Dr Christian Bretter

Dr Christian Bretter


I am a Senior Research Fellow in environmental psychology, particularly interested in the intersection of environmental behavior (such as transport usage or food waste), social psychology, and political psychology. Given my background as an engineer, I am mainly interested in applying (and learning) quantitative methods such as experimental designs, SEM, or panel data to achieve my research objectives. Nonetheless, I also use qualitative methods such as semi-structured interviews to gain better insights into specific phenomena. After completing my undergraduate degree and gaining significant experience in the industry, I sought to diversify my skill set and decided to study Engineering Business Management at the University of Warwick. It was here where I became interested in learning more about why people behave in certain ways and how, if possible at all, we can encourage them to change their behavior. After having spent another year in the UK construction sector, I went to the University of Leeds to dedicate the next three years to my PhD in Organisational Behaviour. These years have sparked my interest in understanding environmental behavior and the psychological factors that influence it. Hence I started working as an ESRC-funded Research Fellow in Environmental Psychology with particular focus on better understanding the psychological and behavioral factors driving household food waste. Working with different institutions such as the Waste & Resource Action Programme (WRAP), I have also launched and tested different interventions to reduce household food waste in the UK. After successful completion of this project, I have now joined the Institute for Transport Studies (ITS) to examine, among other activities, the factors driving transport usage (particularly car use) and, building on this assessment, to explore possible avenues for behaviour change to reduce demand for individual car ownership. 


Prizes/ awards

Outstanding Academic Performance Prize (PhD Faculty of Business, 2022)

Leeds Doctoral Scholarship (2017)

E-fellows.net scholarship for outstanding performance (German career network, 2019)

Scholarship for exceptional performance from the University of Warwick for the MSc in Engineering Business Management (2015)

Honoured for two years of extraordinary work by the Coorporative State University for achievements that resulted from volunteering engagement (2014)


Professional Experience

Vp plc, Commercial Management Graduate Scheme, UK (Oct 2016 - Sep 2017)

KSPG AG, Leading Project Manager for R&D, Germany (Oct 2014 - Sep 2015)

Full CV and References are available on request.

Research interests

I am mainly interested in the intersection of environmental behavior (such as transport usage or food waste), social psychology, and political psychology. Understanding why humans behave environmentally (and why not) through the lens of social psychology and political psychology is at the core of my research. Before my current role, I was involved in an ESRC-funded project in which we examine the drivers of household food waste. Now, I am examining the drivers of different means of transport and how they change over time (car use in particular). Additionally, I am working on examining how human values shape individual approval of environmental policies and how such values may (or may not) change over time. Ultimately, I aim to conduct rigorous research that enhances our psychological understanding of environmental (and political) behavior, thereby informing policymakers and practitioners to make better-informed decisions. 

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


  • BEngĀ Mechanical Engineering, Corporate State University (Mosbach, Germany)
  • MScĀ Engineering Business Management (with distinction), The University of Warwick (Coventry, UK)
  • PhD Organisational Behaviour, University of Leeds (Leeds, UK)

Professional memberships

  • American Psychological Association (APA)

Student education

I have extensive experience in teaching both undergraduate and postgraduate modules across the faculties of business (LUBS) and environment (School of Earth and Environment) at the University of Leeds. As part of these roles, I have also marked various student assignments.