Sustainability research projects

If you would like your sustainability research project included on our page, please contact us

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Agri-Tech Cornwall

The University of Plymouth is proud to be a partner on the Agri-Tech Cornwall project, a £10 million initiative to help the United Kingdom become a world leader in agricultural technology and sustainability.
Researchers from the University will share their expertise and collaborate with small and medium-sized Cornish companies to research the future sustainability of the sector.

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United Downs Deep Geothermal Power project

The University of Plymouth is conducting independent research into perceptions and attitudes about the United Downs Deep Geothermal Power project in Cornwall. 

Researchers are investigating what emotions people feel about geothermal power, the impact of the media on communications, and communications between companies interested in the technology and residents living near geothermal sites.

Find out more about the research and get involved

Reconstructing the 'Wildscape'

University of Plymouth lead: Dr Nicki Whitehouse, Associate Professor (Reader) in Physical Geography

A five year (2016-2021), HLF funded project ‘Reconstructing the ‘Wildscape’; Thorne and Hatfield Moors Hidden Landscapes’ is being led by Dr Nicki Whitehouse at University of Plymouth, in collaboration with researchers at the University College Cork, Republic of Ireland (Dr Ben Gearey), the University of Birmingham (Dr Henry Chapman) and the Thorne and Hatfield Moors Conservation Forum.

The Wildscape HHLP is an innovative project building working links between local communities and organisations (Thorne and Hatfield Moors Conservation Forum, THMCF) and academic institutions (Universities of Plymouth, Cork and Birmingham), in the Isle of Axholme and Hatfield Moors area, Humberhead Levels region, UK. 

Developed by the University of Plymouth, this is one of several landscape scale projects being delivered by the Isle of Axholme and Hatfield Chase Landscape Partnership, developed by the Humberhead Levels Partnership in 2013. 

The Landscape Partnership straddles the historic boundary between Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire and is financed by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Find out more about the project or visit the project website

TAGSCAPE: visualising information about natural landscapes

TAGSCAPE is project which has been developed by Dominica Williamson, a Leverhulme artist in residence based in the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences. Dominica, together with Dr John Martin and other members of staff and students, explores ways of visualising information about our natural landscape. This information is turned into innovative maps that engage the general public and specialists.

The maps are generated with the aim of revealing the unique character and importance of landscapes, which could influence policy decisions concerning how the landscape is protected.

Read the TAGSCAPE catalogue for more information.

Urban transformation in South Africa through co-designing energy services provision pathways

University of Plymouth lead: Dr Stephen Essex, Associate Professor (Reader) in Geography

This research seeks to investigate the role of municipalities in the distribution of electricity in South African cities and the unusual barriers which exist to impede the creation of governance/management structures to facilitate pathways to low carbon urban energy configurations. 

Stephen's role in the work is to develop an understanding of the historical evolution of urban energy systems configurations and policies within local government structures, and the implications of potential change on planning policy, infrastructural delivery and governance.

Reforming marketing for sustainability: towards a framework for evolved marketing

University of Plymouth lead: Dr Victoria Hurth, Associate Professor (Senior Lecturer) in Marketing

The Sustainable Earth Institute, working with Friends of the Earth, marketing experts and members of CIM (The Chartered Institute of Marketing), is proposing six new foundations that form the basis of a Framework of Evolved Marketing.

They aim to place sustainability at the centre of day-to-day marketing tasks, highlight organisational barriers to change and illuminate what ‘good’ looks like in practice.

Read the press release


University of Plymouth lead: Professor Janet Richardson, Professor of Health Service Research

The aim of the NurSus project is to enhance the availability/relevance of a sound learning offer in Sustainability Literacy and Competency (SLC) in nurse education by developing innovative teaching and learning approaches and materials. 

Nurses work across borders; the availability of the NurSusTOOLKIT in a number of languages will promote coherency and support a framework for sustainability competencies across Europe.

Find out more about NurSus

eViz – Energy Visualisation for Carbon Reduction

University of Plymouth lead: Professor Sabine Pahl, Associate Professor (Reader) in Psychology

eViz is an EPSRC-funded study investigating how to reduce energy demand in buildings by transforming people’s understanding and behaviour through novel energy visualisations using personal pervasive digital technologies. It is a £1.5 million project which is being carried out by four universities: the University of Plymouth, Newcastle University, University of Bath and University of Birmingham.

eViz is a tightly integrated 3.5-year project with external partners (both international and outside of academia). The project began in September 2012 and finishes in February 2016.

Find out more about eViz


University of Plymouth lead: Dr Alba Fuertes Casals, Associate Professor (Senior Lecturer) in Construction Technology and Management

EnerGAware is a €2 million project funded by the European Horizon 2020 programme, and will see building performance analysis and behaviour change psychologist experts from University of Plymouth working alongside leading housing provider DCH (formerly Devon and Cornwall Housing), EDF Energy and partners across Europe. The three-year initiative will develop a serious game, linked to the real energy consumption of the home, in which users can play to learn about the potential energy savings from installing energy-efficiency measures and changing user behaviour. The user will need to learn to balance the energy consumption, comfort and financial cost of their actions.

Find out more about EnerGAware

South West Smart Applications Ltd

University of Plymouth lead: Dr Andrew Seedhouse, Director of Transport

South West Smart Applications Limited (SWSAL) is a ‘not for profit’, public/private company, jointly owned by the Fifteen Highway Authorities and Seventeen Public Transport Operators in the South West.

SWSAL's aims are:

  • to deliver Smart and Integrated Ticketing throughout the South West
  • to improve the passenger experience
  • to assist economic growth
  • to reduce carbon

Find out more about SWSAL