Academics Open Letter 2018

360 academics sign an open letter calling Cambridge University Council to fully divest from fossil fuels. Signatories include:

  • Professor Sir David King, former UK’s Permanent Special Representative for Climate Change and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government
  • Professor Sir Thomas Blundell, former president of the UK Science Council
  • Dr Robert McFarlane, multi-awarded author

Cambridge academics, add your name to the open letter here

Cambridge University Council: Divest from Fossil Fuels

We, the undersigned, call on the University Council to commit to full divestment from fossil fuels.

In January 2017, Regent House passed a Grace without opposition calling the University to fully divest from fossil fuels. University Council, in an unprecedented move, approved the Grace but did not follow through with its mandate (1).  Instead, Council decided to establish the divestment working group as a placatory gesture, and it now looks set to reject full divestment, simply reaffirming a two year old promise to divest from coal and tar sands (2). This is unacceptable and represents a subversion of democratic structures.

Divestment from fossil fuels, both direct and indirect, would bring investment policy in line with University values, research and mission statement which expresses a commitment to sustainability (3). As a world-leading institution, Cambridge is behind the times on divestment, with many leading UK universities such as Bristol, Durham and Edinburgh having already committed to full divestment (4).

This is also an issue of transparency and accountability. Precious few people seem to have any idea where the University’s money is invested, with Vice-Chancellor Stephen Toope recently admitting in an open meeting that even he was in the dark. At the same time, the leak of the Paradise Papers last year revealed that Cambridge has invested tens of millions in offshore funds linked to oil exploration and off-shore drilling. (5)

We support divestment from fossil fuels because it has long been democratically supported by students and staff. Divestment is both necessary and urgent to stigmatise the fossil fuel industry who are most responsible for a warming climate. As detailed in the 2013 Oxford Smith School Report, divestment encourages companies to abandon environmentally abusive business models, and adds pressure to national government to bring about UK policy change (6). Divestment would be in line with the Paris Agreement, aiming to halt global warming of over 2 ̊C. It is also financially prudent, as fossil fuels may soon become stranded assets, and corroborates with Cambridge’s own research across departments warning of the dangers of fossil fuel dependency.

We call on University Council to take all necesary steps to ensure investment transparency with its beneficiaries, students and staff at the University. We also call on the University’s Investment Office to immediately freeze any new investments in fossil fuel companies, and to divest from direct ownership and any commingled funds that include fossil fuel public equities and corporate bonds within five years. To state explicitly – we are calling for divestment both from direct and indirect funds. We ask the University to then consider how this money can be reinvested more ethically.

Divestment will bring Cambridge’s finances back in line with its ethics and own research, and in doing so make a powerful contribution to the global fight for climate justice.


