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Durham University



Research Groups

In addition to taught modules and degrees, there are a number of University Research Groups exploring matters relating to environmental sustainability and Fairtrade.

Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience (IHRR)

Durham Energy Institute (DEI)

Department of Biosciences

Department of Earth Sciences

School of Modern Languages and Cultures

Durham Business School

Durham Global Challenges

Research Suggestions

In addition to the range of environmentally-related degrees and modules on offer, students can also often engage with these topics via their dissertation, research project or thesis. Examples of such projects which have previously taken place include proposals by postgraduates students with the Centre for Doctoral Training in Energy Research, an MBA project exploring recycling behaviours of University members and ecological surveys of the University’s woodland, ancient meadow and Botanic Garden.

Suggestions for potential student research projects relating to environmental sustainability are listed below. Please note that this list is not exhaustive and students should discuss research proposals with their supervisor. Please also share any relevant research findings with Greenspace by contacting

  • How do motivations for positive environmental behavioural changes differ between staff/students and why?
  • How are behaviours passed on to incoming staff/students?
  • How can environmental behaviours be changed?
  • Tracking and monitoring populations across the University estate.
  • What risks/threats are there for these populations?
  • Buyer behaviour and Marketing communications relating to Fairtrade products/ resource usage/ environmental considerations. Consumer environmental behaviour, Consumer behaviour e.g. purchasing of green products, use of resources (Electricity, Gas, Water), travel behaviour.
  • Employee environmental behaviour.
  • Social Marketing to achieve positive environmental behaviour change.

To discuss possible topics for study within the Marketing Department, Durham Business School, please contact Dr Victoria Wells (

  • How is environmental commitment justified within a business setting?
  • How do environmental commitments balance with a business' other aims?
  • What responsibility does Education have to promote positive environmental behaviour?
  • How can education influence environmental behaviours?
  • What is the potential for environmental improvement to the University's energy/waste/water systems?
  • Which renewable technologies are suitable for a University environment?
  • Climate change in poetry.
  • Representations of nature.
  • What is 'environmental sustainability'?
  • What climatic threats face Durham University/Durham/the UK/ the World?
  • What are the health/economic costs of pollution from energy production?
  • How does Fairtrade or fair trade impact different communities?
  • Reflections on environmental schemes and attitudes in other countries and lessons to be learned.
  • Is living sustainably a moral obligation?
  • What does the Environment/Fairtrade mean to different faiths and cultures?