Press release

Dundee to welcome disruptive thinkers in battle to save the planet

Published on 24 January 2024

The University of Dundee will welcome the “thinkers and change-makers of the future” as part of a new, multi-million pound initiative.

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The University has been awarded £2.15 million that, with institutional match-funding, will support 24 postgraduate researchers to achieve their PhDs. Each candidate will have four or five years to develop new and innovative ways to address the many challenges, termed the ‘poly-crisis’, facing the modern world. The funding has been awarded by the Leverhulme Trust as part of its Doctoral Scholarship Programme, with Dundee one of just eleven universities supported by the charity.

Titled Leverhulme Doctoral Programme for Regenerative Innovation (Regnr8-i), the Dundee programme will encourage selected postgraduate researchers from all academic and social backgrounds to imagine, design and deliver thriving regenerative futuresmaking our daily lives more sustainable and harmonious with nature. Those selected will be based within the University’s UNESCO Centre for Water Law, Policy & Science, and have the unique opportunity of working with the Eden Project to maximise their learning. 

Professor John Rowan, Director of Dundee’s UNESCO Water Centre, will lead the Regnr8-i programme. He said, “We are a triple intensity institution, meaning that we utilise research, education, and engagement to deliver social purpose.

“Sustainability and fairness are central pillars of this and in an increasingly globalised world we need new, imaginative approaches to protect our planet. Much of the current thinking around sustainability is based around a ‘do-no-further-harm’ thought process, but what we hope to do is look beyond a climate neutral approach and see how society can become climate-positive in our day-to-day lives.

“This funding will allow us to support a new generation of disruptive thinkers, who will develop and embrace new and exciting ideas to challenge our approach to the climate crisis. Approaches can be scientific, holistic, or nature-based. Nothing will be off limits.

“If we wish to preserve our planet for generations to come then we need to encourage the thinkers and change makers of the future. This funding from the Leverhulme Trust will allow Dundee to be a leader in that mission.”

Regnr8-i is just the latest Dundee project aimed at protecting and preserving our planet. Last year, the University announced plans to establish the Binks Institute for Sustainability, which will attend to the critical need for contemporary societies to confront the climate crisis and to facilitate ways of living in environmentally sustainable ways.

The University is also a founding partner in Eden Project Dundee, a landmark development for the city, transforming the former gasworks on East Dock Street into a beacon for regeneration and green tourism. As part of Regnr8-i, scholars will have the opportunity to undertake collaborative placements through the Eden Project’s national and international network, encouraging knowledge exchange between Dundee and the world.


Jonathan Watson

Senior Press Officer

+44 (0)1382 381489