Institute for a Sustainable World

Vision Statement:

The Queen’s University Belfast Institute for a Sustainable World  aims to be an internationally recognised centre for interdisciplinary excellence in education and research which will provide innovative solutions through science, engineering and the social sciences to the challenges posed by the social, economic and environmental transitions required for one-world living.

The influence of the human race on Planet Earth continues to grow and, for the first time in history, is having a global impact on land, sea and air with consequences for the quality of life for the current generation and massive change for future generations.

Queen's University Belfast is attempting to solve many of the pressing problems, including the prevention of pollution, the remediation of polluted sites, the development of clean water technologies, and the development of social and ethical policies through the creation of The Institute for a Sustainable World. The aim of the ISW is to provide an environment which encourages high-quality, innovative, inter-disciplinary research, to develop new modules and degree courses, particularly at postgraduate level, and to play a lead role in the 'greening' of QUB.

The QUB Vision of Sustainable Development

Sustainable development poses some of the most serious challenges of the 21st century. QUB has decided to prioritise research and teaching on sustainable development as a major thematic focus for the coming years.

The QUB vision of sustainable development agenda is essentially a ‘triple bottom line’ analysis - which is explicitly supported by the UK Sustainable Development Commission.

The triple bottom line analysis is that sustainable development requires fundamental social, economic and environmental change. Achieving that objective requires a different way of working - in particular that we embrace a genuinely interdisciplinary approach in which all views have value.

In its initial phase, the new Institute for a Sustainable World will focus on 5 major research themes. They are:

  1. Energy and Climate Change
  2. Water for Life
  3. Justice and Governance
  4. Sustainable Communities
  5. Sustainable Industry, Economics and Innovation

These research themes are:

Contact Details

Initial contact can be made with the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, Professor Tom Millar, at

Associated University Areas

Centre for the Theory and Application of Catalysis (CenTACat)
Coastal Engineering
Ecology, Evolution, Behaviour and Environmental Economics

Environmental Change

Environmental Engineering Research Centre (EERC)
Gibson Institute

Queen's University Ionic Liquids Laboratories (QUILL)
Queen's University Management School

Institute of Agri-Food & Land Use

Research Councils

Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)