Vision / Sustainable futures

Sustainable futures

Fields and trees but with clean and sustainable on one side, polluted and dry on other Fields and trees but with clean and sustainable on one side, polluted and dry on other

We’ve helped our partners cut CO2 emissions by 16.3m tonnes a year in recent years. Across transport, food, energy and other industries, our technologies are securing a net-zero future. Our discoveries will help achieve the UNs goals for sustainable development.

Aerial view of the Trusan, showing the river and rice paddies that regularly flood.

Conserving rivers and sustaining livelihoods in remote parts of Borneo

Academics from University of Nottingham Malaysia have been working in partnership with WWF-Malaysia to implement a range of ecologically based flood management practices in the river Trusan.

Photo of machinery with gages.

Converting wastes into value-added products

Converting wastes into value-added products

Industrial decarbonisation workshop held at Manila, Philippines

Decarbonisation for ASEAN Countries

A team of researchers have developed software to minimise CO2 emissions.

Photo of a map of Kenya.

African SCENe: bringing clean energy to low-income communities in Nairobi

University of Nottingham's African SCENe Project Brings Clean Energy to Low-Income Communities in Nairobi

Photo of a copper mine in Chile.

Driving Chile’s mining industry towards net zero

The University of Nottingham's Sustainable Approach helping to drive Chile’s mining industry towards net zero

Doctoral Training Programme research student

Closing the net zero skills gap

The University of Nottingham secured £12 million to establish the Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Resilient Chemistry (Feedstock to Function).

Photo of grain in a field.

Grain to graphene

UNNC researchers are turning agricultural waste into advanced materials for use in healthcare

Photo of large group of people outside the Nombolo Mdhluli Conference Centre in South Africa .

Valuing biodiversity

A UNNC researcher is contributing to a major international assessment of biodiversity loss and its consequences

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Turning China’s waste soil into the foundations of a greener construction industry

UNNC researchers are finding new ways of reusing waste soil

Photo of electric scooters run up and down Jalan Yos Sudarso in Agats, Asmat, West Papua (Irian Jaya), Indonesia.

Driving Indonesia’s electric transport revolution

Indonesia’s ambition to be southeast Asia’s electric vehicle powerhouse is a cornerstone of its net zero commitment. The University of Nottingham, a key partner in growing the country’s EV infrastructure and skills base, is helping deliver this green transport revolution.

Photo of An archaeological site in Ningbo with rice remains dating to 7000 years ago.

The long view

What can knowledge of past human-environment interactions tell us about future sustainable development?

Photo of Jun He in lab.

Breathing more easily

Innovative research at UNNC is helping to tackle different types of air pollution

Photo of the Centre for Sustainable Energy Technologies (CSET) building at dusk.

Building for the future

A UNNC research team is working to create the smart, low-carbon cities of tomorrow.

The GSK Carbon Neutral Laboratories for Sustainable Chemistry, Jubilee Campus, Nottingham

Our commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

At the University of Nottingham, we address the complex challenges facing our planet and are committed to making an outstanding contribution to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Screenshot of the title screen from the gamebook

Building more effective tools for environmental education

Educational resources that target children’s sense of agency are key in supporting behavioural change. To combat climate change, we need to understand how to design and implement these into the curriculum most effectively argues Jonathan Halls.

Professor Shearer West, Vice-Chancellor and President

Climate change: a university determined to make a difference

Vice-Chancellor Professor Shearer West reflects on COP27 and says to tackle the greatest challenge of our time we must accelerate the delivery of sustainable technologies and solutions.

Photograph of a clay face sculpture on a tree

The great outdoors – reimagining teaching and learning on campus

Researchers, including the School of Education’s Jenny Elliot, plus teachers, students and civic groups are developing an outdoor space on campus to share ideas and better connect communities with the environment.

Colourful mural of a woman reaching out

Assessing the effects of a changing climate on women and girls

Women are often at the forefront of climate change impacts says Dr Bethany Jackson.

