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Our Research

Research Into Sustainability Issues

Cardiff University is internationally recognised as being among the top tier of Britain's research-intensive universities. The University is also unusual in the degree to which sustainable development research is a key strength across a wide range of disciplines. This strength is reflected in a number of major research funding awards and the establishment of leading research centres, including the cross-University Sustainable Places Research Institute.

Orangutan and its young. Picture courtesy Rudi Delveaux.

The University's Biosciences researchers use genetic techniques to help conserve rare and endangered species. Picture courtesy Rudi Delveaux.

  • The Building Research Establishment (BRE) Trust Centre in Sustainable Engineering, which aims to pave the way for a new generation of digital buildings that have lifelong resilience and adaptability to their environment, usage and occupancy;
  • The Centre for Automotive Industry Research (CAIR), based at the Business School, which focuses on the broader business, strategic, social, environmental and economic impacts of global automobility and of the sector that provides it;
  • The Cardiff Catalysis Institute, which is a centre of excellence for catalysis within the UK, creating faster, cleaner, economical and more sustainable processes, including research into more efficient production of biorenewables.
  • The Centre for Integrated Renewable Energy Generation and Supply (CIREGS), based in the School of Engineering, which aims to meet the challenges of moving towards more extensive use of renewable energy resources, and optimised energy infrastructure;
  • The Centre for Research in the Built Environment (CRiBE), based at the Welsh School of Architecture at Cardiff University, with a primary aim in the effective and sustainable design, construction and operation of the built environment;
  • The Centre for Research into Energy, Waste and the Environment, based in the School of Engineering, whose focus is to provide efficient, reliable heat and power generation, whilst moving towards a lower carbon economy; 
  • The Changing: Earth and Ocean research group, based within the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, which aims to understand the causes and consequences of change in the Earth system including Earth's long history of natural climate variability, processes affecting the surface environment, and how anthropogenic climate change impacts the environment and health;
  • The Earth Surface Processes research group, in the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, which investigates the physical processes (including human activities) that create the environments and landscapes in which we live;
  • The Energy Systems Research Institute, which has been designed specifically to create an integrated energy systems approach. Drawing on diverse research expertise, the interdisciplinary Institute will aim to help meet the world’s increasing demand for energy in a sustainable and socially acceptable way.
  • The Institute of Energy, based in the School of Engineering, which is an innovative and pioneering research centre with a mission to advance energy technology and play a key role in addressing the increasing demand for sustainable and low carbon technologies;
  • The Geoenvironmental Research Centre (GRC), which is tackling the problems caused by the environmental effects of waste, regionally and around the world, and is providing new solutions to energy generation;
  • The Hydro-Environmental Research Centre, based in the School of Engineering, which pursues research into the development and application of computer models for investigating flow, water quality, sediment and contaminant transport processes, in coastal waters, estuaries and river basins. The Centre is also at the cutting-edge of tidal stream energy research, designing turbines to exploit the potential of tidal streams such as the Severn Estuary to provide clean and reliable renewable energy.
  • The Institute of Green Electronic Systems - Communications, Sensors and Materials, based in the School of Engineering, which is engaged in world class research in the fundamental science and engineering applications of magnetic and electronic materials, wireless communications systems, sensor technologies, signal processing and microfluidics;
    Cartoon representation of abrupt climate change showing opposing temperature responses in either hemisphere of the planet

    Researchers at the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences are investigating the mechanisms behind abrupt climate change. Image courtesy Dr Stephen Barker.

  • The Living: Earth and Ocean research group, based in the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, which studies biogeochemical processes today and fossil inferences of their past roles;
  • The Low Carbon Research Institute (LCRI), based at the Welsh School of Architecture at Cardiff University, a £50M world-leading initiative; which will develop capacity and facilities around the existing areas of low carbon and energy expertise in Wales, whilst being international in its outlook, developing a strategic long term programme of research;
  • The Organisms and Environment research division, within the School of Biosciences, whose aim is to understand the ecological, health and genetic consequences of environmental change on biological diversity;
  • The Risk, Science, Health and the Media group in the School of Journalism, which researches the media coverage of topical issues including sustainability;
  • The Sustainable Places Research Institute, a meeting place for world-leading sustainability science, focussed on exploring innovative solutions for a more sustainable future;
  • The Understanding Risk research group, a multi-institutional, interdisciplinary group which includes members of the School of Psychology. The group examines risk in real-life situations including public perception of climate change risks and related technologies;
  • The Water Research Institute, a multidisciplinary research institute, which aims to empower governments, businesses and communities to resolve water management issues by developing efficient, equitable systems for water use and management, built on resilient ecosystem services;
  • The Wolfson Centre for Magnetics, based in the School of Engineering, where research includes more flexible and efficient energy generation and distribution;

and many other research groups.

For more information on the University's world-leading research programme, please see the University's Research homepage.