Future Talks

As we are moving our activities online, we are incurring new costs. Your donation helps support our new channels.



Our YouTube Channel has recordings of past talks.

Please register via Zoom. Information about using Zoom will be supplied with your booking. You will need to install the Zoom app to your computer, tablet or Smartphone. You only need to book one place for each computer, so if you are sharing a screen with someone in your house, you only need one. 

We will open the Zoom meeting shortly after 7pm to give people ample time to get connected, settled in and chat. Please arrive by 7.25pm

Register here

 A recording will be available after the event on our YouTube channel. If you prefer, you can watch live on YouTube, but with less participation


Mon 5th July 7.30pm “Looking to nature for solutions: recycling of plastics with enzymes” – Prof John McGeehan

John is a Professor of Structural Biology focused on the global challenge of plastic pollution and leads a team of scientists researching natural enzyme discovery and engineering. Their work revealed the detailed workings of an enzyme that can digest polyethylene terephthalate (PET), and more recently, demonstrated that engineering these enzymes can increase the speed of breakdown. Found in single-use drinks bottles, packaging, clothing and carpets, PET can take centuries to decompose, and together with other plastics, is accumulating in our environment at a staggering rate. A biological catalyst that can break PET down into its original building blocks opens new opportunities for recycling towards a circular plastics economy.
Their work on PET-digesting enzymes has been widely covered in the media following two key papers in 2018 and 2020 in the journal PNAS, and the project received the Times Higher Education STEM Research Project of the Year in 2019. The group is rapidly expanding due to a £6 million grant from Research England which has allowed the recruitment of 15 additional researchers for the new Centre for Enzyme Innovation (www.port.ac.uk/cei). The focus of the group remains the engineering of biological catalysis for the breakdown of a wide range of natural and synthetic polymers. The group recently joined the BOTTLE (www.BOTTLE.org) consortium which offers new opportunities for true interdisciplinary research across the diverse areas required to tackle the global plastic pollution crisis.

John graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1993, with a BSc (Hons) degree in Microbiology, before going on to complete a PhD in Virology at the MRC Virology Unit, Glasgow. His research career continued at the University of York, before joining the University of Portsmouth in 2000, working on DNA-binding proteins. In 2005, he completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship with the EMBL-Grenoble, France, researching crystallography at the large European synchrotron. In 2007, he re-joined the University of Portsmouth as an RCUK Fellow, was appointed to Reader in 2012 and Professor in 2016. He founded the Centre for Enzyme Innovation in 2019 as Director.

Monday 2nd August 7.30pm TBC

Monday 6th September 7.30pm “Slowdown” – Prof Danny Dorling

Danny Dorling talking about the pandemic as well as some of the ideas in his book: “SLOWDOWN: The end of the Great Acceleration – and Why It’s Good for the Planet, the Economy, and Our Lives”.

Do you think human population growth is out of control? Maybe it isn’t!

 Are you often told that the pace of technological change is speeding ever faster and faster? But is it?

 Are we becoming ever more productive worldwide with economic growth each decade always out stripping the past? No?

 So, what is speeding up and when was the great acceleration?

 Come hear a few ideas, ask questions, argue, tell where I am wrong and on what we might agree    

Danny Dorling is a professor in the School of Geography and the Environment at the University of Oxford. He was previously a professor for a decade at the University of Sheffield, and before then a professor at the University of Leeds. In early 2021 the paperback edition of his book with Yale University Press on: “Slowdown: The End of the Great Acceleration—and Why It’s Good for the Planet, the Economy, and Our Lives was published. Later in 2021, jointly with Annika Koljonen, he is publishing an updated paperback edition of: Finntopia: what we can learn from the world’s happiest country with Agenda publishing and Columbia University Press. He is a patron of the road crash charity RoadPeace, and in his spare time he makes sandcastles.