The University carries out research linked to a wide range of sustainability concerns, with the emphasis on social, professional and scientific engagement with sustainability. Our expertise spans sustainability in education systems, leadership and policy, wellbeing, design, environment, heritage and conservation.

We encourage sustainability-focused research in all our research priority themes, both in specific professional fields and subject areas, or using inter-disciplinary and inter-professional approaches.

Our Education for Sustainability principles also apply to our research activities, as they help to generate approaches that improve the relevance and impact of research, using participatory, multi-disciplinary and applied research models.

Our research priority themes are:

  • Learning for Professional Context
  • Environmental Dynamics & Governance
  • Innovation, Design and Technology
  • Sport, Exercise, Health & Wellbeing
  • Being Human: Past, Present & Future
  • Applied Business Research
Our research in sustainability


Our research in sustainability

The University’s Countryside and Community Research Institute engages in a wide range of sustainability research linked to the rural economy and policy, sustainable environments and local resilience, agriculture, food and land use, heritage and landscape, within the UK, Europe and internationally.

Our research in sustainabilitySPAcE: Supporting Policy and Action for Active Environments is led by Professor Di Crone, which aims to integrate active transport programmes (i.e. walking to school, cycle to work schemes etc.) into public policy across the EU.

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Our research in sustainability

RSP: Rounder Sense of Purpose is led by Dr Paul Vare from the School of Education, aiming to integrate Education for Sustainability into the continuing professional development of educators in schools.

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We have attracted over £1,405,000 of funding for our Education for Sustainability research and development projects, supported by Marie Curie, the Higher Education Funding Council for England, the European Commission, the Higher Education Academy and UNESCO. Some key publications include:

This new collaborative European Commission funded publication shares new professional development practices that support Education for Sustainability. Examples were selected from across Europe and case studies prepared to build the capacity of educators to adapt and use the examples to advance their own academic practice.

This Higher Education Academy commissioned research explores the place of Education for Sustainability in flexible learning, presenting six key themes for future curriculum change. The project also featured in the HEA research and Policy seminar series and Westminster Forum as well as Guardian HE online. See slides and final project report.

This multi-disciplinary edited publication on learning and skills for sustainability showcases new thinking and practical guidance from a range of subject viewpoints. Edited by Dr Arran Stibbe and funded by the Higher Education Academy, it is available in an extended multimedia version including interviews with the authors. Contact Arran for more information.

This Higher Education Academy commissioned report explores leading work on Education for Sustainability in the context of institution-wide curriculum reform, including three case studies of UK HE institutions and taking perspective from international trends in EfS and related curriculum reform initiatives worldwide.