Centre for Environment and Society (CES)

Picture of road through fields

We are committed to informing the global transition to a greener future

We bring together world-leading, impact-focused researchers from across our University that address environmental issues, including how society and environment interact, which builds cross-disciplinary connections to produce world-changing environmental research.


We are committed to informing the global transition to a greener future which includes support for increased environmental well-being and social and economic justice, investment in the green economy and underpinning all this is nature recovery. Our members work closely with a range of local, regional, national and international groups to enhance understanding, engagement and impact.

With a diverse membership from across all Schools and Faculties, our Centre is home to both staff and postgraduate students and acts as a hub for interdisciplinary research, helping to foster links and champion research opportunities between researchers, students and external organisations. . The Centre is run by Directors from the three University faculties; Prof Thomas Cameron (School of Life Sciences), Dr Katy Wheeler (Department of Sociology and Criminology), and Dr Elisif Wasmuth (School of Philosophy and Art History), supported by a core Advisory group from each University School.


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Our aims
  • To be a strong hub for research at Essex on environmental issues, including how environmental issues interact with society, which builds cross-disciplinary connections to produce world-changing environmental research.
  • To act as a beacon for Education for Sustainability, inculcating a sense of responsibility in our students and deepening their knowledge of environmental issues.
  • To be a strong environmental partner to the University and to the local community, working to enhance the local environment and catalysing students to act as ‘change agents’ for sustainability.

Our centre

Our events

The Centre for Environment and Society organises research workshops throughout the academic year. We invite research experts and leading practitioners around the world to share their expertise and cutting-edge research in the fields of sustainability, climate change, disaster management, environmental management, and biodiversity. Our Horizon Scanning and unscripted events provide a platform to promote greater debate and develop innovative approaches, which serve as the building blocks to an inclusive and collaborating community. Our events are open to all.

How we support our research

Our research collaborations

The CES directors and core team support the development of transdisciplinary research across our campus, and helps build partnerships with local, and national collaborators and stakeholders to be ready to respond to cross council and discipline research calls.

  • Inter-disciplinary research cluster on “the environment and human rights" – University of Essex The Human Rights Centre (HRC) and the Centre for Environment and Society (CES) at the University of Essex organised a research networking event on human rights and climate change (initiated by Dr. Judith Bueno De Mesquita - HRC). The participants of this event managed to share a range of cutting edge and very complementary research on the environment and human rights being carried out by our academic staff across a range of departments. Based on the feedback from this event, HRC And CES have established an inter-disciplinary research cluster on “the environment and human rights” for networking, research-exchange, and funding applications in this area of global concern. We have formed an inter-disciplinary steering group for the cluster, which will support the development of its activities, together with the core teams of the HRC and CES. 
  • Collaboration with Sustainability Science Institutes in Europe: CES has joined with the Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS) and other 15 other Sustainability Science Institutes in Europe that operate as a separate Centre for sustainability, having strong scientific-basis and either being part of a University or having a national mandate. 
  • The Eastern Arc thematic champion role: Professor Graham Underwood has recently been appointed to the Eastern Arc thematic champion role for sustainability, natural resources and food, with a remit to help bring together interested parties across the three EARC universities.  There are equivalent colleagues at UEA and Kent.  It’s a "convening- facilitating" role, and he can draw upon EARC resources and a direct feed into the PVC-Rs. 
  •  Collaborations in Australia and New Zealand:The CES conducts collaborative research with Joint Centre for Disaster Research (JCDR), University of Massey, New Zealand and the International Centre for Ocean Governance (ICOG), University of Western Sydney, Australia.
The centre is hosted by the School of Life Sciences
Thomas Cameron CES Director