Professor Edward Lester

A journey to advancing carbon capture technology

Now is the time to fast track new technologies for low energy CO2 capture, says Professor Ed Lester

Emily O'Donnell 720x315

Blue-greening cities for climate change adaptation

Dr Emily O’Donnell explains how better protecting cities like Newcastle and Nottingham from flooding can also make them greener, healthier and more pleasant places to live

Wide-angle photo of the Ingenuity Centre, Jubilee Campus

The climate crisis is deepening but here’s how we can still make a real difference

As a university, we’re committed to reducing our carbon emissions and showing leadership, says Andy Nolan

Chris Gerada standing outside on campus

Securing net zero aviation

Meeting this complex challenge demands world-changing innovation, determination and leadership, says Professor Chris Gerada

GSK Carbon Neutral Laboratory for Sustainable Chemistry

Change of plan? What the climate emergency means for young researchers

The early career researchers of today will be the climate leaders of tomorrow. We need to ensure our approach to research is aligned with a dramatically changing environment, says PhD student Max Gillingham.

Man wearing a face mask standing in front of a busy road

We need to talk about haze

A call for improved and consistent communication and engagement between the government and the people over haze

Jet engine

Robot engineers reduce carbon emissions for aviation companies

Remote-controlled robots capable of carrying out specialist repairs on aircraft could mean aerospace companies no longer need to fly engineers across the world.

Man carrying two children walking through a field

Can our grandchildren help us fund the transition to net zero?

Asking future generations to foot the bill for our actions against climate change today is both moral and practical, argues Dr Matthew Rendall.

London city at night

Using technology to decarbonise our buildings and cities

The energy used by many buildings is costly to the environment and to our bills – but technological research is changing this, says Ke Qu.

Man exploring previous climates in lake sediments

Crops for a changing environment

To understand how agriculture can adapt to a warming world, we need to look to the past and plan for the future, say Profs Matt Jones and Malcolm Bennett

Low-income urban area

Realising resilience: adaptation in fragile urban environments

Dr Arabella Fraser and international research partners are investigating how non-conflict violence risks and climate change risks overlap in cities, and what this means for adaptation.

Social justice

Faith for a safe climate future

Dr Chris Ives calls for the inclusion of religious perspectives in climate policy discussions

Woman standing in front of departures board at an airport

The aerospace algorithms making our skies cleaner

Computer scientists play a huge role in reducing aviation’s carbon footprint.

Silver tokens with colourful lights shining on them

New battery technology transforming the future of flight

Battery-powered planes could drastically reduce the environmental cost of air travel, but finding the right technology is key.

Solar energy

It’s all solar, really

Advances in solar cell technologies and energy storage could harness the power of the sun in our everyday lives, says Dr James O’Shea

woman and man examining soil and groundwater under conservation agriculture experiments

Conservation agriculture and building climate resilience in Africa

Interdisciplinary research is showing how conservation agriculture can mitigate the impact of climate change in Africa, says Murray Lark.

Cargo freight containers in a sea port at dusk

Securing a fairer global economy will help achieve our carbon targets

Professor Arijit Mukherjee is showing governments how to integrate their green goals with effective trade policies

Close up of lab equipment

Microbial gas fermentation: a carbon-negative, sustainable route to biofuels, bioplastics and industrial chemicals at scale

Professor Nigel Minton is engineering bacteria to use carbon dioxide as the building block for key components in industry and transport.

Green hydrogen

How getting a handle on hydrogen could slash aviation’s CO2 emissions

Hydrogen has the potential to be a much greener alternative to current aviation fuels, but finding a way to store it on planes requires complex research by materials scientists, chemists and engineers.

Aeroplanes parked up in rows

Recyclable aircraft materials could prove key to jet zero success

Lightweight materials are crucial in the construction of aircraft but can be tricky to recycle. New processes are needed if the aviation industry is to achieve its zero carbon aims.

Aeroplane cockpit

Intelligent electrical systems will play a key role in greener aircraft

Increasing electrification of onboard systems will help flights of the future become cleaner, greener and safer, says Dr Sharmila Sumsurooah

Air pollution

Business, human rights, law and climate change

Legal frameworks around human rights offer a means to incentivise changes in corporate behaviour to protect the climate, says Professor Robert McCorquodale

Group of farmers harvesting cocoa pods in Colombia

Empower the world's small-holders to sow the seeds of change

If agriculture is to adapt to climate change and reduce its carbon footprint, farmers themselves have to be a core part of the solution, says Prof David Salt

Plane travelling through blue sky

The emissions mission

Research at the University of Nottingham is helping create a future aviation industry that is cleaner, greener and leaner, says Dr Hitendra Hirani.

Jet engine

Artificial intelligence-driven ceramic coatings for greener aviation

Further advances in ceramic coatings, which allow aero engines to operate under extreme temperatures, are set to significantly lower CO2 emissions from aviation. Professor Tanvir Hussain explains.

Trent Basin, housing development in Nottingham

Creating net zero energy communities

A unique project at the Trent Basin Housing Development in Nottingham makes the future of fully-fledged community energy bubbles a promising reality, says Dr Eldar Naghiyev.

Cooking on open fires Africa

Clean cooking, kitchen culture and climate change

Smoky cooking fires are bad for our health as well the planet, causing ten times as many deaths as malaria

Kuka robotics

Re-writing the rules of aerospace manufacturing

Research into the factories of the future could transform the aerospace supply chain making it cleaner and more cost-effective.

Clouds from an aeroplane window

Innovating electric aircraft for greener global transport

Dr Sharmila Sumsurooah is helping net zero aviation take flight by bringing together international research to transform the industry.

PEMC Building photographed at dusk

World-leading power electronics centre at forefront of zero carbon aviation

An unrivalled new test facility has placed Nottingham at the heart of the quest for electronically powered flight, says Professor Pat Wheeler.

Prof. Dr. Xiaoyun Li and farmers in Morogoro Province, Tanzania 720x315

Enhancing the resilience of smallholder communities in Tanzania

An innovation platform is being used to fight back against climate change and food insecurity in local communities.

Two workers picking tea leaves in a tea garden

Enterprise, communities and climate change: the mobilisation of ideas

Harnessing the power of entrepreneurship offers communities most affected by climate change the opportunity to take action, says Professor Simon Mosey.

Stephen Meek

Research lights the path to net zero, but it is people who make the journey

Tackling climate change is about understanding behaviour as well as developing technology, says Stephen Meek.

A swirl of silver and gold on a black background

A revolution driven by small advances on many fronts

A multidisciplinary buzz motivates aviation researcher Professor Carol Eastwick

KLCC park, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Practical steps towards sustainability for Malaysian businesses

The Nottingham University Business School at the University of Nottingham Malaysia is supporting the country’s businesses to take practical steps towards sustainability, says Mohan V Avvari

Scale holding environment symbols

Paying for the transition to sustainable energy

A successful transition to renewable energy sources means factoring in all the costs of shifting away from fossil fuels, says Dr Hafez Abdo. 

Silhouette of grass during sunset

How understanding plant architecture builds food security

Studying the structure and physiology of plants is key to preparing agriculture for a warmer world, says Dr Alexandra Burgess

Cows in the Dairy Centre, Sutton Bonington 720x315

Good for cows, good for the planet: reducing dairy's carbon footprint

Establishing the value of alternative, sustainable sources of protein in animal feed is helping the UK dairy industry reduce its carbon footprint

Aerial photography of brown and green fields

Fixing the climate impact of nitrogen from global farming

A revolutionary technology developed at the University of Nottingham challenges farming’s reliance on greenhouse gas-emitting synthetic fertilisers.

Jessica Corner

Driving to net zero

Professor Dame Jessica Corner on creating a world-leading cluster for net zero research and innovation

Jessica Corner

COP26: an extraordinary range of people gathered in a single place to shape our future

Professor Dame Jessica Corner on what's next and the ongoing role of research in tackling the climate crisis

A bridge over a river with buildings in the background

Look to the river

Noticing nature in Glasgow will support wise climate change action, says Dr Nicole Porter

COP26 logo

COP26: we have never been better equipped to find a way forward

Our passion for innovation and the sharing of knowledge can truly change lives, says Professor Dame Jessica Corner

The 1983 United States drought

Addressing modern slavery

Dr Bethany Jackson lays out key policy recommendations for tackling the modern slavery - environmental degradation - climate change nexus.

A tomato

Long live the tomato

Research at the University of Nottingham is transforming the way breeders develop new varieties of tomato – improving shelf life while maintaining excellent taste

A tractor harvesting

Harvesting information to help farmers in post-Brexit Britain

The future of UK farming is under the spotlight more than ever. Professor Paul Wilson of the Rural Business Research Unit explains how experts are helping to navigate a shifting landscape

A drone flying over a crop field

Sowing hope: our mission to end hidden hunger

Researchers are visiting 2,000 farms in Malawi, collecting soil and crop samples to helpfight a challenge to the health of millions across sub-Saharan Africa.

Sir Martyn Poliakoff

In his element

Professor Sir Martyn Poliakoff has led the way in discovering processes to help secure a cleaner and more sustainable future.


Flocking to health clubs

A chain of new health clubs is being rolled out across the UK – with the aim of keeping the nation’s sheep flocks fit and well.

Image of a lake

Sediments reveal climate clues

‘Living deltas’ offer clues towards building a picture of environmental change over time

Illustration of a car

Smaller, lighter – and better

Extending the mileage of low-carbon electric vehicles by significantly enhancing the performance of their engines

Three aircrafts in a row

Creating greener air travel for all

Reducing the environmental impact of aircraft is vital for the future of our planet. Research at the University is helping to bring the aerospace industry together to focus on the issue.

Image of spanner in use

Can you use spanners?

Sir Martyn Poliakoff’s refreshing approach to education has inspired many in the broader scientific community and beyond

Image of gold

Gold’s devastating price

Illegal gold mining is destroying the Atrato river basin in Colombia. Dr Nick Mount is part of a multi-national team trying to reduce the impact of this environmental disaster

Carbon dioxide

Capturing a lead on climate change

Exploring the behaviour of CO2 to become a global technology leader in carbon capture and storage.

A device with a gold coating

Manufacturing the future

Manufacturing complex, high-performance coatings, devices, and biomaterials to tackle real world problems.

An image of a plant made up of salt crystals

Surviving salty soils

How wild plants adapt to tolerate salty soils is hugely important if we hope to continue to feed the world with a growing population.

Cow in a field

From waste to wealth

Water is a priceless resource, but its value after it is washed and flushed away may surprise you

Cocoa beans

From beans to biofuels

New biofuels with the potential to provide affordable clean energy, reduce poverty and help to tackle climate change.

Image of Trent Basin

Power to the people

A community project is leading the way for the UK’s renewable energy policy

Fluoride crystals

Fascinating fluorine

Green chemistry advances could reduce the lengthy process to create new drugs to just two steps

Man riding a bike with a mask on

Living in a material world

Pete Licence underlines the importance of sustainability in a world getting back on its feet

Picture of helium

A sustainable approach to ‘slippery’ gas

Technician Sanjeev Taak on how his work helps to keep low temperature research going for as long as possible

Image of Ningbo port

Power of a new ocean current

Our dependence on fossil fuels must be tackled if we are to address global warming caused by climate change

A piece of machinery

A quantum leap

Pushing the boundaries of additive manufacturing

Abstract illustration of China

Low carbon: the world joins forces with China

International expertise is vital to deliver the International Low Carbon City, a flagship environmental project in China