The University of Leeds

The University of Leeds is a red brick university, ranked 8th in the UK in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise. Leeds has achieved a high profile within Europe as a founding member of the European University Association and the Santander Group and internationally as a founding member of the Worldwide Universities Network and Association of Commonwealth Universities.

The Physical Climate Group at Leeds has contributed significantly to our understanding of the causes of climate change and feedback loops in climate and ocean systems. Researchers collaborating on this work have used ideas of the Earth’s energy budget to model possible extents and impacts of climate change using different temperature changes, climate sensitivities and flux diagnostics. This work has been overseen by Professor Piers Forster, coordinating lead author for chapter on changes in atmospheric constituents and in radiative forcing in the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report and currently lead author of the clouds and aerosol chapter in the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report.

Leeds has also invested heavily in researching climate change mitigation and adaptation. The Sustainability Research Institute (SRI) at Leeds is one of the premier bodies examining the necessary changes to established systems of production and consumption and the actors, networks and institutions involved in governance of these changes. Notable among these projects is the development of a global trade model to understand the carbon embedded in products, taking into account production efficiencies by sectors and countries, and the indirect carbon emissions of energy technologies. The techniques developed as part of this research are now used by numerous government departments to understand the consumer emissions of the UK and the carbon emissions embedded in projects. This research was overseen by Professor John Barrett, a lead author of the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report, and funded by DEFRA and the UK Energy Research Centre with a grant of £388,000.

The SRI works closely with the Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy (CCCEP). The Centre is chaired by Lord Nicholas Stern and hosted jointly by the University of Leeds and the London School of Economics and Political Science. It was established in 2008 with £5.5m of ESRC funding in order to develop climate science, economics and governance with the aim of advancing a global deal. The Centre also oversees world-leading research on climate change mitigation and adaptation, with a particular focus on the risks and opportunities for the insurance sector. One of the CCCEP members from Leeds University is Professor Andrew Challinor, lead author on the ‘Food Production Systems and Food Security’ chapter of the IPCC Fifth Assessment and adaptation theme leader for the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research.

The University of Leeds also brings diverse expertise in the energy sector to the Centre for Low Carbon Futures. Current projects include power generation from renewable sources and carbon capture and storage, energy storage technologies and energy demand management, public perceptions of energy and the energy-water interface. This multi-disciplinary work is coordinated by the Centre for Integrated Energy Research, established in 2010. This breadth of research in energy is complemented by Leeds’ capabilities in water-related fields. A sample of the current areas of interest include:

  • drainage basin processes and management
  • flooding and drought
  • wastewater treatment
  • water resource management
  • socio-economic impacts

This research is providing a platform to extend the Climate Smart Cities programme to include water conservation and efficiency measures. The Centre for Low Carbon Futures’ work in this field has been coordinated by Andrew Gouldson, Professor at Leeds University and Director at the ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy.

Latest news

9th September, 2014
New nuclear event at British Science Festival
14th July, 2014
Energy storage report launch at Chatham House
11th July, 2014
Joint CLCF and University of Birmingham article in The Conversation