A warm welcome to the 13 new Earth Fellows who started their climate journey with the Edinburgh Earth Initiative family this October.

Group of 13 new Edinburgh Earth Initiative Fellows

What is the Earth Fellows programme?

One of the ways the Edinburgh Earth Initiative delivers our mission is through our Earth Fellows programme. The programme provides paid opportunities for undergraduate, postgraduate, and PhD students at the University of Edinburgh to work on projects of strategic importance related to climate, environment, and sustainability.

We support teams and researchers at the University of Edinburgh to develop projects for Earth Fellows which contribute to their areas of research and contribute to wider institutional aims. Line managed by EEI, these partner projects are supported by the researchers with clear aims and outcomes.

The winter semester cohort

Our Earth Fellows always come from diverse backgrounds but share a passion and the skills to help tackle the most urgent climate issues around energy, health and ecosystems.

The cohort we have just welcomed into the team come from over ten different countries, represent all three of the University’s colleges, and notably, ten are women! This year, we are working with five Postgraduate Earth Fellows and eight Advanced Earth Fellows, most of which are PhD students jointly supported by academics across all three colleges.

In the coming months, they will all be very busy. Each Earth Fellow will be conducting project- and desk-based research, coordinating and delivering activities and starting conversations to engage with the Earth Initiative’s growing community of students, academics and researchers across the University, as well as with our global partner institutions and organisations, all to meet the goal of taking institutional action for climate change.

Here’s a sneak peek of the exciting projects led by our Advanced Earth Fellows with support from Postgraduate Earth Fellows.

1. Earth Data Hub
Our vision for the Earth Data Hub is of an online public resource that provides the University of Edinburgh earth observation data on global greenhouse gas emissions. The Earth Fellows will work to build interactive maps and data visualisations which will provide clear, usable information for a wide range of audiences, including students, researchers, and press.

Based in the University of Edinburgh’s Usher Institute, UNCOVER is a network of population health researchers and information specialists committed to responding quickly to requests from policymakers for evidence reviews. This requires summarising the available evidence and what is known about the impacts, outcomes and delivery of similar projects. Earth Fellows will work to develop a new pipeline of evidence-based reviews linking climate and health.

3. Energy, Climate Change and Audio-Visual Media
In this project, the Earth Fellows will work to connect colleagues from across the University who have common research interests in energy and climate change, skills and interests across different disciplines, geographical areas and languages, and expertise in audio-visual modes and formats.

4. FossilFuel.Ed
FossilFuel.Ed is a student-focused programme of research and engagement that aims to re-examine the University of Edinburgh’s historical relationship with fossil fuels. Over the summer, previous Earth Fellows worked on an essay and timeline based on an extensive data archival exercise. Now, the Earth Fellows are creating a series of dissertation briefs for students and information slides to support academics who want to do research within the FossilFuel.Ed umbrella.

5. Research Insights
Working with key partners, Earth Fellows are working to establish a deeper understanding of the University of Edinburgh’s current research and enterprise activity and are helping to map case studies pertaining to climate, environment and sustainability.

6. Highland Rewilding
In this project, the supporting Fellows are evaluating the availability of earth observation methods and technologies to quantify and model the carbon stocks of the Beldorney estate in the context of generating verifiable carbon offsets. This will also contribute to the University’s wider satellite data/offset proposition, relevant research proposals, and global partnerships.

7. Medical Waste
Whilst medical and life sciences research and innovation have direct social, economic and cultural benefits, they also have ecological burdens and environmental impacts through energy use and the production of waste. This team of Earth Fellows will be working to strengthen the institutional basis for research on environmental sustainability in medical practice, and researching regulations, manufacturing and the history of regulations.

The climate crisis is NOW, and we must ACT today. Let’s roll up our sleeves and get down to work!

We will unveil news and findings from these projects as the Earth Fellows make progress on climate change – so watch this space.

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