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International Research Institute in Sustainability

The International Research Institute in Sustainability (IRIS) is known for its cutting edge research and for participatory research methodologies which support change for sustainability.

IRIS focuses on people’s responses to sustainability. Science and technology can assist in defining problems and identifying solutions but ultimately changes towards sustainability are dependent on people’s decisions, choices and actions. IRIS builds on the University’s credentials in the area of people engagement and provides a focus for studies on how we inform and engage people in change towards sustainability.

It has an internationally active and respected team of researchers who specialise in leadership and change management, professional practice, health and social care, community development, consumer and lifestyle choices, monitoring and evaluation as well as education and learning.

IRIS offers annual PhD studentships as well as opportunities for research students to contribute, through participatory inquiry, critical action research and other innovative methodologies, to real change towards sustainability.

Post-Graduate Researchers Interested in Sustainability Matters - PRISM

PRISM is a network of postgraduate and early career researchers based in universities across the UK and overseas, who are engaged with the conceptualisation as well as the applied practice of sustainability-related research. The network emerged through a group of researchers at the University of Gloucestershire and is supported by the European Commission through the Marie Curie International Incoming Fellowship Programme. PRISM hosts regular interactive and topical research seminars at the University of Gloucestershire and communicates through a JISCmail group.  More

PRISM Conference 2 - 3 May 2012

As a result of last year's PRISM Conference, PRISM joined forces with the Spanish interuniversity Doctoral Programme on Environmental Education and held a joint seminar for Spanish-speaking postgraduate students and young professionals researching sustainability and ESD topics. 

The Seminar "Miradas" was held on 2-3 May 2012 at the National Centre of Environmental Education (CENEAM) in Valsain.  More 

Contact Us 


Dr Alex Ryan
University of Gloucestershire
Dunholme Villa DH210
GL50 2RH

Tel: 01242 715416

What's New?

  • Flexible learning: Six new ideas   Flexibility should be seen as a skill in its own right, rather than a method of teaching, says HEA report by Dr Alex Ryan and Professor Daniella Tilbury More

  • Professor Daniella Tilbury launches new international Resilience Title. The world is currently confronted by global and interconnected challenges.  A new publication charts the international processes as well as grounded practices that seek to build resilience in our communities and create more sustainable futures. This book is co-authored by Daniella Tilbury, Professor of Sustainability at the University of Gloucestershire and Dr John Blewitt from Aston University More
  • University of Gloucestershire shaping QAA national guidance on Education for Sustainable Development. The Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) and the Higher Education Academy (HEA) released a draft guidance document for consultation on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) at an event in Birmingham on Tuesday 5th November More
  • A Review of Education for Sustainable Development Policies From a Cultural Diversity and Intercultural Dialogue Perspective More
  • UN Global Report on Higher Education for Sustainability
    A new UN commissioned Sustainability report has been released this month. The 'Higher Education's Commitment to Sustainability: From Understanding to Action' 
  • New Journal Special Issue: Business Education and Education for Sustainability The Journal of Global Responsibility commissioned Prof. D Tilbury and Dr A. Ryan at the University of Gloucestershire to edit a special issue on education for sustainability in the Business School curriculum. This issue entitled ‘Nurturing Responsibility: Connecting Business Practice, Education and Sustainability’
  • Global University Network for Innovation interviews Professor Tilbury after her opening keynote at it's World in Higher Education Conference 4. Her interview focuses on the challenge of embedding education for sustainability into university programmes.  More
  • UNESCO Commissioned Research on Culture and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD).  More 
  • National Journeys Towards Education for Sustainable Development: UNESCO DESD Publication. More
  • Global Environmental Research Vol. 14 No. 2, "Education for Sustainable Development: Promises and Challenges". More
  • Global UN Report on Learning for Sustainable Development.  More
  • UNESCO Publication - "Today Tomorrow".  More
  • UNESCO ESD and Culture  Project. More
  • IRIS researchers as lead editors of a UNESCO publication. More


International Visitors

  • Aitxiber Zallo, Sustainability Officer from the University of the Basque Country
    June 2015
  • Leonie Redder, auditor of Quality of Educational Programmes at the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences
    October 2014 to July 2015
  • Güliz Karaarslan, visiting scholar from the Middle East Technical University, Department of Elementary Science Education, Ankara, Turkey
    15 September 2014 to 8 January 2015
  • Professor Geoff Scott
    2014 National Senior Teaching Fellow, University of Western Sydney 7 - 10 October 2014

  • Professor Javier Benyas Co-ordinator of RISU and Executive Secretary of CADEP-CRUE (sustainability working group within the Conference of Rectors of Spanish Universities), Spain spent two weeks working with the Sustainability team 
    13 to 24 January 2014
  • Dr Lorna Down, 

    Senior Lecturer in the School of Educationat at the University of the West Indies, Jamaica
    16 to 18 December 2013

