Future Leaders Network

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The UK Future Leaders Network and helping shape it

The overarching objective of the Future Leaders Network (FLN) is to help build long-term UK GGR capacity and capability in an inclusive manner that will cultivate synergies between groups that would not ordinarily interact.

The design of the FLN is open. It will be for participants at the sandpit to help shape its design to best meet the needs of future FLN members.

The Network’s strategic focus will be inclusive of all GGR techniques and the entire innovation chain, from proof-of-concept work through development, social-appraisal and scaling up to deployment and measurement, reporting and verification (MRV). It will be interdisciplinary in nature and inclusive of  stakeholder types from policymakers to people working on fundamental science.

Up to £90k is available to help fund the FLN until October 2025. The intention is that the Network becomes a self-sustaining body helping drive forward GGR innovation beyond the lifetime of the Hub. An additional £40k is also available to support workshops and skills development aimed at promoting learning and exchange opportunities for the broader community of GGR interested and affected parties. These activities will also be open to early career practitioners, and they are expected to be synchronous with and mutually reinforcing of the FLN. Following the sandpit, the FLN will be launched in Spring 2023.

Participation in the Sandpit will be open to anyone within 10 years of starting their first research/innovation position and who is working on or interested in GGR from business, academia, NGO, practitioner, or policy circles. Other, more established experts who have experience of running networks with similar objectives, and who have an interest in GGR will also be eligible to participate.

The event will be interactive, with intensive group working and informal ‘peer review’ of ideas as they evolve during the day.

During the Sandpit, participants will be asked to help identify:

·         the most urgent issues and needs for the FLN to address;

·         the best structure and types of approaches to deliver the identified needs;

·         the essential components of a FLN programme, especially for year one;

·         topics and agenda for the wider set of workshops and skills developments; and,

·         how the FLN and other workshops and skills developments can best operate to secure maximum benefit.

Some examples of the types of activity which might be supported, if appropriate include:

·         bi-annual Network meetings or conferences;

·         an online community with regular events/meetings;

·         seminar series;

·         intensive training courses;

·         summer schools;

·         bursary funding to facilitate participation;

·         a GGR e-mentoring service;

·         an intermediary brokerage facility; and,

·         any other activities as necessary or useful.


How to join the sandpit

Attention will be given to equality of opportunity and diversity of representation in the selection of participants.

If you wish to participate in the sandpit, please email the Hub Flex Fund Manager, Dr Paul Rouse at P.Rouse@Imperial.ac.uk


About the GGR Demonstrators Programme and the Hub

As part of the Government’s Strategic Priorities Fund, UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) has invested over £30 million to investigate the viability of large-scale GGR techniques in its GGR Demonstrators Programme. Five interdisciplinary demonstrator projects and a central Hub, which is led by the University of Oxford, have been established to conduct the research over a 4.5-year timeframe to inform and help shape government and others’ decision-making about the most effective technologies to help the UK tackle climate change and reduce CO2 emissions.

The demonstrator projects are investigating:

·         management of peatlands;

·         enhanced rock weathering;

·         use of biochar;

·         large-scale tree planting, or afforestation; and,

·         rapid scale-up of perennial bioenergy crops.

The CO2 Removal Hub (or CO2RE Hub) co-ordinates the Programme and conducts solutions-led research to evaluate a balanced portfolio of economically, socially and environmentally scalable GGR options, with associated policy design, engagement and outreach.

The Hub seeks to enable the UK to lead internationally on achieving global net-zero emissions, consistent with the Paris Agreement. Backed by seven institutions and led by the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at the University of Oxford.

As part of its programme of work, the Hub has a Flexible Fund, and it is this fund that will organise and fund the FLN.


What is Greenhouse Gas Removal (GGR)?

GGR is the removal of greenhouse gases that have already been emitted into the atmosphere, and then storing them away securely and for the very long-term. GGR reduces the total stock of atmospheric greenhouse gases, reducing their concentrations in the atmosphere. Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) is the same as GGR, accept that it only relates to CO2 whereas GGR relates to all types of greenhouse gases (e.g., methane, nitrous oxide and CO2).

GGR methods vary in terms of their maturity, removal process, time scale of sequestration, storage medium, mitigation potential, cost, co-benefits, impacts and risks, and governance requirements (for more information see IPCC, 2022, Section C.11.1).

GGR processes are commonly categorised as biological, geochemical or chemical. Afforestation, reforestation, improved forest management, agroforestry and soil carbon sequestration are currently the only widely practiced GGR methods. Techniques that store carbon in vegetation and through soil carbon management are expected to securely store removed carbon for decadal to century timescales. Whereas methods that store greenhouse gas in the oceans or geologic formations may securely sequester the gas for 10,000 years or more.

