Frank Jackson Foundation supports Gresham College Professor of the Environment

Carolyn Roberts appointed to only the second new Professorship in 400 years

The Frank Jackson Foundation is delighted to announce the appointment of Carolyn Roberts as the Frank Jackson Foundation Professor of the Environment at Gresham College. With Foundation support, this is a new Professorship for Gresham, only the second new position created at the College in over 400 years.

Professor Carolyn Roberts
In addition to her position at Gresham College, Professor Carolyn Roberts is Senior Scientist at the UK Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN), which links business and universities in order to promote research and innovation in environmental technologies.

Prior to taking up her role at KTN in March 2014, Professor Roberts was Director of the Environmental Sustainability Knowledge Transfer Network (ESKTN) based at the University of Oxford. Before that she was a Head of Department and Co-Director of the Centre for Active Learning (CeAL) at the University of Gloucestershire.

Professor Roberts is a water resource management specialist. Her main interests lie in the minimising of direct environmental impacts of development activity on the water environment, for example in mining, waste disposal or construction. She has a long history of engagement in hydrological consultancy work for public and private agencies, but most of all she enjoys introducing people to applied hydrological problems such as human impacts on the water environment.

Amongst many distinguished academic papers, Roberts has authored, joint authored and edited four books with broadly pedagogic themes. She has given lectures around the world on water management and sustainability-related projects undertaken in the UK, Europe, Africa and Bangladesh, and increasingly on the issues and challenges of science communication. She is National Chair of the Society for the Environment and Vice President of the Institution of Environmental Sciences.

 The Appointment

Professor Roberts becomes the first Frank Jackson Professor of the Environment at Gresham College. The College was established in 1597 with seven Professorships which were then felt to be sufficient to offer a full and rounded education (Astronomy, Divinity, Geometry, Law, Music, Physic and Rhetoric). Commerce was added in 1985. The College and the Foundation are delighted to work in partnership with to sponsor a new Professorship in an area of utmost importance both locally and globally today.

Professor Roberts has been appointed due to her expertise in her field, her excellence as a speaker and communicator, and the significance of the subject that she is to discuss. In this role she aims to deliver “an inspiring and challenging environmental lecture programme that will pull together audiences from different sectors, engage people, and stimulate genuine debate”. She will deliver annual series of six free public lectures. Her first year of lectures will be on Green Complexity: Science, Innovation and Society.

Free Public Lecture Series

 Professor Roberts’ series of six public lectures are on Green Complexity: Science, Innovation and Society:

Environmental problems are incredibly difficult, because their solution lies in the combination of both complex environmental science but also tortuous political and social vision. This series of lectures offers a route to better understanding these problems through a increased knowledge of multidisciplinary environmental science, innovation and collaboration. The role of business, industry, academia and government in the solution (and the problem) will be unravelled so that we are better placed to play a part in solutions to problems that will affect us all.

The hour-long free public lectures will take place between 6pm and 7pm on Thursdays at Barnard’s Inn Hall, Holborn:

Greenness and UK Environmental Challenges (16 October 2014)

Greenness in Business and the City (4 December 2014)

Educationally ‘Green’: Environmental Research, University Teaching and Campus Greening (15 January 2015)

Professionally ‘Green’: Environmental Challenges and UK Professional Bodies (12 February 2015)

Locally ‘Green’: Does it make a Difference? (2 April 2015)

A Green and Pleasant Land? (7 May 2015)

All of the lectures are free and open to all. The lectures last for one hour. They will all be recorded and released online for free, where they will remain in perpetuity in the Gresham College archive of over 1,600 lectures and events available in video, audio and written formats.


Frank Jackson Foundation

The Frank Jackson Foundation is a grant making trust established by the late businessman and philanthropist, Mr Frank Jackson M.B.E. The principal objectives of the Foundation are to benefit, through education, the disadvantaged and to support world-class research in institutions of higher learning.

Gresham College

Gresham College was founded in 1597 through the Will of Sir Thomas Gresham, financial adviser to Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, and founder of the Royal Exchange. Gresham College was the first higher education institution in London, and it was created with the guiding principle of providing free education for all.

Gresham College has seen the Royal Society formed within the College, and past luminaries include Sir Christopher Wren and Robert Hooke. Recent Professors and speakers at the College include the President of the Supreme Court, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Speaker of the House of Commons.

The College fills lecture halls for its four or so free public lectures every week. All Gresham lectures are made available on the internet after the event, where they join the online archive of over 1,600 lectures.



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