Professor Andy Gouldson

Professor Andy Gouldson


I am an inter-disciplinary social scientist with significant experience working on a range of issues relating to environmental policy and management. For the last decade, I have focused especially on climate change and on the case for and routes to low carbon and climate resilient development, especially in cities. I specialize in engaged, impact-oriented research. Throughout my career, I have worked closely with policy makers and regulatory and development agencies at the international, national and local levels, as well as with businesses, NGOs and community groups in various countries.

Having held posts at the LSE and the University of Bristol, I am currently Professor of Environmental Policy at the University of Leeds. I am also an adjunct professor in the Dept for Architecture and Planning at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). At the University of Leeds, I have developed the Climate Smart Cities (CSC) programme that over the last decade has prepared low carbon and climate resilient development plans for multiple cities in North and South America, Africa, Asia and Europe. I also work closely with the Global Commission on Economy and Climate and lead the economics programme of the Coalition for Urban Transitions and am co-founder and Chair of the Leeds Climate Commission

I have helped to secure significant research funding with grants from the UK Research Councils, the UK Government (FCO, DECC, DFID, BEIS, Environment Agency), the EU, the International Growth Centre, the Climate and Development Knowledge Network, the International Development Research Centre, the Chinese National Science Foundation, the Peruvian, Indonesian and Malaysian Governments and various foundations and industrial funders. I have published widely in international journals on environment, energy, climate, development, cities and business.

I have also lead and developed inter-disciplinary research institutes/centres that combine the wider social sciences with the natural sciences and engineering. I have done this in my role as Director of the Sustainability Research Institute at the University of Leeds (2006-2009) and the ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy (2008-2014), and most recently as Dean for Inter-Disciplinary Research at the University of Leeds (2015-2018).


  • Chair, Leeds Climate Commission.
  • Economics Lead, Coalition for Urban Transitions.
  • Deputy Director, ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy.

Research interests

My recent and current research examines the case for climate action in cities and the ways of promoting low carbon, climate resilient development.

  • Evaluating the case for climate action in cities by pioneering the development of 'mini-Stern' reviews, and using these to develop climate smart development plans for numerous cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Kolkata, Johor Bahru, Kigali, Lima, Recife and Calgary and for cities and communities across the UK.
  • Assessing the pre-conditions for successful climate action in cities in countries such as China, India, Mexico, Uganda and Tanzania, with an emphasis on the ways in which climate action projects can deliver on development goals and development programmes can contribute to climate goals. 
  • Exploring the potential of innovative collaborative governance arrangements that draw together the public, private and third sectors to enable cities to act on climate change, with a particular focus on Leeds and other cities and communities across the UK.
  • Understanding how to stimulate significant investments in low carbon and climate resilient development through innovative forms of green finance and new approaches to the deployment, delivery and governance of available funds.
<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>


  • BA (Hons) Economics
  • MSc Environmental Policy
  • PhD Environmental Policy

Student education

I contribute to different courses on environmental policy and governance, climate change and sustainable cities and am currently supervising a number of PhD, MSc and BSc student projects.

I have supervised c15 PhD students to successful completion and have examined c30 PhDs internationally.

Research groups and institutes

  • Sustainability Research Institute

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>