EPFL professor named to United Nations SDG group

Karen Scrivener  Stefan Wermuth CC BY SA
Karen Scrivener Stefan Wermuth CC BY SA
Karen Scrivener has been selected by the United Nations Secretary-General for the Group of Ten High-level Representatives of Civil Society, Private Sector and Scientific Community to Promote Science, Technology and Innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals (10-Member Group).

The 10-Member Group forms part of the Technology Facilitation Mechanism (TFM), which is designed to harness multi-stakeholder collaboration for achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). Karen Scrivener, head of the Construction Materials Laboratory in EPFL’s School of Engineering, will serve in her personal capacity as part of this Group from 2024 to 2025.

According to a United Nations on February 1, the 10-Member-Group’s mandate is to work closely with the UN Inter-agency Task Team on Science, Technology and Innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals, providing guidance and recommendations on science, technology, and innovation issues and their impacts on sustainable development.

"The 10-Member-Group comprises eminent experts from diverse geographic and disciplinary backgrounds from both developing and developed countries. Each member, recognized for their international excellence in science or technology, brings a wealth of experience and insight from civil society, the private sector, and the scientific community, underscoring the inclusive and comprehensive approach the UN is taking towards sustainable development."

Ambitious goals and concrete results

With more than 40 years of experience, Karen Scrivener is a world-leading scholar and researcher in the field of cementitious materials and sustainable development. Her work on developing innovative, environmentally friendly building materials has not only contributed to the reduction of carbon emissions in the construction industry, but has also improved the quality and longevity of structures worldwide.

She was made a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering UK in 2014 and has been a UN Council of Engineers for the Energy Transition (CEET) member since 2022. She also leads the LC3 project, which pioneers a breakthrough cement technology that saves up to 40% more CO2 in its production compared to Ordinary Portland Cement. This has the potential to save more than 500 million tons of CO2 a year on a global scale.

In both her research and teaching, Scrivener prioritizes the challenge of how to meet growing demands for decent housing and infrastructure in developing countries, without negatively impacting climate change and other environmental goals. In her 22 years as an EPFL professor, she has maintained an exceptional track record and enthusiasm for inspiring the next generation of researchers. She has graduated more than 50 PhD students, and her passion for mentorship is reflected in the young professionals she has guided towards careers that advance the construction sector and sustainable development goals.