Dr. Thomas Jeffrey Miley Lecturer of Sociology
Mette Eilstrup-Sangiovanni Senior Lecturer, POLIS
Dr Dr Markus Gehring Law
Robert Macfarlane Reader in Literature, Faculty of English; Fellow, Emmanuel College
Michael Hrebeniak Director of Studies & Senior College Lecturer in English, Wolfson College
Ricardo Garcia-Mayoral Lecturer
Charlotte Payne Zoology
Dr Philip Connell Selwyn College and Faculty of English
Justin Pearce Lecturer POLIS / King’s
Michael Lamb Professor of Psychology and Fellow at Sidney Sussex College
Anna Judson Research Fellow, Gonville & Caius College
Dr Hugues Azérad Fellow and College Lecturer, Magdalene/MML Faculty
Emma Mawdsley Geography
Mrs Anna Langley Computer Officer, University Information Services
Alice Reid Churchill College/Department of Geography
Dr Ruth Abbott University Lecturer, Faculty of English and St John’s College
Ananay Aguilar Research Affiliate (Faculty of Music)
Charlotte Lemanski Geography
Tomas McAuley Research Associate (Faculty of Music)
Dr Mia Gray Senior University Lecturer
Julia Guarneri Lecturer, Faculty of History
Nick Hopwood Professor of History of Science and Medicine (HPS)
Isabelle McNeill College Lecturer, Trinity Hall (MML)
Jeremy Caddick Dean, Emmanuel College
Hakan Sandal Centre for Gender Studies
Lena Moore Centre for Gender Studies, Jesus College
Kerry Mackereth Centre for Gender Studies
Jules Allen Gender Studies Centre
Jason Scott-Warren Faculty of English
Simon Szreter Professor of History
Julia Doyle Emmanuel, Centre for Gender Studies
Zoe Svendsen Lecturer in the English Faculty
Dr Iris Moeller Lecturer, Geography
Ian A. McFarland Regius Professor of Divinity
Sebastian Haug Geography
C J B Ford Professor (Physics, Girton)
John H Arnold History
Manali Desai Lecturer, Department of Sociology
Sarah Kennedy Fellow of Downing College / Faculty of English
Dr Lucy van de Wiel Research Associate, Department of Sociology, Newnham College
Alex Campsie History
Jane Heal Emeritus Professor of Philosoophy
Frisbee Sheffield Affiliated Lecturer, Faculty of Classics
Professor Sir Tom Blundell Professor Emeritus Biochemistry
Professor Brad Epps Professor of Spanish, Modern and Medieval Languages; Professorial Fellow, King’s College
Mary Laven Professor of Early Modern History (Jesus College, Faculty of History)
Leo Mellor English, Murray Edwards
Rory O’Bryen Senior Lecturer, Modern and Medieval Languages
Jeremy Butterfield Trinity College
Philip Knox Lecturer, Faculty of English
Samuel James J. H. Plumb College Lecturer in History, Christ’s College
Martin Lucas-Smith Computer Officer, Department of Geography
Monica Moreno Figueroa Senior Lecturer in Sociology, Dept of Sociology and Fellow Downing College
Cecilia Brassett Magdalene College
Josie O’Donoghue Clare College
Anna Barford Department of Geography, Girton College
Kevin Chalut Research Fellow, Cambridge Stem Cell Institute
Paul Warde History
Professor John Danesh Head, Department of Public Health and Primary Care
Paul Dominiak Jesus College, Divinity
Luna Sabastian History
Anne-Laura van Harmelen Senior research associate
Benjamin Allanach Professor DAMTP
Alison Banwell Leverhulme fellow, Geography
Clare Oliver-Williams Department of Public Health and Primary Care
Dr Anthony Pickles Social Anthropology & Wolfson College
Abigail Brundin Reader in Early Modern Literature and Culture, Italian
Duncan Bell Reader, POLIS
Christopher Burlinson Senior College Lecturer (Jesus College)
Agnes J Fauverge Webmaster (The Language Centre)
Dr Alex Liu University Lecturer, Girton College
Dr Brendan Burchell Reader, Department of Sociology & Magdalene College.
Christina Angelopoulos Lecturer in Law
Clive lawson Cto girton
David Trippett Senior University Lecturer, Faculty of Music
David Sedley Fellow, Christ’s College
Adam Boies Reader, Department of Engineering
Alexandra Davidson GPEG, Primary Care Unit
Manfred K. Research Associate
Debora Sijacki Reader
Corina Logan Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow, Department of Zoology
Dr Hassan Adan Research Fellow in Economics
Huw Price Faculty of Philosophy & Trinity College
Ian Roberts Professor of Linguistics
Jochem Kroezen University Lecturer in International Business (Homerton College and Judge Business School)
Rogier Kievit Programme Leader Track at the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit/Fellow at Fitzwilliam college
Penny Watson University Senior Lecturer Veterinary Medicine
Matthew Danish Research Associate
Gilles Degottex Rsearch Fellow
Joshua Nall Curator of Modern Sciences (Whipple Museum / HPS)
Matthew Skipper Computer Officer
