Sea wind turbines

Exploring our impact on the world

The future of the planet is at stake – and our research is exploring how we can help protect it

Climate change and green infrastructure. Clean water and sanitation. The impact of plastics and pharmaceuticals. Low carbon design. Ecological systems and biodiversity.

These are just a handful of our research areas within the Sustainability and the Environment theme, led by Professor Steve Fletcher, Ocean Lead of the United Nations' International Resource Panel.

Our research promotes environmental awareness, explores ways to combat climate change, and we develop techniques for evaluating and improving damage to land and marine ecosystems. 

Sustainability is also an integral part of the University's strategy. We aim to become a climate-positive university by 2030.

Our plastics research

The Revolution Plastics Institute is working with partners in business, government and academia around the world to find innovative solutions to the planet's plastic pollution crisis. This is supported by our research centres. From pioneering research into plastic-degrading enzymes through to our multi-disciplinary approach to inform blue governance policies around the world.

Revolution Plastics Institute

From developing sustainable fashion to combatting microplastics, we’re putting our research into practice, working with local groups, organisations, businesses and individuals to solve the planet's plastic problem.

Photo by James Wakibia
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Centre for Enzyme Innovation

At the Centre for Enzyme Innovation, we are working to solve one of the most pressing environmental issues facing our planet.

 

petri dish from centre for enzyme research
Explore our research

Centre for Blue Governance

Aquatic environments cover more than 70% of the earth's surface – find out how our Centre for Blue Governance is securing the future of the planet's marine and freshwaters

blue governance
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Areas of Expertise and Research Groups

Many of the University's research areas deal directly with issues of sustainability and the environment.

Find out more about some of our areas of expertise, including:

Environmental processes and impacts research group

We're looking at the Earth's changing environment and the influence of human activity on climate and ecosystems.

Pollution from factory rising into a dark grey sky
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Ecotoxicology and Environmental Monitoring

We're examining how humans impact ecosystems, and developing new ways to assess and counteract our impact on the environment.

Langstone harbour with tide in
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Renewable Energy and Sustainability Analytics

Modelling to answer a host of questions, from how to produce renewable energy more cheaply, to how the associated logistics can be sustainable.

Windfarm at sea on a sunny day
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Resource Economics and Environmental Policy

We examine how economics influences the preservation and sustainability of natural resources such as aquatic ecosystems.

Fishing boats in a harbour
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Environmental Technology and Management

We're finding sustainable ways of tackling pollution, developing the technology needed to deal with new pollutants, and finding ways to build sustainable, environmentally-friendly urban landscapes.

Structural engineers in disaster relief training in earthquake ruins
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Sustainability and Business

We're identifying how businesses can embed sustainability practices to contribute to achieving the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

A birds eye view of a circle of houses surrounding a cluster of trees
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Research features

Explore our features for a snapshot of our recent research work in this research theme.

Could a mutant enzyme solve the planet's plastic problem?

A collaboration between the Centre for Enzyme Innovation, and the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has created a new mutant enzyme that breaks down plastic bottles faster.

Beach with plastic pollution
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Britain's burning question

Dr Mark Hardiman is exploring what sort of wildfires Britain can expect from global warming.

Smoke rising from a grassland wildfire next to a forest
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Plumbing new depths of sustainable behaviour

Professor John Williams shows how nature can help our wastewater systems work better for people and the planet.

Close up of wave crashing in the sea
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From rags to environmental riches

Dr Elaine Igoe explains how we’re making fashion more sustainable through our teaching, design and research.

Denim jeans photo by Mica Asato, Pexels
Read more

News, events, and blogs

Find our more about our latest sustainability research successes, our upcoming sustainability events, and read blogs by our academics. 

orchid

Study shows orchid family emerged in northern hemisphere and thrived alongside dinosaurs

23 February 2024

Study shows orchid family emerged in northern hemisphere and thrived alongside dinosaurs
Cantor's giant softshell turtle

First-ever report of nesting of incredibly rare and endangered giant turtle

22 February 2024

First-ever report of nesting of incredibly rare and endangered giant turtle
The Team Gentoo sailing team

University teams up with Hampshire sailor to help protect the world’s oceans

14 February 2024

University teams up with Hampshire sailor to help protect the world’s oceans
Revolution Plastics

University to share in £100 million funding to lead major science and technology hub to reduce plastic waste

9 February 2024

University to share in £100 million funding to lead major science and technology hub to reduce plastic waste
Group photo of Revolution Plastics Institute staff

Accelerating the fight against global plastic pollution: Launch of the Revolution Plastics Institute

30 January 2024

Accelerating the fight against global plastic pollution: Launch of the Revolution Plastics Institute
A person sorting plastic waste © James Wakibia

West Africa’s plastic waste could be fuelling the economy instead of polluting the ocean: experts

West Africa’s plastic waste could be fuelling the economy instead of polluting the ocean: experts
Triathlon athlete in Extreme Environments Lab

25 years of the Extreme Environments Laboratory

Mike Tipton

25 years of the Extreme Environments Laboratory
Picture of waste in landfill with Life Solved logo and descriptive text

From Shelf to the Global South – why our plastic ends up in low-income countries

From Shelf to the Global South – why our plastic ends up in low-income countries
Life solved Logo with introduction title: How close are we to a global plastics treaty?

INC-2: How close are we to a global plastics treaty? Featuring Professor Steve Fletcher and Antaya March

INC-2: How close are we to a global plastics treaty? Featuring Professor Steve Fletcher and Antaya March
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Plastic recycling is failing – here’s how the world must respond

Plastic recycling is failing – here’s how the world must respond
Life Solved logo When Will the Cost of Living Crisis End?

When Will the Cost of Living Crisis End?

When Will the Cost of Living Crisis End?
Life Solved logo for Science of Smells episode with coffee

The Science Of Smells

The Science Of Smells
People demonstrating with Life Solved logo and introduction title

Is The World Becoming Less Democratic?

Is The World Becoming Less Democratic?
Person opening TikTok app with Life Solved logo and introduction title

How Incels Use TikTok To Spread Hate & Lies

How Incels Use TikTok To Spread Hate & Lies
Flying saucer hovering over forest in grey with Life Solved logo and Introduction title

UFOs or UF-No’s?

UFOs or UF-No’s?