Social Responsibility and Sustainability


The University's research is world-leading. It goes on to count in policy debates, inform business, be part of the public discourse, and therefore have a real impact on society. We're finding ways to make it more sustainable.

Illustration of measuring, researching and examining climate and nature

Why is research important?

As well as its positive handprint, research also leaves behind a negative footprint, often requiring energy-intensive equipment and travelling, which contributes significantly to the University’s environmental impact.

The University is working to embed sustainability both in practice and in research outputs.

Research focus (Strategy 2030)

We will strive to make our research even more interdisciplinary and international, to address social and global challenges including the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

We will create initiatives in a variety of areas including justice, data science, environmental sustainability, mental health and wellbeing, ageing and dementia, human rights, and global governance, driven by new collaborative research communities. Working in open facilities, researchers, students, the public sector and companies will ‘breathe the same air’ and solve major challenges side by side.

Strategy 2030

Examples of research include:

  • modelling that helps us to understand the causes and the pace of the climate crisis
  • renewable energy technologies and carbon capture
  • the human and behavioural dimensions of the nature and climate crisis, and societal challenges
  • regulatory processes at the national and international levels

Our research

Here are some examples of research focused on sustainability, climate action and the SDGs.

Our initiatives

The following initiatives make our research more sustainable. 

SDG Research Network (for PhD researchers)

Kim Vender SDG Research Network - holding SDG 14 sign, life below water

The SDG Research Network was created in 2020 with the aim of bringing people together using the SDGs as a common framework and shared language that facilitates collaboration across disciplines.

The group meets regularly to discuss the latest developments in research and practices and offers members a platform to share their research and connect. They also organise bigger events like conferences and workshops to facilitate engagement with the Edinburgh business, policy, and social communities.

The three co-founders are PhD students from different colleges at the University of Edinburgh. They discovered the usefulness of the SDGs for interdisciplinary collaboration and decided to bring this positive experience to our institution. Join the Teams channel to start connecting.

Join the SDG Research Network Teams channel

SDG network Scotland blog post​​​

Case studies and blog posts

Read case studies and blog posts tagged as 'Academic'

Read case studies and blog posts tagged as 'Living Labs'

Take action

Take action: staff Take action: students