Joshua Purcell IT Systems Engineer, MRC Epidemiology Unit
Matthew Dunstan Research Fellow, Clare College
Remco Heesen Research Fellow, Faculty of Philosophy and St. Edmund’s College
Sarah Bull Wellcome Research Fellow (History and Philosophy of Science)
Jonathan Kimmitt Research associate at Computer Laboratory
Justin Meggitt Senior Lecturer in the Study of Religion, Faculty of Divinity
Lynn Foot UIS
Mark de Rond Fellow of Darwin College
Mike Weekes Wellcome Senior Research Fellow
Chris Rider Director, EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Large-Area Electronics
J H Brackenbury Emeritus Fellow , Wolfson College
Paul Humphreys Functional Analyst (Finance Division)
Dr Gavin Alexander Reader (Faculty of English)
Dr Ian Patterson Fellow in English, Queens’ College
Margarita Gleba ERC Principal Research Associate
Duncan Hardy Title A Fellow (Trinity College)
Pam Pointon Lecturer, Faculty of Education
Dr Janet E Tollington Affiliated lecturer, Faculty of Divinity
Dr Markus Kuhn University Senior Lecturer (Department of Computer Science and Technology and Wolfson College)
Luis Nobre Medicine, Darwin College
Jelle van den Ameele Gurdon Institute
Richard Fenner Professor of Engineering Sustainability (Engineering)
Dr David E. Hanke Retired Senior Lecturer, Emeritus Fellow & Director of Studies
Dan Storisteanu Darwin Fellow
Paolo Gallipoli Senior Research Associate – Department of Haematology
Julius Weitzdoerfer Affiliated Lecturer & Research Associate (Faculty of Law / CRASSH-CSER)
Matthew Gandy Professor of Geography and Fellow of King’s College
Gina Arnold Assistant Secretary, Finance & Procurement
Prof. Neil Mercer Director of Oracy Cambridge and Life Fellow of Hughes Hall
Philip Anthony Wigge Group Leader at the Sainsbury Laboratory
Koen Steemers Department of Architecture / Jesus College
Julienne Obadia JRF, King’s College
Yael Navaro Reader in Social Anthropology
Dr J G Meeks Senior Research Associate, Centre of Development Studies
Lauren Kassell Department of History and Philosophy of Science / Pembroke College
Ruth Davis Life Fellow, Corpus Christi College
Dr Drew Milne University Lecturer, Faculty of English
John Hopkins Composer-in-residence at Homerton College
Renaud Gagné Reader in Classics/Fellow of Pembroke
Ben Luisi Dept of Biochemistry
Justin Bishop Academic Collaborator, Engineering
Edmund Tanner Senior Lecturer
Dr Alastair J Reid Life Fellow, Girton College
Christine Slottved Kimbriel Senior Painting Conservator
Stephen Watts Fellow of Homerton College
Nicholas Ray Emeritus Fellow, Jesus College
Marie Louise Stig Sorensen Professor (Dept. of Archaeology, Jesus college)
Stephen Evans Director of Research
Waseem Yaqoob Lecturer in History
Jane McLarty Senior Tutor, Wolfson College
Dr Anne Alexander Research Associate, CRASSH
Lauren Milden Public Health Policy Coordinator, Cambridge Institute of Public Health
Patrick Keiller Visiting Professor, Architecture
David Buscher Reader
DEMOSTHENES TAMBAKIS CTO, Pembroke College & Economics
Julieta Galante Research Associate, Department of Psychiatry
Adam Ledgeway Professor of Italian and Romance Linguistics, Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages
Ronald Haynes University Computer Officer
Allison Kingsbury Facilities Manager, Fitzwilliam Museum
Susanne Hakenbeck Lecturer, Archaeology
Sandra Cortijo PostDoc at SLCU
David Warren Computer officer, Engineering Department
Milica Gasic University Lecturer
Dr Jennifer Richens Post Doc – Gurdon Institute
Monica Gonzalez Computer Officer
Marie-France Moss Computer Officer Philosophy
Dr Henriette Willems Senior Research Associate, ARUK DDI
Katja Jaeger PI
James Barrett Reader in Medieval Archaeology
James Allen Zoology
Darin Weinberg Reader in Sociology
David Hillman King’s College
Tony Street ADR, Divinity
Dr Matthew Sparkes Teaching Associate (Department of Sociology)
Dr. John Young Senior Research Associate, Department of Physics
Daniel Thomas Research Associate
Stephen Ison Computer Officer UIS
Samantha Evans Research Associate, CUL
Clément Mouhot Professor in the Faculty of Mathematics / Fellow at King’s College
Michael Moriarty Drapers Professor of French (Peterhouse/Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages)
Corinna Russell Emmanuel College
Valerie Wood Researcher/ InInstitute of Systems Biology/ Biochemistry
Elsa Strietman Retired Lecturer
William Skylark Senior Lecturer, Department of Psychology
Vincent Mak Reader (Cambridge Judge Business School)
Tristram Riley-Smith Director of Research, POLIS
John Liddicoat Faculty of Law
William Hale Assistant Under-Librarian, University Library
