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NIHR appoints new Head of Sustainability

Dr Sophia Lentzos

Published: 15 December 2022

Dr Sophia Lentzos has joined the NIHR as its first ever Head of Sustainability.

Dr Lentzos has a lifelong passion for environmental causes and sustainability, starting her career in environmental conservation. She then trained as a medical doctor at Nottingham University and started Anaesthesia training in Wessex. Here she continued her passion for sustainability, working as part of the Green Guardian network for the Trust. She also founded the Wessex Green Anaesthesia Network (WES-GAN).

In 2021-2022 she became one the first cohort of Chief Sustainability Officer’s Clinical Fellows in Greener NHS. She continued work on sustainable medicines and helped form a national working group for sustainable anaesthesia.

At the NIHR she will build a team tasked with reducing the carbon emissions produced by the NIHR itself. She will also help to influence the NIHR’s wider research network to do the same. This will be accompanied by an increase in NIHR funding of carbon reduction and sustainability research, following on from this year’s sustainability themed call.

Dr Sophia Lentzos said: "It is a real privilege to join the NIHR, and I welcome the opportunity to work with colleagues across the health research sector to establish practices that we hope in time will define sustainable research.

"I am passionate about creating an equitable and sustainable health and care system, and the diversity within NIHR, and the breadth of research it provides across the health and social care landscape, means there is a really exciting opportunity to make a huge difference here."

Professor Lucy Chappell, CEO of the NIHR, said: "We are already feeling the effects of climate change, and science will be key to understanding how we mitigate its impact and adapt to the changes that have already happened. This will require us to change the way we interact with the environment. NIHR is funding research in the UK and globally to understand how to best deliver low carbon, sustainable and resilient health and care systems.

"As researchers, we must lead by example, and ensure that our own practices are sustainable in and of themselves.

"So I’m very pleased to welcome Sophia to the NIHR. Her experience and passion are exactly what we need as we all continue to work in ever more sustainable ways."

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