The Walker Institute are bringing a robot avatar to theUN Climate Change Conference (COP22), held in Marrakech, Morocco from November 7th - 18th.
This partnership is recognised by the UNFCCC and is the first time this type of virtual participation has been attempted.
The robot avatar will attend a number of sessions throughout the conference, allowing doctoral students to experience the event they would not normally have first-hand access to.
The students will use a specially-designed virtual reality headset in the UK to watch, listen and interact with COP22 via the avatar.
"Scientists have been providing the facts about climate change for decades. This year, the Walker Institute will be connecting researchers with policymakers in Morocco in a completely new way - with the use of a robot avatar." said Professor Ros Cornforth, Director of the Walker Institute.
"We will be trialing a new system to allow people who can't physically get to Marrakesh to take control of COPbot, a remote-controlled robot, to interact with COP proceedings from afar.
"This is a great example of the kind of work the Walker Institute is doing to find new collaborative solutions to sustainable, climate-resilient development."
When it is not attending side events, the avatar will be located at the Walker Institute and the Observatoire du Sahara et du Sahel (OSS) exhibition stand, where the students will be able to meet visitors and talk to them about their research.
Also at the stand, the Walker Institute and OSS will present their activities supporting climate resilient development in South Asia and Africa.
This includes works relating to climate impacts and Climate Change adaptation, disaster management, natural resources management and environmental monitoring.
The students are from the NERC-funded SCENARIO doctoral training centre at the University of Reading, and the project itself is being funded by NERC.