Sustainable research

The University of Leeds is committed to integrating sustainability into everything that we do, and research is no exception. ​Our researchers are pushing the frontiers of knowledge and discovery to shape a more sustainable future. Through our interdisciplinary and partnership approach we are advancing knowledge and creating solutions to local, national and global sustainability challenges. And, in line with our climate crisis principles, we are committed to ensuring a sustainable approach to research, through reduced environmental impact, and increased social and community benefits.

The research we do at Leeds is world-leading and ranges from global justice and inequalities to low carbon technologies. Find out more by following the links below. 

Exploring a range of issues including climate change, energy, transport, water, resource use, land use, conservation, business and lifestyles.
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Investigating new and exciting processes related to energy generation and use, and seeking to demonstrate their sustainability and positive impacts on society.
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An interdisciplinary network integrating research and expertise to address transforming societies in response to global challenges such as poverty and inequality.
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Developing solutions that help bring about transformative change to create a food system that is socially-just, climate-smart and goes beyond sustainability.
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Bringing together expertise from across the University of Leeds to deliver research that underpins robust and timely climate change.
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Researching sustainability

The University’s interdisciplinary approach to researching and innovating sustainable solutions to global challenges is recognised as world-leading through THE Impact Rankings. Find out more about research and innovation at the University of Leeds.

Our partnership approach to addressing sustainability challenges is demonstrated nationally through our prestigious research institutes, and globally through our international networks. Find out more about our partnerships and collaborations.

As an anchor institution, we strive to bring economic, health, environmental and social benefits to our local communities. We value our strong partnerships with local stakeholders, particularly with Third Sector organisations through our Positive Impact Partner programme.

Through the Leeds Living Lab, we create opportunities for staff and students to collaborate to research and test sustainable solutions using the University and our city as a testbed. Research-led teaching is central to the Leeds Curriculum, with students able to engage and participate in sustainability research.

The Global Challenges Research Fund provides the academic community, across all disciplines, the opportunity to drive positive, coordinated and lasting change to address global challenges.​

Leading the way

We want to lead the way in carrying out our research in a sustainable way. Whether that’s using and managing resources efficiently and effectively, increasing accessibility to research, or influencing the national agenda.

Business travel is a significant sustainability challenge for interdisciplinary research with global partners. We are currently reviewing our travel policies and communications technology to ensure we can take learning forward from our response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Laboratory research can be particularly resource-intensive. We work closely with our Lab Technicians Network to share learning and good practice and identify key challenge areas. Find out more about how we use LEAF as a sustainable labs tool and find case studies on how we are removing single-use plastics from labs.

Through the Leeds Sustainable Curriculum, we are embedding sustainability into modules on research practice. We are also working closely with UKRI to ensure national-level research policy integrates sustainable behaviours and research approaches.

We understand that our researchers need knowledge and support to be able to deliver their work in a sustainable way.

If there is anything further you need, or would like to someone in the Sustainability Service please get in touch.

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

We use the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework to guide our activity. Our work on sustainable research is linked to all of the SDGs.

Find out more about our impact on the SDGs.