Centre for Geography, Environment and Society

The Centre for Geography, Environment and Society on the Penryn Campus delivers innovative teaching and research on humans’ impact on the natural world at a range of geographical scales, from local landscapes to global climate systems.

We live in an era where human beings are acknowledged to have become the prime driver of global environmental change. Understanding the social and scientific causes and consequences of such profound environmental change is one of the greatest contemporary challenges.

The Centre works closely in its research with a range of organisations and stakeholders, from Natural England to the National Trust.

As part of the College of Life and Environmental Sciences in Cornwall, we are proud to hold an Athena SWAN silver award for promoting gender equality in Science.

We run our own seminar programme with invited speakers throughout the year, and have a close working relationship with the Environment and Sustainability Institute

Cornwall is an exceptional place in which to study issues of environment and society; a living laboratory with a range of marine and terrestrial environments, a wealth of natural resources, as well as creative and resilient communities.

Our research

Staff at the Centre are internationally known researchers and teachers. In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, Geography at the University of Exeter ranked 7th in the UK for research^ and 3rd for research power† in Geography and Environmental Studies.

We celebrate and encourage interdisciplinary thinking in all our activities, drawing on geographical approaches that span the sciences, social sciences and humanities.

Some of our research responds to our unique regional geography, with staff leading locally based research projects on issues such as sustainability, conservation, social cohesion and wellbeing.

Equally, our staff also lead large international, interdisciplinary research projects studying global environment and climate.

Staff expertise

Our staff and students make up a friendly and collegiate community dedicated to discovering and sharing geographical knowledge about how social and natural environments relate to each other.

Research expertise of Centre staff spans a range of topics, including:

  • past and present global environmental change
  • biological and physical oceanography
  • satellite Earth observation and remote sensing
  • social transformation and community resilience
  • cultural landscape and heritage policy
  • conservation policy and sustainable development
  • energy policy and climate justice
  • ecosystem services. 

^Research Excellence Framework 2014 based on intensity-adjusted Grade Point Average and †Times Higher Education research power ranking