Research and innovation

Tackling global challenges

We provide international leadership in tackling major social, political and environmental challenges associated with global change

City and trees

Research degrees

Studying for a PhD will be a journey that will stimulate your passion for your subject and push you to reach your potential

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Research student in lab
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An interdisciplinary approach to tackling water issues

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Research and innovation

We work at the forefront of global research agendas, leading the way in finding solutions to major social, political and environmental challenges. This exciting and impactful research takes us to some of the remotest places on Earth, including the high mountains, both poles and the depths of the tropical rainforests, as well as to the world’s major urban conurbations in the global north and south.

We have a strong track-record of collaborations with academic institutions, businesses, NGOs and governmental bodies around the world. We also work extensively with other schools and centres across the University of Leeds, with leadership roles in cross-faculty initiatives such as the Priestley International Centre for Climate, Leeds Institute for Data Analytics, water@leeds, Cultural Institute and strong links with the Leeds Social Sciences Institute, Cities theme, and Leeds Migration Research network.

Over 75%

of our research is

'world-leading' or 'internationally excellent' REF 2014

Top 20

in the world

QS World University Rankings by Subject 2018

Over 80

academic and research staff

working with over 60 PhD researchers to deliver high-impact research

Our research

People rushing

We develop innovative ways of looking at the world to understand business, society and the environment at different spatial scales and by providing applied or policy-related analyses of geographical behaviour.

City scene

We aim to understand the complexities of social (in)justice and citizenship at different geographical and temporal scales and contribute to efforts at achieving a radically fairer world.


Working in biomes across the world from tropical rain forests to Arctic tundra, we aim to determine the nature of environmental change at a range of temporal and spatial scales.

River basin

We provide leadership in understanding and managing environmental processes and feedbacks that control and link water, sediment, solute and biotic dynamics in river basins, estuaries and marine systems.


Research impact

We collaborate with civic society, businesses and governments to improve societal well-being and sustainable economic growth. Here are some examples from the recent Research Excellence Framework (REF2014) as well as ongoing projects:


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