EPSRC funds PARIS-DE project to ensure ICT is Paris-compliant by design

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Sustainable Digital Economy

The Universities of Lancaster, Oxford and Sussex, with Kings College London, are delighted to announce that their collaborative project PARIS-DE (Design Principles and Responsible Innovation for a Sustainable Digital Economy) is one of ten projects funded as part of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)'s Sustainable Digital Society call. Led by Professor Gordon Blair at Lancaster, the project focuses on the carbon emissions of Information Communication Technology (ICT), with the goal of ensuring alignment with Paris climate targets that seek to limit temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius. 

The project will create a virtual 'design lab' with digital tools that will be available for others to use in assessing carbon and social impacts. It will focus on three key challenges:

  1. Constructing a comprehensive methodology that can provide an evidence base for the carbon emissions of ICT, taking into account the multiple, often competing narratives around carbon emissions;
  2. Embedding responsible innovation into the fabric of our sustainability framework;
  3. Developing design principles and approaches for our vision of compliance-by-design, building on the rich heritage of socio-technical design and extending it to embed sustainability and consideration of planetary boundaries.

Professor Blair commented, "We are all aware of the increasingly urgent need to address carbon footprints and improve sustainability in order to keep planetary warming to manageable levels. The digital economy must take responsibility for its contribution to this. We also plan to track and mitigate our own project's carbon footprint, which as far as we are aware will be the first time this has been done."

The project includes Dr Kelly Widdicks and Dr Bran Knowles, also of Lancaster University, Dr Federica Lucivero and Professor Marina Jirotka at the University of Oxford, Dr Gabrielle Samuel at Kings College London, Professor Steve Sorrell of the University of Sussex and Mike Berners-Lee (Small World Consulting). The project is proud to be working with a range of partners across industry and civil society, including the BBC, BT, Horizon, IBM and Star.