Head and shoulders shot of Professor Matthew Davies

Professor Matthew Davies, lead of Applied Photochemistry and Circular Economy at SPECIFIC Innovation and Knowledge Centre, Swansea University, has been granted a UNESCO Chair in Sustainable Energy Technologies.

The role of the Chair will be to advance the development of low-cost, efficient, and sustainable printable photovoltaics (PV) or solar cells.

In collaboration with colleagues at Swansea and fifteen partners across Africa and the Global South, Professor Davies will advance solar technologies suitable for manufacture and use in these regions.

The project will integrate circular economy principles and advance the use of indigenous and sustainable materials to ensure appropriate material usage, shorten supply chains, and ensure the re-use, remanufacture, and recycling of PVs. This will help prevent developed technologies from contributing to the global e-waste problem at the end of their useful life, retaining components in economically and environmentally useful material flows.

Professor Davies is an Honorary Professor at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) and President of its Environment, Sustainability and Energy Community Council, an inter-connected community advancing knowledge, policy and application of chemistry relating to the environment, sustainability and energy.

Professor Davies said:

“I am truly delighted and honoured to take on the role of UNESCO Chair. For many years, UNESCO’s mission of creating a culture of peace, eradicating poverty, promoting sustainable development, and fostering intercultural dialogue has deeply resonated with me. These values have been reflected in my work with the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa and the GCRF SUNRISE project in India.

“UNESCO’s commitment to international cooperation provides an exceptional platform for us to amplify our impact and drive meaningful change on a global scale.”

James Bridge, Chief Executive and Secretary General, United Kingdom National Commission for UNESCO, said:

“We are delighted that the UNESCO Chair in Energy Technologies for a Sustainable World at Swansea University, led by Professor Matthew Davies, has been formally established.

“The UNESCO Chairs Programme is a vital part of UNESCO’s global work. UNESCO Chairs advance research, training and programme development across the organisation’s work in education, science, culture, communication and information.

“The development of truly sustainable energy technologies will deliver sustainable, inclusive, and equitable economic growth, creating greater opportunities for all and reducing inequities. The establishment of this UNESCO Chair will greatly support UNESCO’s programmes in this sphere, especially for Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and the Global South. 

“More widely, with the formal establishment of this new UNESCO Chair, the UK now boasts a network of over 30 universities and higher education establishments that provide internationally renowned expert advice on UNESCO global policies and programmes.”

Professor Helen Griffiths, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Swansea University, added:

“On behalf of the University, I would like to congratulate Professor Matthew Davies on becoming a UNESCO Chair. It is a great honour for him and for the University and demonstrates our commitment to working with UNESCO to address global challenges and make a positive contribution to helping to achieve the objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals. As a University, we have a global outlook and are delighted at this opportunity to strengthen our global partnerships and increase our impact in the field of sustainable energy technologies.”

Find out more about the Chair.

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