Image by H Adams
Research on the social and economic roles of fluctuating ecosystem services in maintaining wellbeing is being carried out in Bangladesh, in collaboration with water, climate and environmental scientists.
The theme includes research spanning social science disciplines and promotes cross-fertilisation of research, including with the natural and engineering sciences, to create new methods, robust findings, and socially relevant insights across the major challenges of environmental sustainability.
We are generating cutting-edge research on:
- The challenges of environmental sustainability.
- The causes of degradation and exploitation of the environment.
- The processes of living with change.
- Promoting the ability of society to maintain the environment for the benefit of all.
In recent years our impact in all areas of environment and sustainability research has grown significantly.
We will be tweeting about and from the conference using #Climate2014.
REF case studies
The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the new system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions.
Exeter came 16th in the REF 2014. A number of case studies are submitted on which the University is assessed: below are those we submitted related to the Environment and Sustainability theme.
|Helping government and industry to communicate risk||This research helped the Met Office to improve the way it displayed uncertainty in its weather forecasts, enabling better decision making for industry and the public.|
|Influencing behaviour change||The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) used Exeter research to promote behaviour change. The work also led to the development of a mobile app to help people identify low-carbon travel options.|
|Influencing UK energy policy||Professor Catherine Mitchell and the Energy Policy Group (EPG) have had a major influence on the reform of energy policy across the globe. Their work has informed policy advice presented directly to government ministers.|
|Leading sustainable procurement in the public and private sectors||Through the Clear About Carbon (CAC) project, innovative methods to nurture leadership qualities which advance sustainable practice locally have been embedded in Cornish organisations, leading to cost savings and reduced waste.|
|Shaping land policy and management||Research by the Centre for Rural Policy Research has developed the policy and management implications of the ecosystems services approach to valuing and protecting the environment, which stresses integrated and equitable management of land, water and living resources.|
- Researchers in this area also had a high profile role in creating the the world’s most comprehensive report on climate change - the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Prof Neil Adger and Prof Richard Betts authored chapters on human security and ecosystems, Prof Catherine Mitchell is a lead author for a working group on mitigation and decarbonisation to be published next year.
- In addition Dr Saffron O’Neill, Dr Tim Kurz and Dr Hywel Williams are analysing media discourses around the release of the IPCC reports during 2013 and 2014, for the first time integrating an analysis of social media, print and broadcast coverage of these landmark reports.
- Profs Katrina Brown and Neil Adger, and Drs Saffron O'Neill and Helen Adams contributed to the International Social Science Council’s World Social Science Report of 2013 on changing global environments. Prof Brown and Dr O’Neill contributed an analysis of global transformations in the face of environmental change, while Prof Adger and Dr Adams analysed mobility and migration in a changing climate.
- Scientists working in this area have also advised the UK and other governments through membership of the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s Social Science Advisory Group and on the UK’s National Ecosystem Assessment.
- Prof Michael Winter and Dr Caitlin DeSilvey are members of the assessment’s expert panel while Dr Rob Fish is working research looking into the cultural and social values held by people and Dr Duncan Russel is leading a programme of research on embedding knowledge on ecological systems within policy making.
- Researchers in this area working with the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council invited people in Cornwall to contribute to bioenergy policyin a session that highlighted concerns and priorities for future policy.