New recruits help climate-proof University of Leeds

Two new climate change resilience officers – Juliet de Little and Julie Mair – have joined the iCASP team to undertake a crucial task for the University of Leeds. Their role for the next six months is to conduct a Climate Change Risk Assessment and Resilience Review to identify the climate risks posed to the university’s core activities and understand its current resilience. This review will help to identify measures that could be used to improve the university’s ability to adapt to climate change. 

Juliet and Julie will be working across the university, engaging predominantly with estates, facilities, sustainability, and operational teams to understand how climate change could impact the operation of the university. This work could inform future adaptations to the campus to climate-proof our university. Recommendations and outcomes from the work will be communicated with the wider university community of staff and students. 

Only a handful of universities across the country have already undertaken similar work which means that sharing lessons with others could be useful as climate change risk and resilience assessments are developed at other universities and organisations. 

This work is based within iCASP and Juliet and Julie will be working closely with and reporting into the Climate Resilience Net Zero working group and Sustainability Service at the University of Leeds. 

Previously, Julie worked as a contract manager in private sector utility organisations, focusing on water market reform and carbon mitigation through insulation and heating. Juliet studied civil engineering, including flood risk modelling, at the University of Sheffield. Her PhD research was based in Urban Studies, investigating climate adaptation in England, specifically flooding, from a climate justice perspective. 

Juliet said: “The recent report by the Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy highlights how ‘poor adaptation to climate change is a major threat to the UK’s national security and prosperity’. The findings demonstrate how important climate adaptation is. Having spent much of my PhD research studying theory, the development of the Climate Change Risk assessment and Resilience Review offers a great opportunity to put it into practice”. 

Julie added: “This is such an exciting project to work on. It’s such a tangible application of climate adaptation. We have just had our first steering group meeting with heads of services and the response from everyone has been overwhelmingly positive. There is real enthusiasm for our work, people are raring to go and just want to get on and do it. Ultimately it should help the university to invest wisely and create a campus that is fit for the future.” 

Meet Julie Mair
Juliet de Little