SCI's COP26 Youth Panel Event

22 October 2021


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Hope in Science – SCI COP26 Youth Panel Event to Showcase Next Generation’s Science-based Climate Change Solutions


Combating Climate Change with Chemistry
Thursday 4 November, 17.00 – 18.00hrs
Science Show Theatre, Green Zone, Glasgow

Climate change may be ‘code red’ for humanity with no planet left if climate change continues at the current pace but there is hope in science – with the next generation of scientists providing some of the answers. The next generation may be the one most affected by climate change but it is also driving some of the solutions, some of which will be showcased during the Society of Chemical Industry (SCI’s) youth forum event during COP26.

During the ‘Next Gen’ debate on 4 November, ‘Countdown to Planet Zero’, SCI will introduce a panel of young scientists working on climate change solutions to a global audience.

Panellists and hosts for the live debate will include: Dr Brett Parkinson from C-Zero in California, Natasha Boulding CEO and founder of Sphera Limited, and Nikita Patel, PhD student at Queen Mary University of London. Other speakers and supporters include Unilever, Croda, Scott Bader, GSK, Anaphite, Astra Zeneca and Johnson Matthey. The event will focus on three themes:

  • Fuels of the future
  • Turning waste into gold
  • Engineering nature 

Sharon Todd, SCI Chief Executive Officer said:
“We were shocked by the findings of this year’s Bath University global study into the attitudes of young people towards climate change ( This revealed that nearly 60 per cent of respondents felt ‘worried’ or ‘extremely worried’ in their daily lives and that 75 per cent felt the future is ‘frightening’. This should concern us all and, as a global innovation hub, SCI wants to show how the next generation of scientists is actively developing solutions. The public is interested to learn about this – the event is already sold out.

“Our COP26 youth forum debate will profile the work of young scientists and entrepreneurs addressing climate change in their work,” she added. “This next generation of innovators has the power to change our world’s tomorrow. The event’s hosts and panellists are drawn from within SCI’s innovation community, including a previous winner of our own Bright SCIdea entrepreneurs challenge. They will show how without science being applied by industry, we cannot begin to address climate change”.

The panellists will include 28 year old Dr Natasha Boulding, CEO and Co-founder of Durham based Sphera Limited, a speciality materials company in the construction sector focussing on sustainable, low-carbon material alternatives to help in the race to Net-Zero. Products include carbon zero and carbon negative concrete blocks made from aggregate encompassing waste plastic. She has led Sphera to win numerous awards (including SCI’s Bright SCIdea challenge) and places on prestigious business accelerators. In 2020 she was announced as a winner of Innovate UK’s Women in Innovation award, which highlights top female entrepreneurs in the UK. She is passionate about inspiring and mentoring the next generation of innovators.

According to Natasha, “In terms of combating climate change, interdisciplinary collaboration is the key. No one discipline has the answer to solve our biggest challenges – but together diverse minds can. SCI is an interdisciplinary innovation hub and so it is an important vehicle for our business to connect us to other organisations that we can collaborate with.”

Natasha will be joined on the panel by 29 year old Dr Brett Parkinson, Senior Engineer, Low carbon fuels and Energy Technologist at C-Zero in Santa Barbara, California. C-Zero is a hard-tech start up based in Santa Barbara, California, that works on the decarbonization of natural gas. The technology converts natural gas into hydrogen and solid carbon via a high temperature process known as pyrolysis. The hydrogen can be used to produce clean, low-cost energy on demand while the carbon can be permanently sequestered as a solid"

In 2019, Brett was awarded an SCI scholarship for his research.

The other panellists will be Clare Rodseth, Environmental Sustainability Scientist at Unilever, Dominic Smith, a Process Development Engineer at GSK and Jake Coole, Senior Scientist, Fuel Cells team, Johnson Matthey.

The hosts will be AstraZeneca’s Oliver Ring and Nikita Mayur Patel, PhD student at Queen Mary University of London.


Notes to editors:

To register for the event, please visit:

For an interview with Sharon Todd, Natasha Boulding or Brett Parkinson please contact Maxine Boersma on 07771 563373 or 07398 159342 or email her on

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