School of Social and Political Science

SPS COP26 Research


As world leaders assemble in Glasgow for the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference, we're highlighting how research in our School is addressing the challenges of climate change and sustainability.

The social sciences have an essential role in understanding the effects of climate change on local, national and global societies. Work by social scientists across disciplines is identifying solutions that can help us meet these urgent problems.

Learn more below about how researchers in the School of Social and Political Science are leading efforts towards a sustainable future.

Laptop screen showing media boardWakelet board

Check out our Wakelet board, which collates a huge range of our academics' recent sustainability research and expert analysis.



University of Edinburgh COP26 observer delegation

The University of Edinburgh has an observer delegation attending COP26. Included in the delegation from SPS are:

  • Professor Elizabeth Bomberg
  • Postgraduate student Rona Hardie ( MSc Global Environment, Politics and Society) 
  • Undergraduate student Molly Shelton (MA Sustainable Development)


Expert spotlight

A number of our researchers are attending COP26 or researching in themes closely related to the conference. 

Professor Elizabeth Bomberg

Professor Bomberg is attending COP26 as a University of Edinburgh delegate – her research examines sustainability activism and governance.

Read about her COP26 activities.

Dr Claire Duncanson

Senior Lecturer in International Relations, using feminist analysis to explore and illuminate the impacts and drivers of climate change.

Read more about Claire's work related to COP26 themes.

Dr Darrick Evensen

Lecturer in Environmental Politics undertaking a Royal Society of Edinburgh Fellowship to study the role of Scotland, as a devolved nation, in shaping the processes and outcomes of COP26.

Read more about Darrick's work around COP26.

Dr Rachel Howell

Dr Rachel Howell’s research and teaching focuses on sustainability, particularly climate change mitigation.

Read more about her research, including her new paper on education for sustainable development.

Dr Juli Huang

Economic anthropologist whose research focuses on social enterprise and the use of new technologies, data, and markets for poverty alleviation. 

Read more about Juli's latest research project on alternative currencies.

Professor Roger Jeffery

Professorial Fellow in Sociology at the School of Social and Political Science, and Associate Director of the Edinburgh India Institute. Professor Jeffery took part in a recent event on COP26 as part of the South Asian Nitrogen Hub.

Read more about this event.

Dr Kirsten Jenkins

Lecturer in Energy, Environment and Society within the Science, Technology and Innovation Studies (STIS), focusing on how energy transitions affect society and create issues of injustice. Dr Jenkins has a range of work underway related to COP26 themes.

Read more about Kirsten's work in energy justice and her activities at COP26.

Dr Sarah Parry

Sarah Parry is a Senior Lecturer at the School of Social and Political Science, with a focus on gender and sustainability, particularly in over-developed countries, and gender and household sustainability.

Listen to her on Times Radio discussion gender and COP26.

Professor Janette Webb

Professor of Sociology of Organisations at the School of Social and Political Science. Janette's research concerns social studies of energy and climate change.

Read more on this research and the events Janette has been attending at COP26.

Dr Mark Winskel

Senior Lecturer in the Science, Technology and Innovation Studies subject area, working on energy expertise and research-policy exchange for the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC). 

Read more about Mark's work related to COP26 themes.

Professor Steve Yearley

Professor of the Sociology of Scientific Knowledge in Science, Technology and Innovation Studies, and Director of the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities. Professor Yearley is well known for his work in social studies of science and in environmental sociology.

Read more about his research into decarbonising the foundation industries.

SPS sustainability researchers

There is a broad range of research taking place at the School of Social and Political Science related to sustainability.  

Here are some of our key researchers working in sustainability, along with their research interests: