Foundation research

The Rockefeller Foundation is funding an initiative to create a climate-neutral neighborhood powered by 100% renewable energy in Glasgow

The Foundation was one of the first funders in collaboration with the University of Strathclyde and Dalberg Catalyst, which will serve as a model of climate-neutral transition for cities around the world.

GLASGOW | August 11, 2022 – A University of Strathclyde-led collaboration to deliver a 100% renewable and climate-neutral and resilient innovation district in Glasgow, Scotland, has received a grant worth over £80,000 from Dalberg Catalyst, which is supported by the Rockefeller Foundation through its Connected Leaders Platform project.

The Uncommon Collaborations award, given to the partnership between the university and Glasgow City Council on Sustainable Glasgow, and a steering group of 15 external city and regional stakeholders, also includes six months of support “in nature” 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 100% renewable heat from the River Clyde and combine electricity, transport, climate adaptation and well-being solutions that will benefit everyone in the Glasgow city region . Innovation Districtwhich is based east of the city centre, around Merchant City and High Street.

“The deployment of innovative technologies and collaboration across sectors are key to scaling solutions that address the climate crisis,” said Zia Khan, Senior Vice President, Innovation, Rockefeller Foundation. “We hope this new initiative will identify approaches that will help Glasgow and cities around the world switch to renewable energy and build climate-neutral infrastructure.”

The work supports Glasgow’s climate plan and aligns with other existing city plans and climate and social justice policies, and uses an innovative ‘whole systems’ approach to make links between mitigation, adaptation, biodiversity and social and climate justice.

“The project is a catalyst for change and will directly enable a 93% reduction in emissions, affordable heat for the community and enable greater resilience to energy, climate and health and well-being stresses,” said Dr Roddy Yarr, Executive Head of Sustainability at Strathclyde. We are delighted to receive this grant, which will be used to model the impact of water abstraction and heat pump recharge in the River Clyde, as well as a range of analysis and technical and related commitments. These will ultimately inform an investment-grade proposal for the necessary infrastructure and begin delivering it. The work will show how stakeholders with collective ambition and vision in a dense urban environment can take action to benefit from affordable heat, electricity and digital infrastructure combined with climate resilience and solutions. based on nature to create a truly sustainable ‘place’. »

The initial feasibility work was led and funded by the University in partnership with Glasgow City Council, SALIX Finance and with a technical team from Atkins, COMSOF, STAR, Minibems, Smarter Grid Solutions, Ikigai and Energy Systems Catapult all involved. The project won 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.

“We are delighted to support the work of the Glasgow City Innovation District given the urgency and importance of tackling the climate crisis through catalytic collaboration and systems-level approaches,” said Aaron Mihaly, program manager of the Uncommon Collaborations initiative at Dalberg Catalyst. “While Glasgow’s potential itself is impressive, we are also keen to generate knowledge on how other cities can learn from and emulate Glasgow’s example.”

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

About the Dalberg Catalyst
Dalberg Catalyst is a 501(c)(3) organization that generates and brings to life multi-stakeholder initiatives to address today’s most critical social and environmental challenges. As proactive problem solvers, our goal is to tackle pressing issues that have massive implications for our collective future, and to anticipate and preempt emerging issues that are taking shape. We collaborate with leading partners and funders from the private, public and social sectors, while leveraging the Dalberg Group’s deep knowledge, experience and skills. Visit:

About the Rockefeller Foundation
The Rockefeller Foundation is a pioneering philanthropy founded on collaborative partnerships at the frontiers of science, technology and innovation to enable individuals, families and communities to flourish. We work to promote the well-being of humanity and make opportunity universal. Our goal is to develop renewable energies for all, to stimulate economic mobility and to ensure equitable access to healthy and nutritious food. For more information, sign up for our newsletter at and follow us on Twitter @RockefellerFdn.

About the University of Strathclyde
Founded over 200 years ago “for the good of mankind”, the University of Strathclyde is renowned for its excellent teaching, research and strong links to industry and business. Our roots date back to 1796, when the legacy of Professor John Anderson established a ‘useful place of learning’. This tradition remains central to our philosophy today as a leading international technology university. We are located in the heart of Glasgow – one of the UK’s largest cities – and we have a vibrant international community comprising over 20,000 students and 3,000 staff from 100 nations. Strathclyde is dedicated to ‘meaningful learning’ and is internationally recognized for its close working relationships with global companies and partnerships with industry, government and policy makers. Our world-class researchers work with industry to develop solutions to global challenges in areas such as health, energy, manufacturing and the development of cities of the future.

Media Contacts

Ashley Chang
Media Relations Manager at the Rockefeller Foundation
+1 212 852 0000
[email protected]

Stuart Forsyth
Head of Corporate Communications at the University of Strathclyde
+44 (0) 7976 660 433
[email protected]