Louise Lafortune Senior research associate, Institute of Public Health
Dr William Seabrooke Affiliated lecturer
Lucy Delap History Faculty
Vince Woodley Computing Officer, Information Services
Kathleen M Wheeler Reader Emeritus, English Faculty and Fellow of Darwin College
P.D. D’Eath Retired University Lecturer, DAMTP, Fellow of Wolfson College
Ross Wilson Lecturer in Criticism, Faculty of English, and Fellow of Trinity College
Vita Peacock Teaching Associate in Social Anthropology at Girton College
Devon Curtis Politics and International Studies, Emmanuel College
Edward Wilson-Lee Fellow, Sidney Sussex College
Priyamvada Gopal English
David Lane Emeritus Reader
Charles Jones Emeritus Reader in International Relations
Ana Mosterín Research Associate, Zoology
Peggy Watson Senior Research Fellow, Homerton College, Department of Sociology
Natasha Tanna College Lecturer
Richard Holton Professor of Philosophy
Daniel Trocmé-Latter College Teaching Officer, Homerton College
Sophie Jackson Professor, Chemistry
Chris Sandbrook Senior Lecturer, Department of Geography
JeremyGreen Lecturer Department of Politics and International Studies, Fellow Jesus College
Emiliano Travieso History, King’s College
Ross Cole Research Fellow, Music
Christopher Brooke University Senior Lecturer in Political Theory, POLIS
Richard E. Turner Department of Engineering
Rachel Oliver Reader in Materials Science
Moira Gardiner Clare Hall, Emeritus Fellow
Sharath Srinivasan king’s
Jonathan Wilson Computer Officer (CIMR)
Edo Dzafic Peterhouse, Department of Genetics
Dr Vanessa Stefanak Director’s Office Manager- Gurdon Institute
George Sirinakis Senior research associate
Amy Erickson University Lecturer
Emma Soneson Research Assistant
Pierpaolo Antonello Reader, Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages
Luigi Andriani Lecturer in Italian Language and Linguistics
Georgina Evana College Lecturer, St John’s College
Andrew Zurcher Queens’ College
Hester Lees-Jeffries University Lecturer, Faculty of English
Ian Willis Senior Lecturer
Eleni Mantzari Research Associate, Behaviour and Health Research Unit, Primary Care Unit, Department of Public Health and Primary Care
Ella McPherson Lecturer in Sociology
Helene Doerflinger Reserach Associate
maja spanu Junior Research Fellow, Politics and International Studies / Homerton College
Hunter Dukes Research Fellow, Peterhouse, English
Dr Sarah Hoare Research Associate, Department of Public Health and Primary Care
Alexander Cassidy History faculty, Emmanuel
Amy Donovan Lecturer (Department of Geography), Fellow (Girton College)
Rachel Holmes Wolfson College / Faculty of English
George Roberts Faculty of History and Trinity College
Gábor Betegh Laurence Professor of Ancient Philosphy
Nora Berend Faculty of History
Nicola Lawrence Imaging Associate
Helen Oliver Doctoral Student, Murray Edwards College
Renaud Morieux senior lecturer, faculty of history
Laura McCormick Kilbride Research Fellow, English Faculty
Ottavio Croze Advanced research fellow (physics)
Dr Mara Polgovsky Ezcurra Queens’ College
Romola Davenport Senior Research Associate (Dept of Geography)
Mairi Kilkenny Senior Research Associate / Teaching Fellow
Cameron Brick Research Associate (Pure Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics)
Sir David King Ex-Master of Downing College
Max Sternberg University Lecturer
Mary Jennings Senior Member, Wolfson College
David Nally Jesus College, Geography
Paulina Sliwa Faculty of Philosophy and Sidney Sussex College
Hugh Hunt Reader in Engineering Dynamics and Vibration
Maurice Chiodo Postdoctoral researcher in mathematics
Dr Rachael Harris Clare/AMES
Marko Hyvonen Department of Biochemistry
Noura Wahby Murray Edwards College
Joe S. Sanders Lecturer, Faculty of Education
Rachel Coleman University Information Services
Teije H. Donker Department of Sociology
Tobias Müller POLIS
Maria Iacovou Reader, Department of Sociology
Jana Bacevic Faculty of Education and Department of Sociology
Melissa Calaresu Lecturer, Gonville and Caius College
Eleanor Blair Computer Officer, Engineering
Poppy Cullen Faculty of History, St Catharine’s College
Torkel Loman Department of Biochemistry and the Sainsbury Laboratory
Martin Kleppmann Research Associate, Computer Laboratory
Colin Edwards Computer Officer, Physics
Louise Haywood Reader, Spanish & Portuguese
Katie Abley Postdoc
Christophe Gagne MML
Laura Davies King’s College
Silke Mentchen MML
Dr Amaleena Damlé Affiliated Lecturer, MML
Ewan St. John Smith Corpus Christi / Pharmacology
Malcolm Guite Chaplain Girton College
Simon Beard Research Associate (Centre for the Study of Existential Risk)
Nick Evans JRF in History (Clare)
