two researchers with plants in lab

We are helping societies to become more sustainable by transforming manufacturing, attitudes to consumption and economic practices.

It is vital that we utilise the world’s resources in a way that ensures the planet and societies are sustainable. This requires a deep understanding of the science of how complex ecosystems function and change, and how we can transition society to more sustainable practices, at scale, that create a lasting positive impact.


Within each theme, we have identified sub-themes of particular areas of research strength, and areas that offer opportunities to build new strengths. These sub-themes will be developed and refined by working groups.

  • Circular Economy and Sustainable Manufacturing – developing systems approaches to whole-life-cycle manufacturing that move businesses towards integrated and sustainable approaches that encompass design, recycling, raw materials, sustainability and economics
  • Towards Zero Pollution – incorporating energy, materials, urban design and human health
  • Energy Transition – moving from fossil fuels to sustainable energy sources, including strengths in electric vehicles, wind, nuclear, fuel cells, energy storage, and the smart grid
  • Understanding Complex Ecosystems – food security, climate resilience, managing human dimensions of species extinction, and how environments impact health and disease
  • Clean Water – infrastructure and waste management, urban hydrology and de-pollution, and using mathematical modelling to promote healthy oceans
  • Economics of Climate Change – identifying investment opportunities in renewable energy, clean technologies, and climate-resilient infrastructure that will support our sustainable future


Cross-faculty initiatives

Our world-leading research and teaching in health are exemplified by our cross-faculty initiatives and specialist centres. 


Imperial startup Chrysalix, founded by Imperial Research Associate Dr Florence Gschwend, is developing new processes to transform waste wood into sustainable fuel, new materials, and chemical products.


The ‘Stability of Altered Forest Ecosystems’ (SAFE) Project is one of the world’s largest ecological experiments, helping scientists to design landscapes that maintain agricultural production at least cost to biodiversity.

PhD students looking at equipment

PhD students in the Grantham Institute, Imperial's interdisciplinary hub for climate change and the environment, looking at the torch box of the Multiple Collector Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometer in the MAGIC mass spectrometry laboratory.

A doctoral researcher at the Centre for Environmental Policy

The Centre for Environmental Policy provides a unique and interdisciplinary research interface between science and technology, and the economic and policy context in which it is developed and applied.