Impact & engagement
Across 27 research programmes and over 140 team members, we focus on research that can drive systemic change, aligned around a central vision of net-zero and sustainable development.
The Smith School team has published more than 300 papers in last five years, along with dozens of reports, working papers and policy briefs.
Rigorous academic research underpins our work with policy makers and business leaders. The Smith School has been cited in over 400 policy documents across 26 countries, and our research and insights were shared with the public through over 1800 media mentions in 2021, including in the FT, Reuters, the Conversation, Politico, the Economist and the New York Times.
We reach around 1,000 students every year at undergraduate, graduate and MBA level across the University of Oxford.
In 2020, we launched our own Masters programme, the MSc in Sustainability, Enterprise and the Environment, which was the most applied-to course in the University in autumn 2021.
We have reached more than 600 participants through our executive education programmes, launched in 2013, and educate the leaders of today and tomorrow through open enrolment and bespoke courses.
Impact case studies
Investing in professionalized maintenance to increase social and economic returns from drinking water infrastructure in rural Kenya
Repairing rural water infrastructure quickly through professionalised maintenance can reduce costs and increase social and economic returns, with benefits for low income households and women.
REACH is a global research programme to improve water security for the poor by delivering world-class science that transforms policy and practice.
Our researchers are frequently called upon by global governments, public and private sector organisations, and civil society stakeholders, to provide evidence, contribute to policy debates, and share the latest thinking on cutting edge academic research across our thematic areas.
Since its establishment, Smith School research has been cited in over 400 government and multilateral organisation policy reports dealing with climate change, energy and the environment.
We believe that to address climate change and environmental sustainability, it is essential to bring business into the conversation. Some of our recent work includes:
Providing research and key tools to support sustainable transformations at global brands such as Primark, PepsiCo and Zurich Insurance Group.
Showing that sustainability improves corporate performance and cash flow, mainstreaming ESG issues into finance and the business community. Read the report, pdf (62 pages, 2.9 MB)
As thousands of people in Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and the north-east were left without power after transmission equipment overheated, Dr Sam Fankhauser, professor of climate economics at the University of Oxford said the heat was “a stark reminder of … the urgent need to decrease global carbon emissions."
Heatwaves have a huge impact on our physical and mental health, writes Dr Laurence Wainwright in The Conversation. "Doctors usually dread them, as emergency rooms quickly fill up with patients suffering from dehydration, delirium and fainting. Recent studies suggest at least a 10% rise in hospital emergency room visits on days when temperatures reach or exceed the top 5% of the normal temperature range for a given location."
Dr Thom Wetzer comments on a lawsuit brought by a Peruvian farmer, Saúl Luciano Lliuya, against RWE, Germany’s largest utility company. He said part of the reason for the uptick in climate litigation is the climate “governance gap The Paris Agreement lacks an enforcement mechanism to ensure that countries do what they’ve signed up for . . . As long as these governance gaps persist, we will see more and more litigation to try and plug those gaps.” There is also no net zero legislation governing what companies can or must do in most parts of the world, he adds.