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We celebrate the people building a thriving zero carbon future in 2019

In a year defined by political uncertainty and amid a newly declared climate emergency, we celebrate the people committed to building a thriving zero carbon future and take a look back at some of the highlights of the last year here at ECCI.

We continued to set a diverse bunch of new climate start-ups on the road to success with our dedicated start-up support programmes - welcoming 10 new recruits on our EIT Climate-KIC Accelerator programme through stages 1 and 2. Innovations range from a waste-reducing reusable menstrual pad, to a unique solar thermal collector capable of converting solar radiation directly into heat and Scotland’s first seagrass restoration company focused on revitalising Scotland’s rapidly reducing natural carbon sink.

Participants got off to a flying start, winning big in the Scottish EDGE start-up competitions and raking in awards throughout the year from Converge to the MSDUK Innovation Challenge. Solariskit embarked on trade missions to Kenya and San Fransisco and two low carbon technology start-ups were awarded Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise fellowships. ECCI also hosted the Scotland leg of ClimateLaunchpad - the world's biggest green ideas competition - for the third year running, putting ten budding start-ups through their paces and coaching Scotland hopefuls Go Green Experts, Reshape Technology and Loch Electronics all the way to the final.

We launched a raft of new groundbreaking projects working across sectors, regions and countries. From the Place-based Climate Action Network (PCAN), which helps the UK meet its climate targets by catalysing city-focused cross-sector action and increasing the flow of green finance, to helping Edinburgh City Council deliver on its bold climate targets, and the 'Deep Demonstration' project aiming to turn Scotland's landscapes from carbon sources to sinks.

For ClimateXChange, the Scottish Government's centre for expertise on climate change - with the secretariat based at ECCI, 2019 has been the busiest year to date with over 40 research projects delivered or underway, and four new post-doctoral fellowships awarded.  Working closely with teams across the Scottish Government CXC delivered projects that span behaviour change, bioenergy, low carbon transport, climate resilience and land management. This year has also seen CXC host several high profile events, including a joint event with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC),  conferences for the Scottish Government on topics as diverse as decarbonising heat and wetlands, and supporting a Scottish peatland event at COP25 in Madrid.

ECCI also continues to manage the Sustainable Scotland Network (SSN) - Scotland’s largest network of public sector sustainability professionals - secretariat. The ECCI-based team delivered a national event on ‘Net Zero Ready’, worked with the SSN Steering Group to respond to the Global Climate Emergency and Scotland’s Net Zero emissions target, and supported Scotland’s public bodies to complete their annual climate change reports. 2020 will see the team work with the SSN Steering Group and our many partners and supporters to chart a positive future for the SSN as Scotland gears up for COP26 in Glasgow towards the end of the year.

Our innovation team welcomed new team members including Head of Innovation Skills Jamie Brogan and Innovation Manager Clare Wharmby and our award-winning low carbon hub continued to attract a huge range of people, organisations and enterprises with Tomorrow’s Cities - a new £20m 5-year interdisciplinary research hub aimed at addressing urban disaster risk in low and medium income countries and Wave Energy Scotland - the Scottish Government-funded initiative, created to accelerate the development of marine energy technology moving into our Innovation Suite, among others.

Throughout 2019, more than 1,000 people a month came to a diverse range of events and activities in our Edinburgh hub. Highlights from a jam-packed year included hosting colleagues, staff, students and citizens for a day of action during Climate Strike, bringing together some of the UK's bravest thinkers to unleash their most challenging sustainability ideas during Edinburgh's annual science festival and challenging experts, start-ups and citizens to find ways to grow a Scottish food system that doesn't cost the planet at our Farm to Fork event.

2019 was a big year for ECCI’s work overseas with Director Ed Craig continuing to make tracks with The China-UK Low Carbon College, a joint initiative of the Universities of Edinburgh and Shanghai Jiao Tong, winning the Innovation in Education category at this year's China-Scotland Business Awards and attending COP25 with University of Edinburgh colleagues to launch the zero-carbon vision for the Galapagos Islands.

ECCI Director Ed Craig said: "2020 is going to be an exciting year for ECCI with Scotland preparing more intensively for our transition to a zero carbon economy and coming under the global spotlight by hosting COP26 in Glasgow in November 2020."

"ECCI will, as always, play a key role both locally and increasingly globally to deal effectively with the causes and impacts of the Climate Crisis."

"We wish you all a very sustainable festive period!"

Keep up with all the action in 2019