Edinburgh Impact

Futureproofing societies and the planet

Research into how societies can be more peaceful, just and equitable and how can we ensure life on our planet is thriving several generations from now.

The University is pioneering work in areas such as sustainable urban planning and engineering projects, delivering agenda-setting research into renewables, and offering insights into what makes strong, accessible systems of justice and governance.

Discover how Edinburgh's influence can help shape our future societies and earth's ecosystems.


Professor Ian Main smiles to camera with lab equipment in the foreground out of focus

The earth-shaking quest to predict the unpredictable

For more than two decades, Professor Ian Main has been a leading figure in a movement to develop an earthquake forecasting system that helps manage the risk of natural disasters. Now, the researcher is on a mission to improve the living conditions of marginalised communities in low- and middle-income countries.

The earth-shaking quest to predict the unpredictable
A lightbulb moment

A lightbulb moment

​​​​​​​Solar lamps provide safe, clean and cheap light in some of the poorest parts of the world, but what happens when they break down? A project in Africa has illuminated how to tackle e-waste.

A lightbulb moment

Signals from a drowning world

Signals from a drowning world

Melting ice sheets and glaciers – and the resulting rising seas - are a startling reminder of the rate of climate change. However, measuring ice loss was an inaccurate science... until Edinburgh experts helped change things.

Signals from a drowning world
Seeing the woods

Seeing the woods

Getting a clear picture of how much living matter is in the world's forests and savannas - key data in managing these vital carbon stores - has always been tricky. Satellite technology is changing that.

Seeing the woods
Breeding planet-friendly cattle

Breeding planet-friendly cattle

​​​​​​​Agriculture produces a large share of greenhouse gas emissions, with the methane produced by cattle the worst offender. A canny use of data and genetics could help create a new generation of green cows.

Breeding planet-friendly cattle
Charging up the road

Charging up the road

To help the haulage sector meet climate targets the UK's motorways are being electrified. How do you efficiently wire up a complex road network while keeping on trucking?

Charging up the road

Adjusting for humanity’s fingerprints

Adjusting for humanity’s fingerprints

Six years ago, Professors Gabi Hegerl and Simon Tett’s work to prove human-caused greenhouse gasses are warming our planet underpinned the 2015 Paris Agreement. Today they argue we still aren’t doing enough to adapt to climate change.

Adjusting for humanity’s fingerprints
Going underground

Going underground

For decades removing harmful carbon from the atmosphere and storing it safely under the sea was a mere pipe dream. Edinburgh researchers are helping make it a reality.

Going underground
Floating tidal turbine technology - Orbital O2

Harnessing time and tide

Tidal turbines produce green, cheap and plentiful energy from an abundant source. A new partnership can test in a few months how new designs will fare across decades in raging seas. The data-driven approach could provoke a sea change for the industry.

Harnessing time and tide
prow of the ship

Uncovering the mysteries of the deep

The health of the world’s oceans might be high on the political agenda, but how do we maintain their wellbeing with so much still unknown about them? Edinburgh researchers have been instrumental in a major project that has shone a light into the depths of the Atlantic.

Uncovering the mysteries of the deep