Climate needs action part 2: webinar on Decarbonising smart cities – pathways towards net zero port and airport cities

Cities have received attention from researchers, planners and policy makers for the contributions they make to climate change, which poses a serious global threat. The shift towards net-zero greenhouse gas emission pathways is accelerating, as smart cities take on the leadership roles in optimising the green transition. Novel approaches towards carbon neutral cities require innovative actions toward low carbon transport networks, integrated mobility, multimodal hubs and inter-connection points. Examples of this approach are airport cities and port cities, where combining sustainability and smart mobility has great potential to immediately contribute to start driving the transition towards GHG-neutral aviation and waterborne transport, while adding knowledge to the decarbonisation process in cities and regions. The entire pathway relies on innovations, as they are critical to a low-carbon future; they are making our cities more liveable, lowering the impact on climate and improving local air quality with a direct benefit to health and wellbeing.

9 March 2021, Tuesday

9:00 – 15h UK time / 11 – 17h East Europe, via Cisco Webex Platform

Event Aims and Outcomes

The webinar will present several examples of successful low carbon innovations linked to integrated mobility in smart cities and associated connectivity to airports and ports from the UK, Romania and Bulgaria. Large stakeholder representation is expected, involving policy makers, local authorities, researchers, academia, businesses, SMEs, local communities, NGOs, etc, all working towards the ambitious agenda on decarbonising smart cities and mobility. Focus will be given to local based solutions on renewable energy sources to decarbonise cities and mobility.

The event will bring together experts from the three countries to discuss the challenges they face in transforming cities into productive, safe and low emission places to live. The intention is to have a lively debate informed by UK leadership in the move to smarter and greener cities designed to improve the quality of life of residents through enhancing the efficiency of transport, energy provision and healthcare through innovations. It will also showcase innovations and opportunities in East Europe.

This is part of a series of events, the aim of which is to develop a network of experts in the Eastern Balkans region to work with UK partners in jointly identifying and implementing the most efficient solutions to climate change adaptation and mitigation. One outcome is to identify the best case-studies from Romania and Bulgaria which may turn into a joint side event at COP26 in Glasgow, including partners from the UK.

The event will be in English and no translation will be provided.

Climate needs action part 2: webinar on Decarbonising smart cities – pathways towards net zero port and airport cities

9 March 2021, Tuesday


Carbon neutral smart cities
Airport cities
Port cities


Download full agenda

11:20 Eastern Europe
09:20 UK

Welcome and opening

Session 1: Towards carbon neutral smart cities

Moderator Malcolm Harbour, CBE

Connected Places Catapult

11:30 Eastern Europe
09:30 UK

Pathways to net zero urban mobility: challenges and opportunities

UK keynote talk

Prof Peter Jones, University College London

11:45 Eastern Europe
09:45 UK

Cluj-Napoca pathway towards decarbonising mobility

RO case study

Prof Bogdan Varga, Technical University of Cluj Napoca

12:00 Eastern Europe
10:00 UK

Sustainable mobility for all

BG case study

Elitsa Panayotova, Sofia Municipality

13:00 Eastern Europe
11:00 UK

Panel discussion with contributions from the audience

Session 2: Towards carbon neutral port cities

Moderator Dr. Neil Ebenezer

Climate Compatible Growth Programme, Loughborough University

13:40 Eastern Europe
11:40 UK

Decarbonisation of Freight through Collaboration Transport Planning: Liverpool-Humber Optimisation of Freight Transport

UK keynote talk

Prof Amar Ramudhin, Hull University

13:55 Eastern Europe
11:55 UK

The Project Delivery Group model in decarbonisation of inland waterway and city transport in driving regional green agenda. The hydrogen project in Ruse

BG case study

Maria Tzankova, Association of Danube River Municipalities “Danube”

14:10 Eastern Europe
12:10 UK

Towards Green Ports: Tulcea case-study

RO case study

Prof. Florin Nemtanu, Politehnica University Bucharest
Valentin Moldoveanu, Flag Delta Dunarii

15:10 Eastern Europe
13:10 UK

Panel discussion with contributions from the audience

Session 3: Towards carbon neutral airport cities

Moderator Julian Popov

European Climate Foundation

15:30 Eastern Europe
13:30 UK

The future of aviation fuel

UK keynote talk

Simon Blakey, University of Birmingham

15:45 Eastern Europe
13:45 UK

Iasi city airport towards decarbonisation

RO case study

Elena Farca
Claudia Vesel, Iasi Municipality

16:00 Eastern Europe
14:00 UK

Carbon accreditation – Manchester Airport Group

UK case study

Chris Paling, Manchester Metropolitan University

17:00 Eastern Europe
15:00 UK

Panel discussion with contributions from the audience

17:15 Eastern Europe
15:15 UK

Event conclusions and follow-up

Eastern Europe



United Kingdom

Alexander Burrows, FCILT FIET

Director, Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education
Managing Director, Rail Alliance School of Engineering, University of Birmingham

United Kingdom

Amar Ramudhin

Director, Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education
Hull University
Assen Assenov, PhD


Asen Asenov, PhD

Head of the Department of Transport, Transport Faculty
University of Ruse


Dan Doru Micu

Full Professor
Technical University of Cluj-Napoca

United Kingdom

David Leipziger

Innovation Lead, Cities & Mobility
Innovation UK

United Kingdom

Delia Dimitriu, PhD

Associate Director, Connected Places Catapult
UK Research Fellow, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK

United Kingdom

Dr Neil Ebenezer

Climate Compatible Growth Programme (CCG)
Loughborough University


Dragoş Mihael Ciuparu, Prof.

Secretary of State for research, Romanian Ministry of Research, Innovation and Digitalisation
Petroleum – Gas University of Ploieşti

United Kingdom

Ehsan Alborzi, Dr

Aviation Fuel and Lubricant Research Fellow
The University of Sheffield


Elena Farca

Head of International Cooperation Office
Iasi Municipality


Emilia Pecheva, Dr

Science and innovation officer for Bulgaria and Romania
British Embassy Sofia

United Kingdom

Fabio Galatioto

Senior Transport and Environmental specialist
Connected Places Catapult, UK


Julian Popov

Independent expert
Energy and climate diplomacy, energy policies, low-carbon economy

United Kingdom

Karla Jakeman

Innovation Lead – Connected Transport, Manufacturing, Materials & Mobility sector
Innovate UK

United Kingdom

Liana Cipcigan, Prof.

School of Engineering, Cardiff University, Leader Sustainable Transport research theme, Director Electric Vehicle Centre of Excellence, Leader Decarbonising Transport through Electrification (DTE) Network+


Lucia Cristea

Managing Director
European Integrated Projects


Maria Tzankova

Executive Director
Association of Danube River Municipalities

United Kingdom

Nick Jones

Transport SME, Director and Principal Consultant

United Kingdom

Peter Jones

Professor of Transport and Sustainable Development, Dept of Civil, Environ & Geomatic Eng
Faculty of Engineering Science, University College London

United Kingdom

Richard Walker

UK Department for Transport; Visiting Research Fellow
Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds, UK 2020-21

United Kingdom

Sam Markey

Director of Strategy and Communications
Connected Places Catapult

United Kingdom

Simon Blakey

University of Birmingham, Department of Mechanical Engineering

United Kingdom

Tom White

Director of Modelling & Appraisal (Interim)
Connected Places Catapult

United Kingdom

Ulysses Sengupta, Prof.

Head of the Complexity, Planning and Urbanism (CPU) Laboratory
Manchester School of Architecture, Manchester Metropolitan University


Valentin Muresan

Personal advisor of Timisoara Mayor on digitalization and smart city


Violeta Mihalache

Urban mobility expert, Director Urban Survey
Coordinator of National Network CIVINET Romania

United Kingdom

Zaili Yang, Prof.

Offshore and Marine Research Institute, Liverpool John Moores University


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British Embassy Sofia Coat of Arms
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