Nadia Ayed Research Assistant, Centre for Family Research
Jennifer Marchant Conservator of Antiquities, Fitzwilliam Museum
Claudia Domenici MML, Italian
Arathi Sriprakash Faculty of Education
Luke Hawksbee Sociology Department, King’s College
Gavin Stevenson Department of Sociology, Fitzwilliam College
Mahvish Ahmad Robinson College
Tiago Carvalho HSPS, Wolfson College
Rhiannon Harries Research Fellow, Corpus Christi College
Aoife O’Leary McNeice Faculty of History, Pembroke
Giulia Torino Architecture, King’s College
John David Rhodes University Lecturer in Film, Fellow, Corpus Christi
Robert Pralat Research & Teaching Associate
Janani ambikapathy Jesus college
Asiya Islam Sociology, Christ’s College
Giorgia Busso Senior Research Associate
Adriana Pesci SRA – DAMTP and fellow of King’s Gollege
Ankur Barua Faculty of Divinity
Dr M T J Webber Reader in Palaeography, Faculty of History; Trinity College
Susan Larsen Acting Senior Tutor, Fitzwilliam College
Anthony Coyne Senior Research Associate (Chemistry)
Jane Charlesworth Department of Genetics
Sophie Roborgh Research associate (POLIS, King’s)
Ali Meghji Sociology, Robinson College
Sujit Sivasundaram Reader, History; Gonville and Caius
Benji Easlick-Shoolman Temporary gifts Admin at Girton College
Katherine Grayson Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, Sidney Sussex College
Marina Inì Faculty of History, Girton College
Ayse Polat Faculty of History, St John’s College
Dr Carmen Olmedilla Herrero MML Faculty
Seb Falk Girton College
Sander van der Linden Psychology & Churchill
Dr Rachael Harris SLTO in Arabic (AMES and Clare)
Yvonne Nobis Cambridge University Library
Mario Aguilera – Bravo Visiting Scholar at Lauterpacht Centre for International Law
Mark Carrigan Post Doc, Faculty of Education
Pieter van Houten Senior Lecturer, POLIS; Churchill College
R Khouri Research Associate (DPHPC)
Dr Julie Barrau University Lecturer in British Medieval History / Fellow of Emmanuel College
Edward Cavanagh Research Fellow, Downing College
Farida El Keiy Arabic Language Officer
Haydn Belfield Academic Project Manager, Centre for the Study of Existential Risk
Helen Charman English Faculty / Trinity Hall
Emily Fitzell Department of French, Trinity College, Cambridge
Andrew Marsham AMES
Tiffany Page Department of Sociology
Maria Noriega-Sanchez SLTO in MML Faculty. Fellow in Sidney Sussex
Dr Joanna Bell Lecturer and Fellow in Law, St John’s College
Noémie Merleau-Ponty RA Sociology, Christ College Postdoc affiliate
Prof Nicolette Zeeman English and King’s
Heather Webb MML Selwyn College
Thandeka Cochrane Social Anthropology, Magdalene
Carolina Alves Research Fellow and CTO
Sami Everett Research Associate
Julienne Obadia Junior Research Fellow, King’s College, University of Cambridge
Samuel Carlshamre Lector in Arabic, FAMES
Eileen Nugent Lecturer, Dept Physics
Cohl Furey DAMTP, Trinity Hall
Floriana Misceo Research laboratory technician
Monica Gonzalez University Information Services
Adrian Currie CRASSH, TrinityHall
Stephen John History and Philosophy of Science
Rune Nyrup Research Associate (HPS, Churchill)
Laura Koebis Special Supervisor
Peter Sutoris Faculty of Education, Clare Hall
Maria Harvey History of Art. Clare College.
Ben Allanach Professor of Theoretical Physics, DAMTP
Joris Witstok MASt student (Sidney Sussex College)
Akbir Khan Computer Science Labs, Sidney Sussex
Yael Navaro Reader in Social Anthropology, Fellow of Newnham College
Lemaire Emeric Master in Mathematics, Sidney Sussex College
Michele Mak PhD Deptartment of Engineering – Sidney Sussex College
Timothy J. Schmalz Faculty of History, Sidney Sussex College
Yvonne Zivkovic Junior Research Fellow (MML, Lucy Cavendish College)
Annabel Brett History / Gonville and Caius
Beth Romano Research Associate, DPMMS, Murray Edwards
Richard Staley University Lecturer (Department of History and Philosophy of Science and Gonville & Caius College)
Maria Huete-Ortega Postdoctoral Research Associate at Plant Sciences Department
Andrew Davison Lecturer in the Faculty of Divinity and Fellow of Corpus Christi College
Richard Lupton Research Associate
Anna Alexandrova History and Philosophy of Science, Kings
Katie Gaddini Sociology Dept
Rebecca Flemming Senior Lecturer in Ancient History (Faculty of Classics and Jesus College)
Dr Jenny Bavidge Institute of Continuing Education; Murray Edwards
Kate Peters History, Murray Edwards College
Carleigh Morgan MML Faculty, Trinity College
Neil Arnold Scott Polar Research Institute and St Johns College
Edmund Birch Lecturer in French, Churchill College
Catherine O’Brien Supervisor