GGR should not be confused with carbon capture and storage (CCS). In brief, capture and storage stops the volume of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere growing. It entails capturing emissions at source (such as at a fossil fuel power plant or in a livestock shelter) and then storing them securely, for the very long-term. This practice is considered part of cutting emissions, by avoiding new emissions. The difference between GGR and CCS could be seen as akin to cleaning up pollution (GGR), as opposed to not making more of a mess in the first place (CCS). 


Why do we need GGR?

The IPCC’s 2022 Working Group Three report states that ‘The deployment of carbon dioxide removal to counterbalance hard-to-abate residual emissions is unavoidable if net zero CO2 or GHG emissions are to be achieved’ (IPCC, 2022, p40). The IPCC indicates that, if warming is to be limited to 1.5°C, up to 1,000 billion tonnes (Gigatons, or 1,000 Gt) of CO2 (or equivalent) must be removed from the atmosphere within the next 80 years (IPCC, 2018, IPCC, 2021). Progress toward this target has been slow and, even if all the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement were implemented, the Earth is still expected to warm by 2.8°C by the end of the century (UNEP, 2022).

A Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering review of GGR (RS/RA, 2018) found that the UK will need to remove 130 MtCO2e [1]per annum by 2050 to meet its net-zero and Paris Agreement obligations. Whilst, in 2020, the UK Committee on Climate Change’s Sixth Carbon Budget (CCC, 2020) estimated up to 112 MtCO2e per annum will need to be removed by 2050.

The UK’s Net Zero Strategy (HM Government, 2021, p180) notes that by 2050 between 75 and 81 MtCO2 per year of residual emissions will need to be removed using engineered techniques. This is the equivalent of between 45 and 80% of the total emissions that will require capturing across the UK by 2050 (HM Government, 2021).



CCC, 2020 The Sixth Carbon Budget. The UK’s path to net Zero. The Committee on Climate Change, December 2020 https://www.theccc.org.uk/publication/sixth-carbon-budget/

HM GOVERNMENT, 2021 Net Zero Strategy: Build Back Better. 19 October 2021 ISBN 978-1-5286-2938-6, HH Associates ltd, on behalf of HMSO. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1026655/net-zero-strategy.pdf

IPCC, 2018. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Global Warming of 1.5°C. An IPCC Special Report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty [MASSON-DELMOTTE, V., P. ZHAI, H.-O. PÖRTNER, D. ROBERTS, J. SKEA, P.R. SHUKLA, A. PIRANI, W. MOUFOUMAOKIA, C. PÉAN, R. PIDCOCK, S. CONNORS, J.B.R. MATTHEWS, Y. CHEN, X. ZHOU, M.I. GOMIS, E. LONNOY, T. MAYCOCK, M. TIGNOR, AND T. WATERFIELD (eds.)]. https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/

IPCC, 2021: Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change[Masson-Delmotte, V., P. Zhai, A. Pirani, S.L. Connors, C. Péan, S. Berger, N. Caud, Y. Chen, L. Goldfarb, M.I. Gomis, M. Huang, K. Leitzell, E. Lonnoy, J.B.R. Matthews, T.K. Maycock, T. Waterfield, O. Yelekçi, R. Yu, and B. Zhou (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA, In press, doi:10.1017/9781009157896.

IPCC, 2022: Summary for Policymakers. In: Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change. Contribution of Working Group III to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [P.R. Shukla, J. Skea, R. Slade, A. Al Khourdajie, R. van Diemen, D. McCollum, M. Pathak, S. Some, P. Vyas, R. Fradera, M. Belkacemi, A. Hasija, G. Lisboa, S. Luz, J. Malley, (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK and New York, NY, USA. doi: 10.1017/9781009157926.001

RS/RA, 2018. Greenhouse Gas Removal, The Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering https://royalsociety.org/greenhouse-gas-removal raeng.org.uk/greenhousegasremoval

UNEP, 2022. Emissions Gap Report 2022: The Closing Window – Climate crisis calls for rapid transformation of societies The United Nations Environment programme  https://www.unep.org/resources/emissions-gap-report-2022

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What is Greenhouse Gas Removal?

Our FAQ page answers questions around Greenhouse Gas Removal, including why we need it, what the different types of GGR are and how they can be pursued.

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GGR projects

Discover the five Demonstrator projects that are part of the GGR-D Programme: biochar, enhanced rock weathering, peatland, perennial biomass crops and woodland creation and management.

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Browse the latest publications from members of the CO2RE team, including articles in leading journals, policy briefings and reports on a range of aspects relating to GGR.


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