STACEES Research Theme Development

Climate change and environmental sustainability are some of the most critical challenges facing our planet. Across the disciplinary breadth of the University of St Andrews, our researchers are addressing key questions on some of the most pressing issues of our generation.

From energy ethics, climate justice and sustainable development to marine ecosystems, biodiversity tracking and green energy, a diverse range of world-leading research on sustainability is taking place at the University.

How can we build on and synergise these areas of excellence in order to approach complex, far-ranging problems – such as the climate crisis – in a deeply connected, dynamic and inclusive way?

In line with STACEES’ ambitions to develop and strengthen cross-disciplinary research collaboration across academic schools at the University, we have been working to identify promising co-working areas that members of our research community are enthusiastic about and excited by.

Following the Sustainability ‘Big Ideas’ Workshop in March 2023, the STACEES team identified seven cross-disciplinary themes that synergise the expertise and interests of members of our broad cross-school research community. STACEES gathered feedback from researchers on the proposed themes in July/August 2023. Following some theme refinement based on the feedback, we invited researchers to choose a theme (or themes) based on their interests. This process resulted in promising levels of engagement for all seven themes, which are:

  1. Biodiversity, Ecosystems and Nature-based Solutions​
  2. Climate Change: Understanding and Communication
  3. Cultural Politics of Environment
  4. Health, Wellbeing and Climate Change​
  5. Heritage and Environmental History
  6. Monitoring, Predicting, and Planning for a Sustainable Future
  7. Responsible Innovation, Production and Consumption

These seven research themes guided and gave structure to our follow-up series of seven research networking events scheduled between November 2023 and January 2024. At each theme meeting, an enthusiastic colleague from each theme group kick-started the discussions with a short ‘conversation-starter’ presentation, followed by some semi-structured roundtable discussions. The STACEES team would like to thank everyone who has attended the theme meetings so far and special thanks go to colleagues who have helped kick-start the conversations.

Next steps & how to get involved

The next steps for progressing all seven themes will not look identical across the board, however one cross-cutting ‘next step’ will be a second round of networking meetings from February 2024.  We look forward to sharing details about the next round of theme activities soon! All themes remain open to colleagues at the University of St Andrews and you are welcome to get involved, even if you didn’t attend the first round of meetings. Please contact [email protected] for our short theme sign-up form.

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