Using data and collaboration to change the climate narrative

Centre for Net Zero
Jun 15 · 3 min read

Hi! I’m Ryan and I recently joined Centre for Net Zero as a Data Scientist.

I’ve always had an interest in using data, modelling and analytics to help make sense of the world around us. During my undergraduate and master’s degrees, I thought a lot about how we can apply statistical and optimisation principles to model, and gain insight on, complex systems. Along the way, I worked for small businesses and startups looking to apply the cutting edge of deep learning to change the way an industry operates.

Inspired by the power of technology to alter the status-quo, I joined Digital Catapult, collaborating with businesses of all sizes to catalyse innovation and facilitate the adoption of advanced digital technologies into industry. This gave me great cross-sectional insight into policy and technology, and I soon became aware of the power of technical innovation and collaboration to solve complex challenges and create value across a range of industries.

This realisation, combined with my passion for sustainability, encouraged me to move into the energy sector. Climate change is one of the biggest existential threats we face today and will remain so in the years to come as we look to mitigate and eventually reverse our impact on the planet. I joined the world’s largest commercial electric vehicle project, Optimise Prime, which aims to understand how fleets can best transition to electric whilst minimising the strain on the grid. Here, I led the data science efforts to build tools and models to enable this transition.

As a data scientist, you won’t be surprised to hear of my belief in the power of data and modelling approaches to help us navigate the sea of complexity to focus on relevant, timely and actionable decisions. However, I’m aware that the climate challenge is not just a technical one. It requires a truly multidisciplinary approach that brings together people of all backgrounds and experiences towards a common goal: net zero.

The Centre’s open and collaborative mindset particularly appealed to me. This approach will encourage the industry and policy makers to make informed decisions about the best routes to decarbonisation, prioritising impact and scale. The ability to work on important problems with forward-thinking partners and communicate these findings in an open and transparent way is a huge motivator for me and something I am really looking forward to. I hope that the data we use, the models we develop and the tools we create provide a platform for conversation and action.

I’m also hopeful that we can drive forward a more optimistic climate narrative. So many brilliant innovations that can help us achieve net zero already exist — but we need to focus on modelling and prioritising them. There’s a lot of ‘doom and gloom’ out there which can naturally switch some people off. With the right action, there’s a huge amount to be excited about. I hope we can play our part in spreading a positive, hopeful message that draws more people into the conversation.

We are entering a phase where real action is needed to combat climate change. Fortunately, this coincides with a rise in data collection and a wealth of opportunities to model scenarios and use proven methodologies to decide actionable ways forward. Clearly, we cannot tackle this challenge alone. I look forward to collaborating with our partners at CNZ and the wider community to understand the best routes forward to reaching our net zero target.

Centre for Net Zero

Building the world’s largest ‘living lab’ for energy research

Centre for Net Zero

An open research lab that uses data-driven modelling and simulation to provide the critical insights that policy makers need to take bold climate action.

Centre for Net Zero

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Open Research Lab, realising faster, fairer and more affordable paths to Net Zero. Powered by Octopus Energy

Centre for Net Zero

An open research lab that uses data-driven modelling and simulation to provide the critical insights that policy makers need to take bold climate action.