Dr Milena Buchs

Dr Milena Buchs


Milena joined the SRI in September 2016 as Associate Professor in Sustainability, Economics and Low-Carbon Transitions. With a background in sociology and social policy, her current research focusses on relationships between economic growth, environmental sustainability and health/wellbeing, as well as low carbon practices and practice change. Milena has led and collaborated on several major, interdisciplinary ESRC and EPSRC grants on these topics.

Prior to joining the SRI, Milena was lecturing at the University of Southampton (2005-16). She received her PhD in Social Policy from the Humboldt University Berlin in 2005 and her under- and postgraduate taught training in Sociology, Political Science and Economics from the Free University Berlin in 2001. She also held visiting researcher positions at the DFG-funded Postgrowth Societies College, University of Jena; the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, London School of Economics; and at the Centre of Comparative Welfare State Research, University of Stirling (with a EU Marie Curie fellowship during her PhD).


  • Deputy Director of Postgraduate Research
  • Member of the ESRC White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership Academic Quality Committee

Research interests

Milena's current research focusses on issues around wellbeing, inequality and practice change in relation to energy use and low carbon transitions. She is also part of the UK Centre for Research on Energy Demand (CREDS), established in 2018, working on travel emissions in a team led by Tim Chatterton from UWE and Jillian Anable from the Institute for Transport Studies in Leeds.

Milena was also involved in the EPSRC Programme Grant on Liveable Cities (2012-2017). Her team with colleagues from the University of Southampton focussed on the question of whether giving householders information about their carbon footprint can support them in reducing energy used at home and whilst travelling, and in which ways, if any, people's health status is related to their energy use.

Previous research projects

Two previous ESRC/EPSRC projects examined the roles that environmental grassroots organisations can play in encouraging low carbon practices. Based on interviews and surveys with organisers and participants, as well as a longitudinal field experiment, we found that environmental grassroots organisations can indeed encourage people to reduce their carbon footprint, especially if they appeal to environmental and altruistic values. However, we also found this tends to work best with people who are already open to these perspectives whilst grassroots organisations find it much harder to encourage the wider public to take up more 'radical' low carbon behaviours (e.g. such as taking up a low carbon diet, reducing car use or flights).

ESRC Third Sector Research Centre Environment Stream
RCUK The role of community-based initiatives in energy saving

Milena was also PI on the ESRC project "Who emits most" which examined the inequality of carbon emissions of UK households, and estimated implications for distributional effects of market-based climate mitigation policies. The dataset from that project is available from the UK Data Service

PhD supervision

Over the last 10 years I have been supervising a range of PhD projects, most of them on environmental social science topics including distributional implications of market-based climate change mitigation policies; pro-environmental practices and practice change; green housing policies; and environmental justice.

Current PhD Students

Elizabeth Allinson Effectiveness of the Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace Strategy
Aaisa Nisar The role of eco-housing developments in creating sustainable communities
Alexander Voccia - World Bank climate change adaptation technical cooperation programme and environmental justice
Duygu Cihan Dynamics between human wellbeing, economic growth, and climate change in emerging economies

Supervised to completion

Alexander Afful 'Low uptake of the Green Deal: Examining financial, decision-making and awareness reasons' (June 2017)
Fatih Urkmezer 'Urban poor migrants in Turkey' (January 2017)
Roger Tyers ''Nudging the jetset to offset''; Voluntary carbon offsetting for air travel (Dec 2016)
Thomas Rushby 'It's not personal: modelling a downstream household cap and trade scheme for residential energy in the UK' (Nov 2016)
Matthew Healey An examination of the extent the internet has empowered young people to take greater control of their information, advice and guidance needs (2014)

Research projects

Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all research projects allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.


  • PhD in Social Policy, Humboldt University Berlin
  • MSc Sociology with Political Science and Economics, University of Berlin

Student education

I currently teach on

  • SOEE3750 Sustainability Economics in Practice
  • SOEE3771/5775 Sustainable Future (module leader)
  • SOEE5010 Research Methods

Research groups and institutes

  • Sustainability Research Institute
  • Economics and Policy for Sustainability
  • Social and Political Dimensions of Sustainability
  • Energy and Climate Change Mitigation

Postgraduate research opportunities

We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="//environment.leeds.ac.uk/research-opportunities">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.