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 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.

Revolution Plastics

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.

Fashion design by Ashley Sookhai Bassett. Photo by Tom Buller.
Find out more

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.

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

We're looking at the monitoring, movement and impacts of contaminants and pollutants in the environment, and identifying problems and potential solutions.

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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Environmental Change

Our research examines the changing environment and how to avoid crises in the future. Find out more about our physical and human geography research.

Aerial view of scenic Greenland Glaciers and icebergs
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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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Green infrastructures

We're planning cities that can be both liveable for humans, while not resulting in further decline to the planet's ecological vitality.

Campus miscellaneous; June 2019
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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).

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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.

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Britain's burning question

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

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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.

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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.

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News, events, and blogs

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

Saving our UK coastlines by working in partnership

20 January 2023

Saving our UK coastlines by working in partnership

$5m project to restore life to the Solent’s seascape

10 December 2022

$5m project to restore life to the Solent’s seascape

Portsmouth moves up 17 places in the People and Planet University League table

9 December 2022

Portsmouth moves up 17 places in the People and Planet University League table

University and council team up to tackle waste in Portsmouth

1 December 2022

University and council team up to tackle waste in Portsmouth

Helping to make the British Virgin Islands more resilient to the impacts of climate change

17 November 2022

Helping to make the British Virgin Islands more resilient to the impacts of climate change

Fukushima to release contaminated water – an expert explains why this could be the best option

Jim Smith

Fukushima to release contaminated water – an expert explains why this could be the best option

Single-use plastic bans: research shows three ways to make them effective

Tegan Evans

Single-use plastic bans: research shows three ways to make them effective

Mapping Microplastics ft. Dr Fay Couceiro

Mapping Microplastics ft. Dr Fay Couceiro

Why the UK needs to stop exporting plastic waste

Steve Fletcher

Why the UK needs to stop exporting plastic waste

The Energy Charter Treaty lets fossil fuel firms sue governments – but its future is now in question

Leila Choukroune

The Energy Charter Treaty lets fossil fuel firms sue governments – but its future is now in question

Life Solved

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How to Solve the UK’s Water Crisis ft. Dr Peter Cruddas

How to Solve the UK’s Water Crisis ft. Dr Peter Cruddas

Rise of the Film Franchise ft. Professor Lincoln Geraghty

Rise of the Film Franchise ft. Professor Lincoln Geraghty

Mapping Microplastics ft. Dr Fay Couceiro

Mapping Microplastics ft. Dr Fay Couceiro

The Power of Public Perception in the Fight Against Climate Change ft. Dr Chris Jones

The Power of Public Perception in the Fight Against Climate Change ft. Dr Chris Jones

Can Advertising Be A Force For Good ft. Dr Karen Middleton

Can Advertising Be A Force For Good ft. Dr Karen Middleton