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New honour

Net Zero prize awaits climate change pioneer

Faisal Ghani and SolarisKit

Faisal Ghani with his flat-pack water heater

In response to a growing trend in the sustainability and climate change space, Converge, Scotland’s largest company creation programme for the Higher Education sector, is launching the Converge Net Zero Award.

Last year alone, a quarter of all Converge programme participants were climate conscious entrepreneurs.

This new award, which includes a £10,000 cash prize, will shine a light on this important and growing opportunity in the year that Scotland prepares to welcome the world to COP26, the UN Climate Change Conference.

Climate change is the defining crisis of our time with Scotland’s universities playing a key role in the race to accelerate Scotland’s transition to a low carbon economy.

Academic entrepreneurs, in particular, have the necessary skills, ambition and ethos to turn this global challenge into an opportunity to reinvent our future.

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They include Faisal Ghani, winner of the 2019 Impact Challenge and creator of SolarisKit, a flat-packable, low-cost solar thermal collector that converts sunlight directly into hot water.

Faisal’s innovation has huge commercial potential, particularly in the developing world, with the promise of lifting millions of people out of energy poverty while at the same time making a large dent in carbon emissions. 

By 2025, SolarisKit aims to have installed over 90,000 collectors, annually saving more than 27 million kilograms of carbon emissions.


The winner of the Converge Net Zero Award will be selected from participants from this year’s Converge, Impact and Creative Challenge cohorts. 

Projects from all sectors will be eligible but construction & the built environment; transport; agriculture and energy are of particular relevance, given the impact they have on Climate.

Claudia Cavalluzzo, director of Converge, said: “I foresee even more climate conscious entrepreneurs stepping up to help shape our low carbon future.

Claudia Cavalluzzo

Claudia Cavalluzzo: creating a more resilient world (pic: Terry Murden)

“By launching the Converge Net Zero Award we hope to galvanise academic entrepreneurs across Scotland to develop scalable new technologies and nature-based solutions that will enable us to create a cleaner, greener, more resilient world.”

The winner of the 2021 Converge Net Zero Award will be announced at the final of the annual Converge Awards which takes place on 30 September, a few weeks before the UN climate talks at COP26 take place in Glasgow in November.

Submissions to the 2021 Converge, launched last month, remain open until 30 March.

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