  • The Sustainability team welcomed a delegation from Dalarna University College, Sweden, led by Dr Andrew Casson, Director of Education and Research 
    16th October 2013

  • The University of Gloucestershire welcomed the Indonesian Ambassador, Teuku Hamzah Thayeb and local MP Richard Graham 
    16th September 2013
  • Associate Professor Ian Clark Acting Dean of Teaching & Learning, University of South Australia                                     15 April 2013
  • The University of Gloucestershire welcomed a delegation from the University of Malaysia, Sabah, including their Vice Chancellor - Prof. Datuk Dr. Mohd Harun Abdullah                                
    21 January 2013
  • Clemens Mader
    Leuphana Univerisity, Lunenberg, Germany
    14-15 December 2012
  • Javier Benayas                  University Autonoma de Madrid, Spain                                          14 - 15 December 2012
  • Jana Dlouha & Jiri Dlouhy Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic
    14 - 15 December 2012
  • Ms Shahiba Ali                        School of Education, The University of the West Indies, Trinidad & Tobago                 June 2012
  • Professor Geoff Scott
    Executive Director of Sustainability and Professor of Higher Education at the University of Western Sydney (UWS)
    2 December 2011  
  • Leith Sharpe
    Executive Director, Illinois Green Economy Network, Harvard University, USA
    5 November 2011
  • Mitch Thomashow
    Director of the Second Nature Presidential Fellows Program
    4 November 2011
  • Dr Colin Hocking
    Sustainability Education Officer
    Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia 
    5 November 2011

  • Leanne Denby
    Director of Sustainability, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia
    13 June 2011

  • Prof. Carol Adams
    Pro Vice-Chancellor (Sustainability), La Trobe University, Australia
    15 April 2011
  • Professor Javier Benayas
    Conference of Rectors of Spanish Universities (CRUE), Spain
    14 February 2011
  • Professor Deborah Buszard
    Associate Director, Research and Outreach, College of Sustainability, Dalhousie University, Canada
    16 November 2010
  • Dr Margot Ford
    School of Education, University of Newcastle, Australia, on the
    9th November 2010
  • Lídia Ochoa Cañigueral
    GRECA Researcher
    Universitat de Girona 
    1 October – 23 December 2010
  • Professor Michael Scoullos Chair of the UNECE ESD Competencies Group and Chair of Mediterranean Information Office for the Environment, Culture & Sustainable Development (MIO-ECSDE)
    20 - 21 September 2010
  • Dr Roland Tormey
    Head of the Department of Education and Professional Studies, University of Limerick
    20 September 2010
  • Professor Garth Pickard
    Faculty of Education
    University of Regina
    16 September 2010
  • Professor Peter Blaze Corcoran
    Florida Gulf Coast University
    23 June 2010
  • Marta Suárez Casado
    University Autonoma de Madrid, Spain
    13 May 2010
  • Dr Matthias Barth
    Leuphana University of Lüneburg
    Institut für Umweltkommunikation, Germany
    11 May 2010
  • Prof Jørn Wroldsen
    Rector, Gjøvik University, Norway
    11-12 March 2010
  • Rolf Jucker
    Director of the Swiss Foundation for Environmental Education
    4-5 December 2009
  • Dr Ngaire Bissett
    Griffith Business School
    Griffith University, Brisbane
    16-17th July 2009
  • David Alba
    National Agency for Spanish Universities Assessment (ANECA), University Autonoma de Madrid, Spain
    17 July - 17 Aug 2009
  • Dr Ray Hibbins
    Griffith Business School
    Office of the Pro Vice Chancellor, Griffith University, Brisbane
    10-12 June 2009
  • Dr Jo-Anne Ferreira
    Griffith University, Brisbane. Editor of the Australian Journal of Environmental Education
    18-19 May 2009
  • Prof Lu Shao Ming
    Department of Architecture
    Shanghai University, China
    26 February 2009
  • Roel Van Raaij
    Chair of the UNECE Experts Group on ESD Indicators, Dutch Government Official and IRIS Fellow
    21-23 January 2009
  • Jo Bishop
    Australian Government Sustainable School Working Group and Head of EE, Department, Government of South Australia
    12-15 October 2008
  • Elena Plodari
    Sustainability Doctoral Student, Catholic University of Brescia, Italy
    1-5 October 2008

IRIS International Activities 

10-11 January 2014                        COPERNICUS Alliance Conference: “Leadership in a Changing World: Higher education, sustainability and the new global action programme on ESD” . More 

9-14 June 2013                               Iris Director delivered Keynote at the Seventh World Environmental Education Congress. The Congress brought together university experts, government officials and representatives from international agencies. More

23-24 April 2013   
                           Professor Daniella Tilbury commissioned to advise on HE Development in Morocco.  Professor Daniella Tilbury has been commissioned by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme to advise and support the development of higher education provision in Morocco. More

2-3 May 2012
PRISM Conference 2012.
VII Spanish Seminar on ESD and Sustainability Research - Valsain, Spain. More 

27 November 2011
University’s Sustainability Director Elected as President of the Copernicus Alliance.  More

11 October 2011
Prof. Tilbury participates at GUNI's panel at AASHE 2011 Conference.  More

14-16 September 2011
Prof. Tilbury, invited by the UNESCO Chair ‘Higher Education for Sustainable Development’ to the 4th International Conference on Higher Education for Sustainable Development. 

