Human Geography and Sustainability

Pathway Leader:

Rory Coulter (Human Geography)

Will McDowall (Sustainability) 

Team member:

Eszter Kovacs (UCL Environment, Politics and Society):

Jo Waters (UCL Global Migration):

Stephen Law ( UCL Social and Geographic Data Science)

Shino Shiode (Birkbeck Geography and Geographic Data Science):

Michelle Shipworth (

Catherine Willan (

Lorenzo Lotti (

Katy Janda ( and Nishatabbas Rehmatulla ( Social and Economic Studies of sustainable energy and resources)

Prospective candidates can contact the pathway leader or team members for further information.

Training Routes

See table below for training routes and institutions available for this pathway. 

ESRC studentships at the UBEL DTP are structured around the following routes: 1+3, +3, 2+3 and +4 funding. Please note that not all routes are available in all institutions or pathways. Click here for further information on funding routes. 

PathwayInstitutionTraining Route (1+3)(2+3)(+3)(+4)
Human Geography and SustainabilityUCLEnvironment, Politics and Societyx x 
Human Geography and SustainabilityUCLGlobal Migrationx x 
Human Geography and SustainabilityUCLSocial and Geographic Data Sciencex x 
Human Geography and SustainabilityBirkbeckHuman Geographyx x 
Human Geography and SustainabilityBirkbeckGeographic Data Sciencex x 
Human Geography and SustainabilityUCLSocial and Economic Studies of sustainable energy and resourcesx x 

This pathway covers some of the most pressing issues of our time. The climate crisis, migration and urbanisation are all re-shaping our world. Meanwhile, vast new digital datasets coupled with computational advancements promise to revolutionise cities, societies, economies, and the social sciences.

This pathway brings together three internationally renowned institutions at the centre of debates in these areas: the Geography departments of UCL and Birkbeck, and UCL’s Bartlett School of Environment, Energy and Resources. Students developing their projects within this pathway benefit from working with world-leading researchers in a highly interdisciplinary environment, with supervisors bringing expertise in geography, economics, development studies, social data science, environmental science, and a variety of other disciplines. Students on the pathway also benefit from unparalleled opportunities to develop a wide range of advanced research and transferable skills. UCL Geography is home to the London NERC DTP and opportunities exist for multidisciplinary projects and skills training which bridges the human and physical sciences.

Pathway researchers are engaged in high impact knowledge exchange activities, creating excellent opportunities for impactful student placements. For example, academics within the pathway are involved in providing support to the UK government on decarbonisation, working with inter-governmental organisations (such as the International Energy Agency and the UN’s International Maritime Organisation), leading the development and analysis of new forms of big data in collaboration with public and private sector bodies (through the ESRC Consumer Data Research Centre), and contributing to international assessments such as the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Prospective applicants should in the first instant contact potential supervisors to discuss project ideas, copying the relevant Team Members and Pathway Leader into correspondence.


Studentship Competitions

UBEL offers fully funded and co-funded ESRC studentships. Follow link below to discover current opportunities.