School of GeoSciences


We recognise that climate change is one of the most significant global challenges of the 21st Century, and continually work to become more socially responsible and sustainable.

We've made progress but acknowledge that we must always strive to do better.

Our School and staff play an active role in Edinburgh City, Scotland and UK efforts to achieve zero carbon and fulfil sustainability and climate change objectives.  

We are proud to host centres such as:

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals are embedded in our School's operations, teaching, research, knowledge exchange and innovation.  


Our research and impact

A pair of hands pushing an ecological monitoring tool into the grass

Our School is conducting world-leading research and advocacy to better understand climate change and devise ways of tackling it.  The interdisciplinary approach to our research and our collaborative centres enable us to work at the interface between sustainability, business, communities and policy. 

Many of our academics and researchers are on local, national and international advisory boards on climate change.  Our research is making vital contributions to national and international responses to climate change, including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the United Nations Paris Agreement. We also have significant involvement in the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP26.  

We are proud to be involved in many research and knowledge exchange projects that address climate change and sustainability goals.  You can learn more about our numerous activities under our website's research section. 

Find out how we are making a difference.

Our research

School of GeoSciences Sustainability

An outside view showing a modern timber and glass structure of the ECCI building

We have established a School Sustainability Working Group, composed of both staff and students.

The Group has developed a sustainability strategy for our School, which outlines six key goals to embed sustainability into School processes and engage staff and students to transition to a more sustainable School. 

Our goals encompass:

  1. teaching
  2. research
  3. facilities and estates
  4. travel
  5. food
  6. our School community

We look forward to updating you on the progress of our goals.

University Social Responsibility and Sustainability

Two men and a woman standing in a park and talking

The first of its kind in the UK, the Department of Social Responsibility and Sustainability was created to help the University, its staff, and students achieve its ambition to be a leading socially responsible and sustainable university.

Our School has numerous staff and students collaborating with the Department in various areas.

For example:

  • Professor Sandy Tudhope is the University Lead on Climate Responsibility and Sustainability.
  • We have over 60 undergraduate and postgraduate students who are University Sustainability Champions.
  • Our students are taking part in social responsibility and sustainability issues through the Student Pathways initiative.   Student Pathways is an innovative model that promotes active student-led learning with opportunities for experiential learning online, on campus and in the community.

Visit the Social Responsibility and Sustainability website

You can also follow the Sustainability blog which includes an interview with Professor Tudhope about his role and the University’s response to the climate crisis.

Visit the blog- interview with Professor Sandy Tudhope

University sustainability and 'zero by 2040'

Intersection of an Edinburgh city street at night, with streaks of light from the passing traffic

Zero by 2040

The University of Edinburgh has committed to becoming zero carbon by 2040. Our University's Climate Strategy lays out a comprehensive whole institution approach to climate change mitigation and adaptation to achieve our ambitious targets.

Visit the University Social Responsibility and Sustainability website for more.

Zero by 2040

High ranking in sustainability impact 

The University has been ranked 36th in the world in the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings. That puts us in the top four per cent of institutions worldwide.   The Times Higher Education Impact Rankings assess universities against the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.  The University ranked second in Scotland, eighth in the UK, fifth among the Russell Group universities and fourteenth in Europe.

Visit the University Social Responsibility and Sustainability website for more.

University impact rankings

What are the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals?

A graphic design listing the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals are a call for action by all countries  to address the most critical global challenges of our generation. 

There are 17 overarching goals with a timeline set to 2030.  They recognise that ending poverty must go hand-in-hand with strategies that build economic growth and address a range of social needs including education, health, social protection, and job opportunities, while tackling climate change and environmental protection.

Our School and University recognise the vital role we play in achieving the Goals:

  • through the contribution of knowledge and solutions
  • by inspiring the next generation of leaders and change-makers
  • through embodying the principles in  governance and operations

Our School values everyone’s contribution and recognises the important role our staff, students, alumni, and partners have in working collectively towards a better future.

Visit the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals website