Glasgow City Climate Neutral Innovation District collaboration awarded Uncommon Collaboration grant from Dalberg Catalyst

A University of Strathclyde-led collaboration to deliver a 100% renewable climate neutral and resilient Innovation District in Glasgow city centre has been awarded an Uncommon Collaboration grant worth more than £80,000 from Dalberg Catalyst, which is supported by The Rockefeller Foundation as part of its Connected Leaders Platform.

The Uncommon Collaborations award to the partnership of the University and Glasgow City Council as part of Sustainable Glasgow, and a 15-strong city and region external stakeholder steering group, also includes six months of ‘in-kind’ support from Dalberg Catalyst.

The fund supports collaborations between experts advancing projects that seek creative solutions to complex global challenges.

The Glasgow project aims to integrate heat, power, transport, climate adaptation and wellbeing solutions that will benefit everyone in the area of the Glasgow City Innovation District, which is based in the east of the city centre, around the Merchant City and High Street.

The vision is to deliver 100% renewable heat from the River Clyde and combine clean power, transport, climate resilience, health and well-being for people, communities and businesses in the entrepreneurial investment city zone.

The work supports the Glasgow Climate Plan and aligns with other existing city plans and climate and social justice policies, and uses an innovative, 'whole systems' approach to build the links between mitigation, adaptation, biodiversity and social and climate justice.

The initial feasibility work was led and funded by the University in partnership with Glasgow City Council, SALIX Finance and with a technical team of Atkins, COMSOF, STAR, Minibems, Smarter Grid Solutions, Ikigai and Energy Systems Catapult all involved. The project won in the Collaboration in Net Zero category of the CeeD Industry Awards and the Partnerships for Progress category of the International Sustainable Campus Network Excellence Awards.

Dr Roddy Yarr, Executive Lead Sustainability at Strathclyde, said: “The project is a catalyst for change and will directly enable a 93% emissions reduction, affordable heat for the community and enable more resilience to energy, climate and health and well-being stresses.

“We are delighted to receive this grant, which will be used to model the impact of water abstraction and recharge for a heat pump in the River Clyde as well as a series of related technical and engagement analyses and activities. These will ultimately inform an investment-grade proposal for the infrastructure needed and begin delivery.

“The work will signal how stakeholders with collective ambition and vision in a dense urban environment can take action to benefit from affordable heat, power and digital infrastructure combined with climate resilience and nature-based solutions to create a truly sustainable place.”

The vision will inform similar approaches across the city and beyond and the pioneering work will bring an investment of £500m in low carbon and green infrastructure, skilled jobs. The project is also included in the city and region’s £30bn Greenprint Investment prospectus.

Aaron Mihaly, Program Manager, Uncommon Collaborations Initiative at Dalberg Catalyst, said: “We are excited to support the Glasgow City Innovation District’s work given the urgency and importance of tackling the climate crisis through catalytic collaboration and systems-level approaches.

“While the potential for Glasgow itself is impressive, we also look forward to generating knowledge on how other cities can learn from and emulate Glasgow's example.”