Outdoor and Environmental Education

Consultancy and general research

The Outdoor Education section undertakes a range of research projects for different organisations.

As a team we are involved in a number of individual and collective research and consultancy projects, some of which are listed here. We also work in an advisory capacity with both the Scottish and the UK Governments and advise on a range of UK and International studies.  Please check individual staff profiles for further information on our roles, research and our latest publication details.

Staff profiles

For more information on Research consultancy, please contact Professor Peter Higgins.

Email Professor Peter Higgins

Recent Consultancy and contract projects

We work closely with a number of organisations, such as:

  • British Council
  • Education Scotland
  • Forestry Commission Scotland
  • Field studies Council
  • Learning for Sustainability Scotland 
  • Nature Scot
  • Scottish Government
  • Venture Trust

Our involvement spans consultancy work, advisory roles and a range of practice-based and professional development projects. We aim to conduct research that is scientifically robust, theoretically based, and of strategic significance and to disseminate it widely to key research individuals and groups. Recent examples of such commissioned work includes:

Research Impact Case Study

Project Title: Embedding Learning for Sustainability in Scottish education policy and teaching practice

Principals Teaching Award Scheme (PTAS) 2021

Project Title: Keeping the Door Open: Curating, developing and evolving Edinburgh University teaching in spaces and places within the city and beyond (2021) (£15k)

  • Investigators: Beth Christie, David Clarke, Catherine Dunn, Pete Higgins, Robbie Nicol, Heidi Smith

Principals Teaching Award Scheme (PTAS) 2017-2019

Project Title: A Curriculum for Climate Justice

  • Two-year study involving climate activists, teachers, and NGOs to examine the opportunities and challenges of developing a curriculum for climate justice in Scotland.
  • Co-Investigators: Beth Christie, Pete Higgins, Callum McGregor.

Scottish Government Commissioned Literature Review (2020)

Christie, B & Higgins P. (2020). Educational outcomes of Learning for Sustainability: A Brief Review of Literature. Scottish Government

Higgins, P. & Christie, B. (2020). Environmental and Sustainability Education. In: Encyclopaedia of Teacher Education. Springer.

Forestry Commission Scotland Commissioned Literature Review (2013)

Christie, B. & Higgins, P. (2012) The impact of outdoor learning experiences on attainment and behaviour: A brief review of literature. Forestry Commission Scotland/University of Edinburgh. Forestry Commission Report 11/2012

Field Studies Council Commissioned Literature Review (2013)

Christie, B. & Higgins, P. (2012) The impact of outdoor learning experiences on attitudes to sustainability: A brief review of literature. Field Studies Council/University of Edinburgh. Field Studies Council Report 06/2012.

Research into action briefings and parliamentary submissions       

The Research into Action Briefings series was written to support engagement with published educational research in relation to Learning for Sustainability across the education community

Research into Action Briefings

LfS Research Briefings – No.1: LfS and Attainment in Schools (2016) Higgins, P. & Christie, B.

LfS Research Briefings – No. 2: Impact of Outdoor Learning on LfS in Schools (2016) Higgins, P. & Christie, B.

LfS Research Briefings – No 3: The Impact of Outdoor Learning on Attainment and Behaviour in Schools. (2016) Higgins, P. & Christie, B.

LfS Research Briefings – No.4: Learning for Sustainability – Effective Pedagogies. (2016) King, B., Higgins, P. & Christie, B.

LfS Research Briefings – No.5: The UN Decade of ESD (UNDESD) 2005-­‐2014 & Beyond. A Retrospective Review. (2016). Higgins, P. & Christie, B

Higgins, P., Nicol, R., Beames, S., Christie, B., & Scrutton, R. (2013). Education and Culture Committee, Outdoor Learning. Submission from Pete Higgins. University of Edinburgh.