Brendan Burchell

Reader/Researcher - Cambridge, UK
Cambridge, UK
Brendan Burchell

I do enjoy travel, particularly when one can spend time really getting to know a place and its people.  But all too often in the past I’ve flown a long way to a conference to only spend a couple of days there, not had time to get to see the venue, and typically the other conference delegates are too busy writing their current or next paper to enjoy hanging out.  I’m now trying to reduce my air travel to the minimum, and only going somewhere when I’ve got a really strong reason to be there.  I find that I can work very well with colleagues in other countries by teleconferencing, without having to fly to see each other.

Now that I’ve got a grandson I’m much more focussed on what sort of planet my generation is going to pass on to his generation.  I’m quite environmentally aware in most of my other habits (e.g. cycling and taking trains) but flying has been my biggest CO2 impact by a long way.  I see now, more than ever before, that I want to minimise the damage I do to the atmosphere.

I’m an academic working on labour markets and their contribution to human well-being.  My main current projects look at the possible impact of new technologies (big data, artificial intelligence, robotics) on employment. Employment is good for mental health, but small doses are just as good as “full time” work.  In my research I promote reduced employment and less frenetic leisure time for increased well-being and to reduce CO2 emissions.