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Global Sustainable Development in Practice

Students walking around campus

Building the bridge between theory and practice is at the heart of sustainable development and with GSD your learning will go far beyond the classroom. Our pedagogical vision encourages practical action as a core component of your educational experience and our courses implement a hands-on, collaborative approach wherever possible. Warwick is also home to a number of active student-led initiatives and societies which promote the cause of sustainable development. And what's more, our Department has supported a number of GSD students with independent research projects focusing on issues related to sustainability. We maintain that practical learning is key to the praxis of sustainable development, and you can find out more below.


First-year GSD optional module: Biodiversity and Ecology

In our first-year GSD optional module 'Biodiversity and Ecology', Dr Jess Savage will guide you through a diverse array of weekly ecological practicals across Warwick's campus, including surveying mammal populations in woodland areas and exploring Tocil Wood while completing a river macroinvertebrate survey.

Read the transcript for this video.

Dr Jess Savage teaching a group of GD109 students in Tocil WoodsGD109 Students in the water in Tocil WoodsGD109 students in the water in Tocil WoodsDr Jess Savage teaching GD109 students in Tocil Woods

GD109 students and Dr Jess Savage setting up a camera to capture wildlife on campusGD109 Students surveying mammal populations in woodland areas on campusGD109 students surveying mammal populations in woodland areas on campusGD109 students surveying mammal populations in woodland areas on campus

GD109 studentsGD109 StudentsDr Jess SavageQuadrant

Warwick campus autumnGD109 studentswarwick campus autumnGD109 students

Second-year GSD optional core module: Security, Sovereignty and Sustainability in the Global Food System

In 2018, our students visited Feldon Forest Farm, a leading local organic farm which has won several awards commending its sustainability practices.

Farmer with studentsgreenhousesorchardGSD students

cowview over farmfarmer with cowstudents talk over lunch

GSD optional module: The Energy Trilemma

Discover how Warwick is innovating to create a more sustainable energy infrastructure.

GD311 Students in the rainCryfield Energy CentreDavid Chapman with studentsStudents in cryfield energy centre

Student Societies & Initiatives


GLOBUS is an online magazine created and run by GSD students. It features articles, videos, news and advice which address aspects of our culture, society, science and the arts that raise issues of sustainability, as well as items about what it’s like to be a GSD student at Warwick.

GSD Society

Warwick GSD Society is the social home and discussion panel for all Warwick students who are interested in the present and future social, economic, and environmental challenges of sustainable development. The society aims to promote and educate students about sustainable development and organises academic discussions and talks and various social activities for its members.

Warwick SEED

Warwick SEED (Socio-Economic Engagement and Development), established in 2018, was co-founded by two of our GSD students. The society encourages students to embrace positive business impact and pursue social impact careers such as social enterprises, start-ups and B-corporations.

Food Intercept

Our students are involved in Food Intercept, a social enterprise that develops creative solutions to reduce food waste. The team collect edible food waste from the local area and delivers it to a kitchen that employs single minority women, providing the women with financial and social security. The food waste is turned into meals that are then sold on campus. Profits from the sales help the single minority women who need it most.

Climate Reality

Climate Reality Warwick is a group of climate activists supporting local action to combat the climate crisis so we can make the transition to a clean energy economy and protect the welfare of the planet and its citizens. They aim to raise awareness on sustainability issues through conferences, campaigns, projects and manifestations.

Warwick Cup

Inspired by their time spent studying abroad at Monash University, GSD students have launched Warwick Cup on campus. This is a student-led social enterprise which aims to end campus dependency on single-use cups, by creating a closed-loop sharing system.

Research Opportunities

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.

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 2019GSD 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.