School of Earth and Environment

Andy Gouldson Prof Andy Gouldson

Professor of Environmental Policy and Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Interdisciplinary Research)

Email address:
Room: 8.103
PA details: Gemma Griffiths (Monday to Wednesday) +44(0) 113 34 34060


I am currently Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor with responsibility for promoting inter-disciplinary, impact-oriented research across the University of Leeds. I support and coordinate the University’s cross-cutting, inter-disciplinary themes on global challenges relating to energy, water, cities, food, health, culture and high value engineering, as well as its platforms in climate change, the social sciences, data analytics and structural biology. I am also helping to develop the University’s strategic partnerships.


I am an inter-disciplinary social scientist with a background in economics and public policy. I have worked on a wide range of issues relating to environmental policy and management since 1990. My main area of expertise relates to the ability of different forms of policy and regulation, and of broader forms of governance, to improve the relationship between business, economic development and the environment and to accelerate the transition to a low carbon, climate resilient and more broadly sustainable economy/society.

I have addressed these issues both conceptually, for example through my work on the opportunities for and the limits of ecological modernisation and green growth, and empirically, for instance through my work on environmental regulation and on energy and carbon management in corporations and in cities. My work has informed key debates on the performance of environmental policy instruments and agencies and the impacts of different approaches to regulation, on the influence of broader forms of governance ‘beyond the state’ and on the characteristics of early and late stage transitions to a low carbon, climate resilient economy/society.

I specialize in applied, engaged, problem/impact-oriented research. Throughout my career, I have worked closely with policy makers and regulatory agencies at the international, national and local levels, as well as with various businesses, NGOs and community groups. Within the UK, I have worked closely with central government – for example through my role on the Social Sciences Expert Panel for DECC and DEFRA and in an advisory role for DEFRA in its strategic reviews of environmental regulation and legislation. I have also worked closely with the Environment Agency and with local government especially in some of the core cities. I have significant international research experience, particularly through city-scale projects on the economics and governance of low carbon cities in China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Brazil, Peru and Rwanda. I have also worked closely with the Global Commission on Economy and Climate and am a member of the steering group for the Coalition for Urban Transitions.

I also have substantial experience in leading and developing inter-disciplinary research institutes/centres that combine the wider social sciences with the natural sciences and engineering. I have done this in my role as Director of the Sustainability Research Institute at the University of Leeds (2006-2009) and the ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy (2008 -2014 – and Deputy Director 2014- date), and most recently as Associate Pro-Vice Chancellor (Interdisciplinary Research) at the University of Leeds (2015-date).

I have helped to secure over £20m in research funding with grants from the UK Research Councils, the UK Government (FCO, DECC, DFID, Environment Agency), the EU, the Chinese National Science Foundation, the International Growth Centre, the Peruvian, Indonesian and Malaysian Governments and other foundations, industrial funders and development banks.

I have published widely in high-quality international journals on environment, energy and climate policy. My work has also featured in the media (including the New York Times, Washington Post, Houston Chronicle, National Geographic, the Economist, Financial Times, Guardian). I have made various contributions to the Guardian’s Sustainable Business and to publications such as Ethical Corporation, Responsible Investor, Environmental Finance and the European Financial Review. I am also Editor of Environmental Policy and Governance and a Visiting Professor at the University of Bristol.