Science for Sustainability Hub

Our Vision



This 'Science for Sustainability' Hub nucleates academic activity at the University to pioneer technological solutions toward a sustainable future for our people and the planet. The Hub acts as a portal to build engagement across research, industry, government and civil society to build a new vision for a sustainable future.





Why now?

Our planet's life support systems are under strain. A growing population demands more energy, food and living space than ever before. This puts food production and supply chains under severe stress while at the same time causing irreparable damage to ecosystems and biodiversity.

Climate change has exacerbated this threat and created a global emergency. The challenges facing human society are vast, complex and urgent. We need to act today. 


Contact Us

The Hub is led by Louise Horsfall and Diego Oyarzún at the School of Biological Sciences.

Louise Horsfall

Diego Oyarzún

We invite you to join us on our mission. 

Contact Us

What we do

Our vision is to break down disciplinary barriers, and work with external partners in the public and private sectors, to create collaborations that accelerate our mission to create an equitable, inclusive and sustainable for our planet.

Our mission is aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which provide a wide-ranging roadmap towards a sustainable future. Our University is part of a global alliance of universities as signatories of the 2019 SDG Accord to align efforts across a spectrum of SDG-related activities.

Our Activities are underpinned by a strong commitment to ethical and socially responsible research, founded on Edinburgh's long-standing strengths in social sciences scholarship.

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Research Themes


Synthetic Biology and Biotechnology

We use biotechnology to redesign living systems and transform them into biofactories for the more sustainable manufacture of chemicals. Examples of our activities in this space include engineering microbes to produce novel sources of food, clean-up of contaminated sites (bioremediation) or recycle valuable waste metal (biomining). We also use natural and engineered biocatalysts (enzymes) to generate high value products (e.g. drug intermediates) from sustainable building blocks.

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We are exploring how plants respond to climate change so we can design more climate-resistant crops for the future, and the development of more environmentally friendly pest control.

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Environmental Adaptation

By understanding how living systems adapt to climate change we can better predict how they will cope in the future and develop ways to mitigate damage done.

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Artificial Intelligence

Edinburgh is a leading centre of excellence in artificial intelligence research. Through the development of cutting-edge data analytics methods and processes, we are helping to build a digital infrastructure that will facilitate a transition toward a sustainable future across many sectors.

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Renewable Energy

Research at the University explores technologies that will enable our Nation to attain our ambitious Net Zero Carbon objectives.

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