Our position within the University
The Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) is an institution within the University of Cambridge’s School of Technology. Our work contributes to the University’s mission in the field of sustainability leadership and draws upon many of the strengths of the University though our engagement with research, but also though our work with individual academics.
"CISL is sustained by the continuing and indeed increasing relevance of the work it does. In a field which grows thicker every day with science and policy, and where the body of stakeholders grows continually, CISL has proved itself to be a trusted expert voice – a voice which interprets NGOs to big business, and business to academia, when they seem to speak different languages."
Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, Vice-Chancellor, on the occasion of CISL’s 25th Anniversary celebration
Strategic, multi-disciplinary focus on the challenge of sustainability
The University of Cambridge has a critical role to play to help the world respond to a singular challenge: how to provide for as many as nine billion people by 2050 within a finite envelope of land, water and natural resources, whilst adapting to the destabilising effect of a warmer, less predictable climate.
This challenge cannot be solved by any one discipline alone. Solutions will need to be cross-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary, embracing science, technology, economics, politics, international relations, humanities, industry and commerce. The University engages in cutting-edge research across disciplines. Many of the University’s Strategic Research Initiatives are directly focused upon developing solutions to social and environmental challenges, focusing on Public policy, Public health, Conservation, Energy, and Global Food Security.
Global perspective and reach
The scale of today’s research questions demand that researchers work collaboratively across national boundaries. Cambridge achieves this through international engagement with peer institutions, governments, NGOs, international charities and policymakers around the world, both to collaborate on research and to translate the results for the benefit of society, especially in the fields of conservation, education and addressing world poverty.
The University welcomes students from over 120 different countries for its courses and its executive education. Cambridge has the largest alumni network of any university in the world, with over 52,000 overseas alumni from more than 180 countries.
Fostering learning, embracing challenge, opening minds
For over 800 years, Cambridge has attracted many of the very best minds, not only academics who are international experts in their fields, but also leading thinkers from the worlds of business, policy, finance and society, all of whom recognise the importance of the interchange of ideas, and of fostering knowledge, understanding and new thinking.
Cambridge’s approach to learning, through encouraging debate and discussion, challenging assumptions and exploring new perspectives and insights – provides exhilarating intellectual satisfaction and builds learners’ capability to engage widely and to address complex challenges.
Working with business: innovation, enterprise and solutions development
Cambridge has many business partners, working together to transform ideas into ground-breaking applications and products. These collaborations range from research projects and enterprise initiatives through to the co-creation of solutions to shared challenges and to the provision of executive and professional development courses.
Cambridge also benefits from a rich local business community in the form of science parks, incubators and innovation centres. The Cambridge Cluster or Silicon Fen, is now the most successful technology cluster in Europe and one of the most successful in the world.