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Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership

Many business leaders are seeking both specific and broad insights into their future pathways to resilience and sustainability.

By providing a structured process for harnessing Cambridge expertise in a strategic context, CISL addresses questions in a rigorous and timely fashion to deliver solutions informed by a robust analysis of evidence.

To find out more, please email us or complete our Research funder enquiry form. Download our flyer here.


Our products

Research sprints

In-depth explorations of specific challenges conducted by well-resourced, multi-skilled teams of technical, scientific, business, finance and policy experts tasked with making substantial, potentially breakthrough, progress. The start-up period for a sprint is typically three to six months, followed by a six-month delivery period.

Duration: 9–18 months

Resourcing: £300k–£1.5m


Thought leadership

Powerful tools and ideas generated for and with companies, offering evidence-based insights into how business and financial institutions can build a sustainable economy.

Duration: 1–2 years

Resourcing: £50–£250k



Evaluation and case study research

By conducting evaluations and collating case studies, we reveal what worked, what did not, and why, thereby informing future business practice, drawing issues to the attention of policymakers, and enriching education programmes.

Duration: 1–2 years

Resourcing: £50-£300k



Graduate research

Research conducted by students on our Master’s in Sustainability Leadership programme over a year. The results offer important insights into business- and finance-related problems, and can form the basis of longer-term studies for successive cohorts of students, or contribute to deeper dives conducted by CISL researchers.

Duration: 1–2 years

Resourcing: £30–£40k


Programmatic funding

Multi-year partnerships drawing on the full range of intellectual resources offered by the University of Cambridge and CISL’s expertise in delivering sustainability solutions.

Duration: Multi-year

Resourcing: >£1m




Our partners

CISL has 30 years’ experience of working with business, government and finance leaders in over 250 organisations including consumer brands, global banks and national governments. Our core research activities are supported by visionary companies, foundations and individuals who commit funds to make a contribution to knowledge and foster new thinking on sustainability.

Research partners

Our themes

Research activities at CISL aim to enable private sector action on sustainability. To achieve this goal, CISL is working closely with visionary companies, foundations and individuals to fund research mapped to one or more of our key themes:

Net zeroZero carbon


Circular economyCircular economy 


Protection of natureProtection of nature


Inclusive and resilient societiesInclusive and resilient societies