Professor Milena Buchs

Professor Milena Buchs


Professor Milena Büchs is an environmental social scientist and specialises on sustainable welfare, social-ecological policy and just transitions. Milena’s research draws on theories and methods from ecological economics, social policy and sociology and focuses on questions such as 1) how can we develop greener and more growth-independent welfare states and social policies; 2) how can the distributional and wellbeing impacts of climate policies be improved; 3) how can we understand and promote transitions towards postgrowth / wellbeing economies?

Milena is currently a Co-Investigator (Leeds PI) of the Horizon Europe project MAPS: Models, Assessment and Policies for Sustainability (2024-2028); a Co-Investigator of the Horizon Europe Project ToBe: Towards a sustainable wellbeing economy” (2023-2026), PI of the EU Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship ShaRe (Fellow: Dr Diana Ivanova) which investigates the role of sharing within and between households for carbon reduction (2019-2024), and Co-I of the Competence Centre on Just Transitions funded by the Hans Böckler Foundation (2023-2026). She was also Co-I on the Centre for Research on Energy Demand Solutions (CREDS), examining carbon emission inequalities and fairness implications of climate policies. Milena has also led and collaborated on five other major, interdisciplinary UK Research and Innovation grants (see details below), and has supervised twelve PhD students to completion so far.

Milena joined SRI in 2016. Prior to that, she was lecturing at the University of Southampton in Sociology and Social Policy (2005-16). During winter semester 2023, she was a guest professor at the University of Vienna.


  • Director of Postgraduate Research Studies

Research interests

Current research projects

Co-I in the Horizon Europe project “ToBe“ Towards a sustainable wellbeing economy”. Our work package conducts wellbeing economy case studies in the global north and the global south to understand drivers and barriers to transformation.

PI of the Marie SkÅ‚odowska-Curie project “ShaRe – The potential of Sharing Resources for mitigating carbon emissions and other environmental impacts” (2019-2023), MSC Individual Fellow: Dr Diana Ivanova

Co-I on the Competence Centre on Just Transitions, Hans-Böckler Foundation (2023-2026)

Previous research projects (selection)

Co-I in the UK Centre for Research into Energy Demand Solutions (CREDS) (2018-23). In a paper I led for Nature Energy, we demonstrate that targeting high energy use can achieve substantial emission savings, even if fuel poverty is addressed.

PI of 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

Researcher Co-I, EPSRC Programme Grant Liveable Cities (2012-2017). Milena led a field experiment on a carbon calculator intervention for carbon reduction, and a project on the role of health status for household energy use.

Co-I on two UKRI funded projects, The role of community-based initiatives in energy saving and the Third Sector Research Centre Environment Stream, Milena led projects that investigated the capacity of different communities to reduce carbon emissions.


PhD supervision

To date, I have supervised twelve PhD students to completion. I have acted as internal or external examiner for 13 PhD theses in the UK, Norway, Iceland, Austria and Germany.

Currently, I co-supervise the following PGR students:

Nick Langridge: Examining the environmental implications of Universal Basic Income

Catherine Graves: Virtual reality and pro-environmental behaviour change

Sop Satchwell: Governance of energy and transport infrastructures and services for wellbeing and planetary boundaries

Mathilde Rainard: Fairness implications of low carbon energy policies in the UK and France, an intersectional approach

Laura Angresius: Evaluating wellbeing economy initiatives

Jana Brandl: Eco-social policy coordination



<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD in Social Policy, Humboldt University Berlin (Summa cum laude / Distinction)
  • MSc Sociology with Political Science and Economics, University of Berlin (Distinction)

Professional memberships

  • European Society of Ecological Economics
  • Social Policy Association

Student education

In 2023/4 I teach on the Masters module FOEV5001 Cities and Sustainability.

Research groups and institutes

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

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>