The School was brought together in 2016 from the pre-existing Schools of Geography, Archaeology and Paleoecology (GAP) and the School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering (SPACE), with the aim to exploit cross-disciplinary synergies in environment, sustainability, infrastructure, culture, design and heritage. Inter-disciplinary work has developed through 3 cross-disciplinary research clusters, each headed by a Director of Research, as well as investing in existing disciplinary strengths through 5 Heads of Discipline. Numbers of PGR and PGT have also grown over this time: at present there are around 125 PhD students in the School.
The School offers undergraduate, joint-honours, taught masters and postgraduate research programmes. All of our disciplines offer professionally accredited programmes: the most recent of these was Archaeology & Palaeoecology, which has now achieved accredited pathway status through the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (CIfA) and University Archaeology UK (UAUK). NBE operates as a leading research-led School setting the standard in the field through high-quality teaching and exceptional industry links. Programmes provide a rich learning experience valued by employers, professional organisations and academic institutions.
The School’s vision is to be a creative hub, a place, which investigates the challenges of the Anthropocene in an holistic, creative and inter-disciplinary way. The School has much impactful work in urbanism, community, heritage, infrastructure, population and climate change: several of the Queens Social Charter Projects are hosted within the School, and there are good links with the ‘Energy’ Pioneer Research Programme (PRP); and Global Research Institutes, The Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice and the Institute for Global Food Security (IGFS). Outside the University, there are excellent connections and collaborations with the Geological Survey NI, Belfast City Council, the Ministerial Advisory Group and East Side Partnership, amongst many others.