19-20 May 2011
PRISM Conference
“The Interdisciplinary Researcher:  Paradigms, Practices and Possibilities for Sustainability”

3 - 8 May 2011
Invited Experts:
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

4 March 2011          Prof. Tilbury invited by the Portuguese National Council of Education to present a keynote. More 

24 - 25 February 2011
2nd Annual Green Universities Conference 24 – 25 February 2011. More 
7 - 9 December 2010
IRIS PhD student invited to attend World Innovation Summit for Education in Qatar.

26 November 2010
IRIS PhD student invited to present at the Catalan School for Sustainable Consumption.

23 - 25 November 2010
IRIS Keynote at GUNI. 

22 November 2010
IRIS Presents to UN Interagency Committee.

19 - 24 September 2010
Environmental Education Association of Southern Africa (EEASA) Conference "Decade of Education for Sustainable Development: Lessons and Processes for a Sustainable World". 

6 October 2010
Sustainability and Education Academy (SEdA) Seminar, Canada.

1 October 2010
‘Education for Sustainability: A Decade of Possibilities’,  Sustainability, Policies, Research and Practice Conference, Portugal.

19 - 22 September 2010
IRIS PhD Student, attends the International Conference on Engineering Education in Sustainable Development (EESD) 2010.

11 August 2010
Professor Daniella Tilbury has been invited by Gjøvik University College, Gjøvik, Norway, to give a keynote on  "Sustainability as a Strategic Priority at the University of Gloucestershire". 

2-3 July 2010
IRIS Keynote at Copernicus Alliance Meeting

28-30 June 2010
United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Expert Group on Competencies in Education for Sustainable Development

 24-28 May 2010
Professor Daniella Tilbury has been funded by the MIO-ECSDE Chairman at the University of Athens to facilitate a session on “Universities and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)”.

 13-14 May 2010
IRIS PhD Student invited to present at Vietnamese National Conference on ‘Education for Sustainable Development in Higher Education’ 


18-19 March 2010
United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Committee on Environmental Policy

 18-20 March 2010
IRIS PhD Student invited to present at Spanish National ESD Research Seminar

 13-15 January 2010
IRIS representing the UK at UNECE meeting at the Hague


16-18 November 2009
IRIS invited to attend World Innovation Summit for Education forum

 6-7 November 2009
IRIS invited to attend Swiss Foundation Workshop

 1 November 2009
The UNESCO Global Report on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) was released on the 27th October

 26-30 October 2009
EU Funding for a UoG Sustainability and Well Being International Workshop

 21-24 October 2009
IRIS invited to 4th China International Forum on Education for Sustainable Development.

 30 Sep - 2 October 2009
IRIS on United Nations Economic Council for Europe Expert Group

 27-28 September 2009
IRIS invited to to be lead editors of IJSHE on Asia Pacific.

 20-23 September 2009
IRIS presenting at 'Greening of the Campus VIII: Embracing Change' conference

 7-11 September 2009
IRIS joins Transversal Study Visit to Poland from 7 to 11 September 2009.

11-16 July 2009
IRIS at Salzburg Global Seminar

6-8 July 2009
IRIS invited to Paris to expert meeting on new cultural policy


 12-14 June 2009
IRIS involvement in sustainability masterclass.

 IRIS a formal partner in the EU Connect Programme. More 


2-3 June 2009
Opening Keynote at Latin American Summit on ESD. More 


31 March 2009
Invited Expert at UN Global ESD Conference. More


5th March 2009
Keynote Speaker at the Dutch National Event 'Greening the Ivory Tower'


5th March 2009
IRIS contributes to UNECE report on indicators.


23rd February 2009
ENSI commissions IRIS to write European report


12th February 2009
Keynote speaker at Unbuntu Dialogue Conference in Dublin.

5th January 2009
UNESCO commissions IRIS to undertake research

 Keynote Speaker at
International Research Symposium, Japan


Keynote at IOSTE Conference, Kusa Dasi Turkey, 21st October.


Hosting Expert Workshop at the World Conservation Congress, Barcelona October 5th 2008.


Invited Speaker and workshop facilitators at the  International Conference on Education for Sustainable Development hosted by the French Government.



University of Gloucestershire, The Park, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL50 2RH. Telephone +44 (0)844 8010001.