Catherine Graves

Profile

I joined the University in October 2018 as a PhD student, researching the relationship between virtual reality (VR) and behaviour change, within the context of pro-environmental and climate mitigating behaviour. I am exploring the decision-making mechanism which occurs between empathy being generated by experiencing virtual reality, and the potential for subsequent behaviour change. This project is funded by the University of Leeds Global Challenge Scholarship. It is an interdisciplinary project, based in the School of Earth and Environment, but partnered with the Institute for Transport Studies and the Bradford Institute for Health Research.

I previously completed my MSc Sustainability within the School of Earth and Environment before working for the University's Sustainability Service, in energy consultancy and most recently in research support for the School. 

I am passionate about the role of behaviour change to mitigating climate change, and contributing to a sustainable society more broadly. Virtual reality has recently begun to be used as a tool to generate empathy and raise awareness for issues such as the impact of climate change and environmental degradation by organisations at a range of scales, but little research exists into whether this is translated into meanginful, long term behaviour change, therefore this projects hopes to contribute to filling that gap.

Research interests

  • Behaviour change
  • Climate change
  • Climate and energy policy
  • Virtual Reality
  • Decision-making

Qualifications

  • MSc Sustainability (Environmental Politics and Policy); University of Leeds
  • BSc Geography (University College London)