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Research

The University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) is located within one of the world’s leading universities, and our extensive reach into the business, policy and finance communities uniquely places us to channel research into business and policy solutions. 

Our goal is to deliver consistently high-quality independent research that strengthens the case for ​action to build a sustainable economy.

Our research draws on multidisciplinary thinking, grounded in ​the insights and ​experience of exceptional people from business, policy, civil society and academia. Through The Prince of Wales Global Sustainability Fellowship Programme we are building a cohort of world-class researchers targeting breakthrough solutions to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

 

Supporting innovation to address global problems


CISL is a pioneer in formulating research to support innovation in sustainable business and policy practice. Known as transdisciplinary research, or research that is co-designed by academics and research users, our work explores fundamental research questions arising from real-world problems faced by practitioners. The ‘problem-focus’ of our research requires us to draw on unique combinations of ​academic disciplines.

 

Our work


Our ten-year plan to rewire the economy to deliver the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provides an umbrella and context for much of our research work. At present we publish a combination of academic working papers, practitioner-based reports and short articles. We expect The Prince of Wales Global Sustainability Fellowship Programme to contribute academic journal articles to this range of outputs.​

CISL’s Centre for Sustainable Finance aims to provide the information and collaborations required to build a sustainable financial system. Our COP21: Results and Implications for Pathways and Policies for Low Emissions European Societies (RIPPLES) project takes an interdisciplinary approach, aiming to analyse the energy systems and economic transformations required in order to implement commitments made by countries in the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

 

The Prince of Wales Global Sustainability Fellowship Programme


The Prince of Wales Global Sustainability Fellowship Programme aims to attract academics from around the world to collaborate with peers, companies and policymakers to identify breakthrough solutions to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Fellowship Programme will help to mobilise global evidence on challenges such as inequality, nutrition and environmental protection, with a view to enabling companies and policymakers to play a catalytic role in building a sustainable economy.

Read more about The Prince of Wales Global Sustainability Fellowship Programme

 

Other Fellowship schemes


Our CISL Fellowship schemes enable us to utilise the skills and experience of exceptional people from business, policy, civil society and academia to support our work in building a sustainable economy.

CISL Fellows and Visiting Fellows are instrumental at a strategic level as ambassadors, expert contributors or high-level connectors. The title of Visiting Fellow is given to academics who may spend intermittent periods in Cambridge furthering the mission of CISL’s work through engaging with colleagues across the Institute and facilitating co-operation with academics across the University of Cambridge. 

Read more about our CISL Fellows.

 

Core research themes


Our research programme is characterised by a relentless focus on real-world solutions, encompassing relevance, practicality and research impact. Our research framework is informed by our Rewiring the Economy plan and identifies six cross-cutting themes critical to the delivery of the 17 SDGs, reflecting the systemic nature of the challenges we face.

Sustainable finance

How a finance system can be created that incentivises and rewards long-term thinking.

Economic innovation

How industries, jobs and markets will need to evolve in response to global challenges, and the public policy need to ensure sustainable and inclusive economic development.

Inclusive development

How companies can become agents of improved health, livelihoods and equity of opportunity both in affluent and low-income countries.

Natural capital

How companies can sustain the natural world and the resources it provides through their strategies and operating practices.

Future cities

How cities can develop vibrant communities of healthy people, supported by clean, green energy, food, water and transportation systems.

Leadership

How individual and organisational leaders can shape the economy to deliver positive sustainability outcomes, whilst ensuring successful and resilient organisations.

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