact with You-Gov.
However, my group did run our draft survey independently from You-Gov to
give ourselves an idea of how the questions we created would be recieved
and of the sorts of answers we could expect.

This programme was a very positive experience. It was mostly self motivated
and as we were in direct contact with official and respected organisations
it felt very much like a real world experience. It has made me realise I
definitely want to do something environmental in the future and it helped
me create potentially valuable connections with You-Gov Cambridge.

More information about the programme can be found at: https://sites.google.com/site/energyprogramme/

Keep in touch with the Society to hear about more great opportunities like this one!