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 combatting microplastics to analysing plastic policies around the globe, 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
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Centre for Blue Governance

We're committed to the protection, restoration and sustainable governance of our aquatic environments

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
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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. 

University showcases marine restoration work as part of The Wildlife Trust’s annual conference

6 June 2024

University showcases marine restoration work as part of The Wildlife Trust’s annual conference
Group of University students in Kenya

University of Portsmouth students travel to Kenya for climate resilience workshop

28 May 2024

University of Portsmouth students travel to Kenya for climate resilience workshop
Mobile lab at site in Southern Water’s West Marden wastewater works

Scientists build mobile laboratory to tackle phosphorus pollution in UK waterways

24 May 2024

Scientists build mobile laboratory to tackle phosphorus pollution in UK waterways
Juvenile Sulawesi macaque holding plastic © Teresa Romero

How much harm is plastic waste doing to macaques?

20 May 2024

How much harm is plastic waste doing to macaques?
angling rode and sunset

Angling fish for food: 11 per cent of world’s freshwater fish caught by amateurs

17 May 2024

Angling fish for food: 11 per cent of world’s freshwater fish caught by amateurs
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New report outlines the approach the United Nations should take to tackle global chemical pollution

Alex Ford

New report outlines the approach the United Nations should take to tackle global chemical pollution
What happened during the fourth session of the Global Plastics Treaty?

What happened during the fourth session of the Global Plastics Treaty?

What happened during the fourth session of the Global Plastics Treaty?
Photo by James Wakibia

Revolution Plastics Institute attending the fourth negotiations for a Global Plastics Treaty in Ottawa

Revolution Plastics Institute attending the fourth negotiations for a Global Plastics Treaty in Ottawa
View in Antarctica taken by Dr Clare Boston

The plastic footprint of tourism in Antarctica

Fay Couceiro

The plastic footprint of tourism in Antarctica
Rowing boat on the Thames river

Sport saving our seas

Sport saving our seas
What happened during the fourth session of the Global Plastics Treaty?

What happened during the fourth session of the Global Plastics Treaty?

What happened during the fourth session of the Global Plastics Treaty?
Life Solved website graphic

Life onboard a ship in the Southern Ocean for science

Life onboard a ship in the Southern Ocean for science
Building with plants covering it

Will architecture save the world?

Will architecture save the world?
The unstoppable evolution of the English language

The unstoppable evolution of the English language

The unstoppable evolution of the English language
Rowing boat on the Thames river

Sport saving our seas

Sport saving our seas