Two scientists at the Environmental Change Institute (ECI) at the University of Oxford have been providing expertise to the world’s biggest global environmental award.

Professor Christian Brand, Professor of Transport, Energy & Climate Change and Dr Tara Garnett, leader of TABLE, a collaborative food systems platform, were both invited to serve on the Expert Advisory Panel for the Earthshot Prize for 2024.

The Earthshot Prize aims to discover, spotlight and help grow innovative solutions that are working to repair and regenerate our planet. “As well as identifying evidence-based solutions to the biggest environmental problems the planet faces, The Earthshot Prize aims to turn the current pessimism surrounding environmental issues into optimism that we can rise to the biggest challenges of our time.”

HRH Prince William speaking at Earthshot Prize ceremony

The Prize was founded by Prince William in 2020. Every year this decade, Prince William and a distinguished Prize Council will award £1 million Earthshot Prizes to five winners, one per Earthshot, simple but ambitious and universal goals for 2030 developed in collaboration with leading environmental experts.

The Expert Advisory Panel is a select group of independent individuals across the globe who have subject matter expertise in an aspect of the five Earthshots: Protect and Restore Nature; Clean our Air; Revive our Oceans; Build a Waste-Free World; and Fix our Climate.

Prof Brand was one of eight experts invited to join the Clean our Air advisory panel and Dr Garnett was one of 20 experts on the Fix our Climate advisory panel. The main role of the experts is to review nominations for their impact potential, uniqueness and innovation. 

Prof Brand, who also works at the Transport Studies Unit (TSU) at the University of Oxford, said:

Over a four-week period, I provided in-depth assessment and evaluation of solutions fitting my specialism on transport, energy and climate change as a vital piece of evidence used by The Earthshot Prize’s selection committee to choose the 15 Finalists for this year. There were some exciting and potentially game changing solutions that focused on clean, accessible and equitable transport in low and middle income countries.”

Dr Garnett said:

It was fascinating to get an insight into sheer diversity, and ingenuity, of initiatives out there all offering some kind of a solution to our complex food system problems.”

The award is more than just a prize, in the three years since its launch the Earthshot Prize is emerging as a global platform for discovering innovators, unlocking capital, scaling solutions, and inspiring urgent optimism.

The prize organisers say it’s also a platform for speeding solutions to scale:

Becoming an Earthshot Prize Finalist or Winner is just the beginning of the journey for each new cohort. Through the collective support of our Founding Partners, Global Alliance and wider network, we have been able to expedite the flow of capital towards Earthshot solutions, dismantle structural barriers, and equip our Finalists with the tools and support necessary for rapid scaling.”

Ahead of this year’s awards ceremony, when the winners will be revealed, the Earthshot Prize has published its Impact Report 2024, highlighting the significant progress that has been made just three years into this critical Earthshot Decade.  

Cover of the Earthshot Prize Impact Report 2024

This year’s awards are taking place in November in Cape Down, South Africa, and are the start of five days of landmark events during Earthshot Week 2024, which will spotlight groundbreaking environmental solutions and bring together world-leading innovators, investors and philanthropists to drive forward the restoration and protection of our planet.