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 and Chair of Portsmouth Climate Action Board.
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
Through our Revolution Plastics initiative, we're 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.
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.
Centre for Enzyme Innovation
At the Centre for Enzyme Innovation, we're researching solutions to some of the most pressing global environmental problems.
Learning from the natural world, we are working to deliver transformative enzyme-enabled solutions for the circular recycling of plastics.
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
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
We're looking at the monitoring, movement and impacts of contaminants and pollutants in the environment, and identifying problems and potential solutions.
Ecotoxicology and Environmental Monitoring
We're examining how humans impact ecosystems, and developing new ways to assess and counteract our impact on the environment.
Our research examines the changing environment and how to avoid crises in the future. Find out more about our physical and human geography research.
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.
Resource Economics and Environmental Policy
We examine how economics influences the preservation and sustainability of natural resources such as aquatic ecosystems.
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.
We're planning cities that can be both liveable for humans, while not resulting in further decline to the planet's ecological vitality.
Sustainability and Business
We're identifying how businesses can embed sustainability practices to contribute to achieving the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
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.
Britain's burning question
Dr Mark Hardiman is exploring what sort of wildfires Britain can expect from global warming.
Plumbing new depths of sustainable behaviour
Professor John Williams shows how nature can help our wastewater systems work better for people and the planet.
From rags to environmental riches
Dr Elaine Igoe explains how we’re making fashion more sustainable through our teaching, design and research.
News, events, and blogs
Find our more about our latest sustainability research successes, our upcoming sustainability events, and read blogs by our academics.