Andy Gouldson

Andy Gouldson


I have worked on a wide range of issues relating to environmental policy and management since 1990, with a particular focus on climate change since 2008. Having worked on environmental policy and corporate responsibility, in recent years my main focus has been on how to promote low carbon, climate resilient development, especially at the local level within the UK and internationally. I specialize in applied, engaged, impact-oriented research, and throughout my career have worked closely with policy makers, regulators, development agencies, businesses and NGOs at the international, national and local levels. 

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 helped to establish and then led the MSc in Environmental Policy and Regulation at the LSE (1995 to 2005). 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 Associate Pro-Vice Chancellor/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 have also worked closely with the Environment Agency and with local authorities across the UK. I founded and am now 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 such as Belfast, Edinburgh, York, Croydon, Lincoln, Surrey, Essex and Cambridgeshire. I am currently an adviser to the All Party Parliamentary Group on the Green New Deal. I teach on the MSc in Sustainable Urban Development at the University of Oxford (2014 to date).

Internationally, I was an adviser 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 government, development agencies and NGOs to conduct applied research on pathways to low carbon, climate resilient development in cities in China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, 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.  I am a member of the Expert Roster for the UK PACT (Partnering for Accelerated Climate Transitions) initiative.


  • 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>