Andy Gouldson

Andy Gouldson


I have worked on a wide range of issues relating to environmental policy and management since 1990. In the first phase of my career, I mainly worked on environmental policy and regulation and on corporate responsibility. Since 2008, my main focus has been on climate change and how to promote low carbon, climate resilient development, especially at the local or regional scales. I specialize in engaged, impact-oriented research, and throughout my career have worked closely with policy makers, regulators, development agencies, businesses, NGOs and communities both within the UK and internationally. 

I have a first degree in economics, a master’s degree in environmental policy and a PhD on environmental regulation. I have held academic posts at the LSE, the University of Bristol and the University of Leeds. I directed the Sustainability Research Institute at the University of Leeds (2006-2010), was one of the founders and directors of the ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy (2008 to date) and am one of the founders and leads of the ESRC Place-based Climate Action Network (2019 to date). Within the University of Leeds, I have been Dean for Inter-disciplinary Research (2015-2018) and am currently Director of Policy Leeds, a cross-university initiative established to promote collaboration between researchers and policy makers. 

Within the UK, I have worked closely with central government – for example through the Social Sciences Expert Panel for the UK Departments for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and Energy, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and in an advisory role for DEFRA in its strategic reviews of environmental legislation and policy (2012-2017). I was one of the founders and am Chair of the Leeds Climate Commission which brings together actors from the public, private and third sectors to promote climate action at the city-scale (2016 to date). This model is now being replicated across the UK, with new Climate Commissions now established in locations including Belfast, Cambridgeshire, Edinburgh, Essex, Croydon, Doncaster, Kirklees, Lincoln and Surrey. I am currently an adviser to the All Party Parliamentary Group on the Green New Deal, and a member of the Expert Roster for the UK PACT (Partnering for Accelerated Climate Transitions) initiative. 

Internationally, I was an advisor on the environmental dimensions of urbanization for the Chinese Centre for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (2012-13). I have worked with academic partners and with national and local governments, development agencies and NGOs on pathways to low carbon, climate resilient development in cities in China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Brazil, Peru, Argentina, Paraguay, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda and Canada. I have also worked closely with the Global Commission on Economy and Climate and am a member of the steering group for the Coalition for Urban Transitions


  • Chair, Leeds Climate Commission.
  • Co-lead, ESRC Place-Based Climate Action Network
  • Deputy Director, ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy.

Research interests

  • ESRC Place Based Climate Action Network

with the LSE, University of Edinburgh, Queen’s University Belfast, and working with Climate Commissions around the UK (including in Leeds, Belfast, Edinburgh, Surrey, Essex, Cambridgeshire, Lincoln, York and Kirklees).

  • ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy

with the LSE, focusing on low carbon development in cities

  • Front Runners in Urban Climate Action in the Global South

       Global Commission on Economy and Climate’s Coalition for Urban Transitions, evaluating leading cases of urban climate action in China, India, Mexico, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania. 

<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 Regulation

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>