The School is a research driven creative hub, addressing the challenges of the Anthropocene in an holistic,
creative environment. This is supported by disciplinarily based Research Cells that staff elect to join, based
upon their expertise and interests. Disciplinary excellence underpins communities of practice that enable
both specialist and cross-cutting projects to be developed and realised. Each Research Cell is headed by a
Professor or Senior Academic and is outlined below:
Futures: Design research Identifies, conceptualises and designs the buildings, spaces, landscapes and systems that support potential lifestyles for the 21st century, situations enabling prosperous futures that address the shared environmental challenges posed by the Climate Emergency. This develops opportunities for innovation presented by digital and emergent technologies, with wide-ranging cross-disciplinary theoretical and applied practice.
Presents: Engages professional practices to expose, develop insight, design and propose ideas in net-zero ecologically and culturally diverse architecture and planning. A range of approaches including research through design reimagines how we can live, support better health and infuse environmental guardianship into prosperous places, economies and societies. Societally engaged, cross-disciplinary and leading-edge design research underpins to this work.
Pasts: Architectural and planning history research is a lens through which we understand natural and built environments and question preconceived histories. This critical approach reveals areas of obscured practice, latent and contested histories. Research into Pasts, their operation and character is a crucial mechanism to understand, develop, reimagine and constructively change our presents and futures.
The Environmental and Spatial Governance (ENSGOV) Research Group critically engages with spatial and regulatory practices that underpin and challenge effective and fair governance, particularly those associated with sustainable and just transitions. This includes issues such as public participation, environmental justice, housing, marine governance, energy transition and the social economy. The core focus of ENSGOV is its critical social science approach (particularly around issues of power, knowledge, spatial outcomes and resource distribution) and it seeks to progress this in a wider inter-disciplinary environment, working with researchers with expertise in issues such as health, design, natural science and from other social science perspectives. The research undertaken by ENSGOV is also strongly guided by processes of co-design and co-production with close partners from wider community, policy and practice organisations.
The Water and Energy Resources Group has six members of academic staff who concentrate on research in the fields of potable water supply, flooding and SuDS, and renewable energies from waves, tides and floating wind and solar systems. They have an extensive portfolio of UKRI, InvestNI / CASE and EU funded projects that, over the past 3 years, have exceeded £6.75m in value. Prominent in these would be the £400k project through InvestNI/CASE on floating solar energy, the £300k (to QUB) US-Ireland Het-Wec programme, the £520k (to QUB) EC H2020 LifWEC project and the £1.5m EPSRC SALINA project with Imperial College London. The group is part of the Research Centre for Sustainable Energy (PRP) at Queens, with connections to the Centre for Advanced Sustainable Energy (CASE) and the Bryden Centre. The group lead is Professor Gerard Hamill.
Civil Engineering Infrastructure is the foundation upon which our society and our economy is built. Our nation’s resilience is dependent upon adapting to change and the smooth functioning of complex systems which are agile, inclusive and connected between different areas. Our research group promotes innovative future-thinking to match the sustained pressures our planet is facing and addresses how a range of critical infrastructure systems adapt to climate stresses, extreme event loading conditions and investigates system interdependencies while also developing a deeper understanding of pathways for transitioning to greener solutions, such as biobased materials for the built environment. Intelligent and sustainable infrastructure which is future-proof will meet our drive towards NetZero Carbon (NZC).
Across the Natural and Built Environment, GERG researchers are engaged with finding sustainable solutions to support communities and natural systems in mitigating and adapting to the challenges of a changing climate. Engineers and Earth/Environmental Scientists at GERG are working closely with practitioners and stakeholder communities in interdisciplinary collaborations to build resilience to emerging environmental challenges. Focus areas of research activities at GERG include nature-based solutions and restoration, sustainable water/energy resources management, flood risk management, beyond net-zero engineering, circular economy, environment & human health and risk management approaches to environmental contamination.
For further information:
'Places, Archaeologies, Societies, Time' - encompasses the fields of historical-cultural geography
and historical-cultural archaeology especially. Bringing together researchers with a shared interest in exploring places, archaeologies, societies, and time, key research strands for PAST include analysing and interpreting historic landscapes; cultural heritage including museums and built heritage; public engagement and community archaeology; histories and geographies of scientific practice; digital methodologies encompassing geospatial technologies and geophysical survey techniques; the cultural politics of places and place-making, and archaeologies of knowledge and geographical enquiry. PAST works closely with our research centres in SNBE, including the Centre for Data Digitisation and Analysis (CDDA) and Centre for Community Archaeology (CCA), as well as external units in Queen’s, such as Heritage Hub @ QUB and The Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice. Our researchers are globally connected and lead major UKRI funded international research projects such as ‘OS200: Digitally Re-Mapping Ireland’s Ordnance Survey Heritage’ and ‘SUNDASIA: Human Adaptation to Coastal Evolution: Late Quaternary evidence from Southeast Asia’. The PAST cluster lead is Prof Keith Lilley (email@example.com).
‘Populations; Economies; Ontologies; Politics; Landscapes; Environments’ incorporates the fields of cultural, social, and population geography. Key research themes include: population geography, development geography, health geography, political geography, geopolitics, economic geography, advanced quantitative methods, geographical information science. Specific areas of expertise include:
Ethnic and religious segregation, diversity, migration, deprivation and spatial inequalities, population change, conflict and borders, religion and geopolitics, environmental exposures and water quality, international development; spatial statistics and geographical information science, longitudinal data analysis. Researchers within the group are members of QUB centres including the Centre for GIS and Geomatics within the School of Natural and Built Environment and The Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice. Our researchers lead major funded initiatives including ‘Geographies of Ethnic Diversity and Inequalities’ (ESRC), ‘Northern Ireland Longitudinal Study’ (ESRC), & Torture as a Political Technology: A Socio-Political Analysis of the Widespread Use of Torture'(ESRC), ‘Trajectories of Deprivation in the UK’ (Nuffield Foundation). The PEOPLE cluster lead is Prof Chris Lloyd (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The PLANET group facilitates and cultivates interdisciplinary research across the disciplines of Physical Geography, Archaeology-Palaeoecology and Civil Engineering. Research within the group is well placed to address the global challenges of resilience to environmental risks to natural and built heritage; long-term environmental change; environment and health; and resource mapping and conservation through the applications of remote sensing, GIS, and spatial and temporal modelling. The group works closely with the School's 14CHRONO Centre for Climate, the Environment and Chronology and the Centre for Geographical Information Science and Geomatics. Ongoing projects are investigating wetland (peatland; lake) responses to environmental change; climate change impacts and modelling; efficacy of implementing Carbon capture and storage; radiocarbon calibration and age-modelling of 14C dated cores; and the application of new analytical approaches in the fields of geoforensics, soil geochemistry and environmental health, amongst others. The group lead is Professor Helen Roe.