News and Announcements / News and Announcements

The Rockefeller Foundation Funds Initiative to Create 100% Renewable-Powered Climate Neutral District in Glasgow

 The Foundation was one of the first funders in collaboration with University of Strathclyde and Dalberg Catalyst which will serve as a climate-neutral transition model for cities around the world

GLASGOW | August 11, 2022 – A University of Strathclyde-led collaboration to deliver a 100% renewable climate neutral and resilient Innovation District in Glasgow, Scotland has been awarded a grant worth more than £80,000 from Dalberg Catalyst, which is supported by The Rockefeller Foundation as part of its Connected Leaders Platform.

The Uncommon Collaborations’ award to the partnership of the University and Glasgow City Council as part of Sustainable Glasgow, and a 15-strong city and region external stakeholder steering group, also includes six months of ‘in-kind’ support from Dalberg Catalyst. The fund supports collaborations between experts advancing projects that seek creative solutions to complex global challenges.

The Glasgow project aims to integrate 100% renewable heat from the River Clyde and combine power, transport, climate adaptation, and wellbeing solutions that will benefit everyone in the area of the Glasgow City Innovation District, which is based in the east of the city centre, around the Merchant City and High Street.

“Deploying innovative technologies and collaborating across sectors are crucial to scaling solutions that address the climate crisis,” said Zia Khan, Senior Vice President, Innovation, The Rockefeller Foundation. “We hope this new initiative will identify approaches that help Glasgow and cities around the world transition to renewable energy and build climate-neutral infrastructure.”

The work supports the Glasgow Climate Plan and aligns with other existing city plans and climate and social justice policies, it and uses an innovative ‘whole systems’ approach to build the links between mitigation, adaptation, biodiversity, and social and climate justice.

“The project is a catalyst for change and will directly enable a 93% emissions reduction, affordable heat for the community and enable more resilience to energy, climate and health and well-being stresses,” said Dr Roddy Yarr, Executive Lead Sustainability at Strathclyde. We are delighted to receive this grant, which will be used to model the impact of water abstraction and recharge for a heat pump in the River Clyde, as well as for a series of related technical and engagement analyses and activities. These will ultimately inform an investment-grade proposal for the infrastructure needed and begin delivering it. The work will signal how stakeholders with collective ambition and vision in a dense urban environment can take action to benefit from affordable heat, power, digital infrastructure combined with climate resilience, and nature-based solutions to create a truly sustainable ‘place’.”

The initial feasibility work was led and funded by the University in partnership with Glasgow City Council, SALIX Finance, and with a technical team of Atkins, COMSOF, STAR, Minibems, Smarter Grid Solutions, Ikigai, and Energy Systems Catapult all involved. The project won in the Collaboration in Net Zero category of the CeeD Industry Awards and the Partnerships for Progress category of the International Sustainable Campus Network Excellence Awards.

“We are excited to support the Glasgow City Innovation District’s work given the urgency and importance of tackling the climate crisis through catalytic collaboration and systems-level approaches,” said Aaron Mihaly, Program Manager of the Uncommon Collaborations Initiative at Dalberg Catalyst. “While the potential for Glasgow itself is impressive, we also look forward to generating knowledge on how other cities can learn from and emulate Glasgow’s example.”

The vision will inform similar approaches across the city and beyond and the pioneering work will bring an investment of £500m in low carbon and green infrastructure, skilled jobs. The project is also included in the city and region’s £30bn Greenprint Investment prospectus.

 About Dalberg Catalyst
Dalberg Catalyst is a 501(c)(3) organization that generates and brings to life multi-stakeholder initiatives to address today’s most critical social and environmental challenges. As pro-active problem-solvers, our goal is to take on urgent problems that have massive implications for our collective future, and to anticipate and get ahead of emerging problems that are taking shape. We collaborate with leading partners and funders from across the private, public, and social sectors, while leveraging the deep knowledge, experience, and skills of the Dalberg Group. Visit:

About The Rockefeller Foundation
The Rockefeller Foundation is a pioneering philanthropy built on collaborative partnerships at the frontiers of science, technology, and innovation to enable individuals, families, and communities to flourish. We work to promote the well-being of humanity and make opportunity universal.  Our focus is on scaling renewable energy for all, stimulating economic mobility, and ensuring equitable access to healthy and nutritious food.  For more information, sign up for our newsletter at and follow us on Twitter @RockefellerFdn.

About the University of Strathclyde
Established more than 200 years ago ‘for the good of mankind’, the University of Strathclyde is renowned for excellent teaching, research and strong links with industry and business. Our roots can be traced back to 1796, when Professor John Anderson’s legacy established a ‘place of useful learning’. This tradition remains at the heart of our ethos today as a leading international technological university. We are situated in the heart of Glasgow – one of the UK’s largest cities – and we have a vibrant, international community including more than 20,000 students and 3,000 staff from 100 nations. Strathclyde is dedicated to ‘useful learning’ and is recognised internationally for its close working relationship with global businesses, and its partnerships with industry, government and policy makers. Our world-class researchers work with industry to develop solutions to global challenges in areas including health, energy, manufacturing and the development of future cities.


Media Contacts

Ashley Chang
Head of Media Relations at the Rockefeller Foundation
+1 212 852 0000

Stuart Forsyth
Corporate Communications Manager at University of Strathclyde
+44 (0) 7976 660 433