University of Canterbury has allocated $1.5 million for new scholarships that will help PhD students to tackle sustainability issues

The scholarships are for 14 emerging researchers to pursue projects in areas as diverse as health, early childhood education, indigenous youth leadership, food security, green design, gender, ecosystems, peace and justice, community, carbon capture in oceans, equity and transport.

Recipients will be supervised by some of the country’s leading climate change experts including Professor Bronwyn Hayward, an author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and Professor Simon Kingham, Chief Science Advisor to the Ministry of Transport.

“We are preparing our students to help solve the challenges of a future world that is likely to be warmer and more uncertain. These scholarships strengthen that commitment and will progress important research across areas of environmental, social and economic sustainability,” says Professor Jan Evans-Freeman, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Sustainability at UC.

The initiative was inspired by the 17 United Nation’s Sustainable Developments goals which are a call to action for all countries to work together to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

“Universities have an important role to play and UC recently signed up, with 1000 other institutions globally, to the Race to Zero, which is a UN-backed campaign that aims to halve global emissions by 2030,” Professor Evans-Freeman says. “We all have to do our bit.”

Each scholarship provides $28,000 for living allowances plus tuition fees of $7,200 to $8700 depending on the discipline. The total value is around $36,000 per year, for three years, or a total of $108,000 per scholarship.

The SDG PhD scholarships are one of the ways UC is delivering on its Strategic Vision commitment to become more environmentally sustainable. Alongside research that contributes to solutions, UC plans to become carbon net neutral by 2030 and this year reported the world number one ranking for SDG 12 – Responsible Consumption and Production in 2021.

The 17 SDGs were agreed by 193 UN member countries in 2015 as a roadmap to achieve peace and prosperity for all people and the planet, over the course of the subsequent fifteen years. The SDGs form the heart of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

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