School of Earth and Environment

Milena Buchs Dr Milena Buchs

Associate Professor in Sustainability, Economics, and Low-Carbon Transitions

Telephone number: +44(0) 113 34 34292
Email address:
Room: 11.114

Affiliation: Sustainability Research Institute


Milena joined the SRI in September 2016 as Associate Professor in Sustainability, Economics and Low-Carbon Transitions. Prior to joining the SRI, Milena was lecturing in Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Southampton since 2005. She received her PhD in Social Policy from the Humboldt University Berlin in 2005 and her under- and postgraduate taught training in Sociology, Political Science and Economics from the Free University Berlin in 2001. She also held visiting researcher positions at the DFG-funded Postgrowth Societies College, University of Jena; the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, London School of Economics; and was an EU Marie Curie fellow at the Centre of Comparative Welfare State Research, University of Stirling during her PhD.

Research Interests

Milena's current research focusses on relationships between economic growth, environmental sustainability and health/wellbeing; socio-economic drivers of carbon emissions; as well as on low carbon practices and practice change. She has led and collaborated on several major, interdisciplinary ESRC and EPSRC grants on these topics.

Current research projects

"Excess travel emissions" - Co-I on the Transport Theme of the UKRI Centre for Research on Energy Demand Solutions (CREDS) (2018-2023).

PI of the ESRC Impact Acceleration Account project "Low carbon behaviour change in organisations". This project evaluates the effectiveness of Carbon Conversations and Carbon Literacy Training of staff from ITV and CITU (July 18-July 19).

Previous research projects

Liveable Cities: Milena was a Researcher Co-Investigator on this EPSRC Programme Grant (2012-2017). Her team with colleagues from the University of Southampton conducted a field experiment on the effectiveness of a carbon calculator for carbon reduction; as well as research on relationships between health and energy use.

ESRC Third Sector Research Centre Environment Stream

RCUK The role of community-based initiatives in energy saving

These ESRC/EPSRC projects examined the roles that environmental grassroots organisations can play in encouraging low carbon practices. Based on interviews and surveys with organisers and participants, as well as a longitudinal field experiment, we found that environmental grassroots organisations can indeed encourage people to reduce their carbon footprint, especially if they appeal to environmental and altruistic values. However, we also found this tends to work best with people who are already open to these perspectives whilst grassroots organisations find it much harder to encourage the wider public to take up more 'radical' low carbon behaviours (e.g. such as taking up a low carbon diet, reducing car use or flights).

ESRC Who Emits Most: Milena was also PI on an ESRC project that examined the inequality of carbon emissions of UK households, and estimated implications for distributional effects of market-based climate mitigation policies. The dataset from that project is available from the UK Data Service.

PhD supervision

Over the last 10 years I have been supervising a range of PhD projects, most of them on environmental social science topics including distributional implications of market-based climate change mitigation policies; pro-environmental practices and practice change; green housing policies; and environmental justice.

Current PhD Students

Elizabeth Allinson Effectiveness of the Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace Strategy

Aaisa Nisar The role of eco-housing developments in creating sustainable communities

Alexander Voccia - World Bank climate change adaptation technical cooperation programme and environmental justice

Duygu Cihan Dynamics between human wellbeing, economic growth, and climate change in emerging economies

Supervised to completion

Alexander Afful "Low uptake of the Green Deal: Examining financial, decision-making and awareness reasons" (June 2017)

Fatih Urkmezer "Urban poor migrants in Turkey" (January 2017)

Roger Tyers "'Nudging the jetset to offset'"; Voluntary carbon offsetting for air travel (Dec 2016)

Thomas Rushby "It's not personal: modelling a downstream household cap and trade scheme for residential energy in the UK" (Nov 2016)

Matthew Healey An examination of the extent the internet has empowered young people to take greater control of their information, advice and guidance needs (2014)