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Research Degrees: Opportunities

The Research Degrees programme is aimed at both recent graduates wanting to specialise in energy and sustainability and professionals wishing to extend their knowledge and expertise. The programme has an interdisciplinary approach, reflecting the need for the integration of skills and knowledge in the field of sustainable development.

Research degrees offer an opportunity for UK and overseas students to investigate thoroughly topics related to sustainable development. The degrees may be pursued by full-time or part-time study in the Institute, drawing on its computing, library and laboratory resources and making use of the day-to-day supervision available form Research Fellows and senior staff. Alternatively, study may be pursued elsewhere, such as at home or place of work.

Regular contact with the Institute supervision team is an essential component of research student success. Since 2001 over 90% of registered students have achieved their PhD degree.

Research Topics

Pursuit of a sustainable future requires cross-disciplinary collaboration between applied scientists, economists, social scientists, designers, policy makers and planners. Recent research topics reflect this diversity; some are theoretical and 'blue sky' whilst others are near-market and product-oriented. The Research Degree Projects section gives some examples.

Students can propose their own research topic, which is refined through discussions with the supervision team. However, often studies are associated with externally-funded contract research. Collaboration with other universities and research institutes is encouraged as is attendance at career development courses and conferences.


The Institute provides a modern, self-contained research environment, with leading researchers from around the world and with diverse ethnic backgrounds. It is rapidly expanding and is a vibrant, stimulating workplace.


IT facilities are first class; experimental work may be conducted in the well-equipped laboratories of the Queens Building, whilst the City of Leicester is a living laboratory for research into urban-scale sustainability and development. Students have their own dedicated work area, computer and are located close to their supervisors.

IESD students have worked with

  • other UK University research teams: the Universities of Sheffield, Oxford Brookes, and Manchester, University College London and Imperial College
  • research teams in overseas universities: Stuttgart, Coburg, Karlsruhe and the City University of Hong Kong
  • commercial companies, charities or local authorities that support their work, for example: Energy for Sustainable Development Ltd, National Energy Services Ltd, The Peabody Trust, Pilkington, Newark and Sherwood District Council and Leicester City Council.

Career opportunities

Recent graduates have secured jobs within research institutes, engineering consultancies, renewable energy product manufacturers, computer modelling and software development firms, as well as in the IESD itself.

Download research degrees brochure (PDF 902KB)

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