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Undergraduate Student Research

GSD students on a field trip at an alottment

Research in the classroom

Global Sustainable Development (GSD) is not just worrying about the state of the world, but undertaking in-depth research and developing concrete proposals to better manage the development process. To this end, we strive to fully integrate research and teaching. While our research active staff contribute cutting-edge knowledge to wider stakeholders and our degree programmes, much of our student experience involves research-based learning.

Our students are guided by our tutors through collaborative and often personalised research, right from Year One. Much of this work might be described as Problem-Based-Learning (PBL): wherein students take real-world problems and seek to identify relevant intellectual and practical responses. We aim to transform the student experience: encouraging students to work alongside tutors in creating knowledge of potential value to outside stakeholders, be they other students, citizens, or real-world decision-makers.

Taking this approach, we aspire to fully integrate the mission of the University of Warwick to create excellent research that is relevant to local, national, and international stakeholders, while at the same time providing a highly enabling environment for students to achieve their potential as Global Citizens. Through this holistic relationship between research and education, we are better placed to collectively champion social, cultural, and economic growth, and promote much more sustainable development for the future.

A spotlight on: Research in the curriculum

Global Sustainable Development Project (GD107): High Speed 2 (HS2)

As part of our first-year core module, GSD Project, our students engage with a major development project and evaluate its economic, environmental, and social impact.

During the 2016/17 academic year, students researched HS2, choosing specific aspects of the project to focus in on, and investigate engaging ways in which to communicate their findings.

Project titles in the past have included:

  • HS2: The New Fair Metric for Biodiversity Assessment
  • HS2: A Tail of Two Cities
  • HS3: A More Socially and Economically Inclusive Alternative to HS2

Discover more.

Environmental Principles (GD105) Policy Briefings and PitchesLink opens in a new window

As part of our first-year core module, Environmental Principles of GSD, our students are required to research and write a professional policy briefing. The core focus is to create a pitch aimed at someone capable of making the recommended policy changes. The module, therefore, combines individual research with the professional skills necessary for enacting positive change in the world.

Project titles in the past have included:

  • Reducing Biodiversity Loss in Australia: Reintroducing predators
  • Sustainable Irrigation: A Multi-dimensional Approach to Freshwater Management in Agriculture
  • “Let’s all ‘Cry Wolf’ more positively”: Changing perception and collective action on biodiversity loss in Norway

Discover more.

Food Systems: Security, Sustainability and Sovereignty (GD205 & 207) Visual Campaign PresentationsLink opens in a new window

As part of our second-year core-optional module, Food Systems: Security, Sustainability and Sovereignty, students use learning to research a specific issue and develop a Visual Campaign intervention. Groups have selected a wide range of subjects over the years.

Project titles in the past have included: 

  • Over-exploited and under-appreciated: The urgent need to save the Orange Roughy

Research beyond the classroom

The Undergraduate Research Support Scheme (URSS)

The Undergraduate Research Support Scheme is designed to enable students to develop their capabilities as a researcher, to actively engage in the production of new knowledge at the University, and to provide an opportunity to inform choices for future study or employment. URSS is open each year and previous projects from GSD students have included "Impacts of Climate Change on Peripheral Regions: The case for stronger adaptation and increased mitigation in Europe", "Novel Method to Quantify Microplastics in River Sediment", "An Economic Framework for Carbon Neutrality" and "The Enabling Environment of Renewable Energy Policies in the United Arab Emirates". You can find out about the research our students have showcased at URSS 2018 and URSS 2019.

"The URSS has equipped me with the necessary skills required for research"

"The URSS program has been an extremely unique and enriching experience that I am very appreciative of having the opportunity to have been apart of. I had a very encouraging supervisor who supported me throughout this experience by sharing her feedback and insights, which I found particularly helpful. The URSS has provided me with a supportive space to explore my interests outside of my degree. It has also equipped me with the necessary skills required for research."

Priscilla Tay

Economic Studies and GSD student

Research title: Sustainable Finance in Singapore

See also: The Lord Rootes Memorial Fund.Link opens in a new window

International Conference of Undergraduate Research (ICUR)

Taking place annually, ICUR is an exclusively undergraduate forum designed to showcase the very best in undergraduate research. It allows participants to present their work to an international and interdisciplinary audience. The conference utilises video technology to allow students to present their research to an international audience, in real-time, without leaving Warwick. ICUR is led and sponsored by Warwick and Monash University.

Previous research titles by GSD students have included:

  • Understanding inequalities in multicultural cities as a dynamic process
  • Demonstrating the correlation between food insecurity and mental health issues and the positive role food sovereignty can play in addressing this
  • Climate Action in Europe: the costs of climate change and the necessity for adaptation in the EU Member States
  • The Economics of Climate Change: Understanding the relevance and power of an updated Stern Review in combating the Climate Emergency

You can find out about ICUR 2019 here.

Todd Olive, GSD student at ICUR 2019
GSD students at ICUR 2018

Left: Economic Studies and GSD student Todd Olive at ICUR 2019; Right: GSD students Constance Frohly and Nicola Blasetti at ICUR 2019.

See also: British Conference of Undergraduate Research.Link opens in a new window