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envEXPO 2017 helped to shape the agenda for environmental innovation, enterprise and research. Funded by the Natural Environment Research Council, envEXPO was brought to you by EnvEast, in partnership with 4 of the UK's foremost research and training partnerships, between them representing 22 UK universities.

Environmental innovation and enterprise was promoted through the development of collaborative relationships between research users and the research community. The environmental science research agenda was informed by highlighting the environmental challenges facing businesses, industries and policy-makers. A number of contemporary big societal questions were considered in interactive discussion sessions, informed by industry and policy challenges.

This was not a typical science conference but instead focused on what environmental innovation really means, and how researchers and research-users can more effectively work together to drive forward innovation and enterprise. The event considered the significance of technological innovation in helping to solve local and global environmental challenges. We welcomed a range of high-profile keynote speakers, provided opportunities for lively debate and discussions, workshops, exhibitions as well as ample opportunity for networking.


The launch evening of envEXPO 2017 included keynote presentations and ample opportunity for networking, with refreshments provided.

Keynote speakers:

Professor Iain StewartDirector of the Sustainable Earth Institute, University of Plymouth

Communicating Contested Environmental Science – from matters of fact to matters of concern’

Iain is Professor of Geoscience Communication at Plymouth University and Director of its Sustainable Earth Institute. His research interests are in interdisciplinary investigations of geo-hazards and in the communication of ‘contested geoscience’ to the public. As part of his geo-communication he regularly presents Earth science programmes for BBC television, including Earth: The Power of the Planet; How Earth Made Us, How To Grow A Planet, The Rise of the Continents, and Planet Oil. His work popularising geoscience has been recognised with awards from the Royal Geographical Society, the Geological Society of London, the American Geophysical Union, the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, the European Federation of Geologists, and the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and with an MBE in the 2013 Birthday Honours List. Iain is currently President of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society.

Professor Fiona LetticePro-Vice Chancellor Research and Innovation, University of East Anglia

'Innovation, Research and Addressing Global Challenges'

Fiona is Professor in Innovation Management at the University of East Anglia, and a Visiting Research Fellow in the School of Applied Sciences at Cranfield University. Prior to her academic career, Fiona worked in industry as a project manager for Centrica and a change consultant within design and engineering for BMW/Rover. She is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a Fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA). Fiona is also a non-Executive Director (Research and Innovation) for Clever Together and co-organiser for SyncNorwich.

Official Launch of the Norfolk & Suffolk Coastal Network

The Norfolk and Suffolk Coastal Network is a network of coastal management practitioners, representing more than 30 organisations.  The network, founded in partnership with the Marine Knowledge Exchange Network, supports a move towards more anticipatory and adaptive coastal management.   Bill Parker, Chair of the Network and Head of Coastal Management at Coastal Partnership East, will lead this session. 

Click here for the Launch Evening Programme


This, the first full day of the conference, sought to address major current scientific and commercial exploration questions through observations in 'difficult' environments in deep oceans, coastal margins, the atmosphere and below ground. The day included keynote and plenary presentations, as well as parallel sessions introducing and framing our ‘Big Societal Challenges’.  In our parallel sessions we brought to the table some of the issues and technical challenges that are faced within our varied disciplines and come together to consider between us how our collective knowledge might bear solution?  We invited knowledgeable individuals (academic, industrial, policy focused) within each parallel theme to talk about their work; the challenges they face and prospects they see.  We will focus on some of the key emerging environmental and technical issues: 

  • Water and Oceans
  • Ecology, food security and agri-technology
  • Energy and Infrastructure: resilience, resources and risk

The day concluded with the Grand Final of env.infohackit.

Keynote speakers included:

David Askew, Director- Evidence, Natural England

Harriet Jevon, Associate Director - Funding Opportunities & Research Careers, NERC

Terri Freemantle, Senior Earth Observations Specialist - UK Satellite Applications Catapult

Panellists included:

Prof Richard Griffiths, Professor of Biological Conservation, University of Kent

Prof Mark Moore, University of Southampton, National Oceanography Centre, Southampton

Steve Kaye, Head of Innovation, Anglian Water

Natalie Askew, Head of Marine Evidence, Joint Nature Conservation Committee

Andrew Gates, Oil Spill Response Ltd.

Dr John Pinnegar, Climate Change Impacts & Adaptation, Cefas

Rufus Howard, Director of Sustainable Development, Royal Haskoning DHV

Click here for the Grand Challenges in Observing Systems programme

Click here for further details of the Big Societal Challenges and parallel sessions


An interactive evening hosted by the DREAM Doctoral Training Partnership. This session comprised a series of thought pieces and short presentations; demonstrating how big data can be used and manipulated to help solve today’s environmental problems. This session was facilitated by Dr Simon Jude, University of Cranfield.

Click here for the Big Data Evening Programme


The last day of the conference considered the commercial, policy and scientific aspects of sustainability in the water-food-energy nexus. The day included keynote presentations along with parallel sessions considering the ‘Big Societal Challenges’ which were framed the previous day. The day also included an Innovation Panel Session considering what innovation and entrepreneurialism really means for universities. This interactive session comprised a panel of university innovation leaders alongside invited speakers from a range of technology businesses.

Keynote speakers included:

Prof Jörg Wiedenmann, Head of the Coral Reef Laboratory, University of Southampton, National Oceanography Centre

Rufus Howard,  Director of Sustainable Development at Royal Haskoning DHV, Chair of the IEMA Impact Assessment Steering Group

Phil Cryle, Eftec, Economics for the Environment Consultancy Ltd

Panellists included:

Iain Dunnett, Green Economy Pathfinder, New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership

Rufus Howard, Director of Sustainable Development at Royal Haskoning DHV

Dr Vittoria Danino, Head of Anglian Water Centre for Water Studies

Bethany Stoker, Head of Marine Evidence, Joint Nature Conservation Committee

Alice Midmer, LEAF

Michelle Bentham, Head of Innovation, British Geological Survey

Click here for the Valuing Nature and Natural Resources Programme 

Click here for further details of the Big Societal Challenges and parallel sessions


Click here to view the social media record

Click here to view the image gallery


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Next Generation Unmanned Systems Science