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With more than 35 research projects and over 140 team members, we focus on research that can drive systemic change. We published more than 320 papers in last five years, and developed targeted long-term research in more than 20 countries.

The Smith School team has published more than 300 papers in last five years, along with dozens of reports, working papers and policy briefs.


Selected case studies

Convening State of Carbon Dioxide Removal report

Dr Steve Smith convened the first edition of the global State of Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) report in January 2023. The report is the first comprehensive global assessment of the current state of CDR, tracking progress on deployment, scale-up, innovation, research, public perceptions and more. ​

The report has been downloaded over 16,000 times, covered by over 550+ news outlets across Europe, Asia, the Americas, and the Pacific, and set the foundation for creating a global institution to facilitate scientific and policy debates around carbon capture. 

Securing drinking water for rural Kenyan communities

Research by Prof Rob Hope and his team investigated problems with water supply in sub-Saharan Africa, leading to changes in practice, technology and policy in the provision of water services in rural Kenya. ​

​Research findings initiated a social enterprise, FundiFix, which deploys ‘smart’ water handpumps (developed as part of the research). FundiFix relies on an innovative combination of community and donor funding to service the pumps, and currently offers secure drinking water to over 82,000 rural Kenyans. The Fundifix model has now been recognised by national-scale legislation in Kenya. 

World-leading Oxford Offsetting Principles 

The Oxford Offsetting Principles report is an essential resource to guide the design and delivery of voluntary net-zero commitments by government, cities and companies. The Smith School’s multi-disciplinary team highlights critical elements to successful offsetting practice, including best practices on the disclosure of offsets, carbon removal and storage technologies, and the formation of a market for net-zero aligned offsets. ​

The report has been called the ‘gold standard’ of offsetting, and was widely publicised through Bloomberg, MSN, and CNBC. Alan Haywood, Head of Environment, Social and Governance, BP said: “Our strategy now covers the three elements of the Oxford Martin Principles: we have committed to being a net zero company, we intend to become a net zero company in a profitable manner, and we will be measuring our progress at regular intervals.


We reached more than 3000 participants through our executive education programmes (since its launch in 2013), 90% of which reached through bespoke courses. We opened more than 5 executive education programmes since mid-2021.

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. 


Selected case studies

World-leading, accessible academy for sustainable finance

Founded in 2021 by the Oxford Sustainable Finance Group, the Public and Third Sector P3S Academy for Sustainable Finance equips officials with the knowledge, networks and skills to help shift the direction of global capital toward activities aligned with the Paris Agreement. ​

The Academy is designed to be accessible, with all programmes either free and/or heavily subsidised, and are held online or in-situ. To date it has taught 1750+ participants from 100+ countries and 300+ organisations, with 55% of participants coming from the Global South.

Empowering youth with tools for climate advocacy

The Youth Climate Training programme is a collaboration between Oxford Net Zero and the Global Youth Coalition, a climate focussed advocacy group. Led by SSEE member Alexis McGivern, is available free of charge and focusses on delivering customised training on how young people can make impactful contributions to climate policy and governance. ​

​With 6000+ attendees and 62%+ of participants self-identifying as being from most affected people and areas, the program included 96+ nationalities and a teaching staff of leading Oxford academics from Asia and Africa. 1350+ youth-led climate projects have been registered through the training, connecting SSEE to grassroots climate advocacy. 

Transforming understanding of sustainability in the consulting sector

Working in collaboration with Accenture’s dedicated learning team, SSEE developed a sustainability online lecture series in 2021 with introductory sessions across key sustainability themes including the circular economy, cooling and net zero. ​

​In 2022 the Executive Education team co-designed and delivered a subsequent series focused around six sustainability challenges faced by executives including sustainable leadership and net zero transitions. Four of these webinars were developed into a mini-series for Accenture’s Asia Pacific region including Indonesia, Malaysia and China. ​

​Over 3,000 Accenture employees attended series 2 sessions alone; and 63% of series 2 participants said that the attended session(s) were very impactful in increasing their sustainability knowledge.

Policy engagement

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.

Rigorous academic research underpins our work with policy makers and business leaders, and has appear in high-impact research journals include Science and Nature. The Smith School has been cited in over 400 policy documents across 26 countries. Since 2009, we’ve also published 125 major reports and policy briefs.


Selected case studies

Thought leadership in green post-pandemic economic recovery

The Oxford University Economic Recovery Project co-led by Brian O'Callaghan provided direct policy support on COVID-19 recovery to over 20 countries and influenced the allocation of at least USD 100 billion of green government investment. The project also established the Global Recovery Observatory, the world’s largest and most granular database on green government spending.​

The Project’s work has been drawn on by bodies such as the UK Government, COP26 President Alok Sharma, 60+ UK policy makers through the Civil Society Environment Network and the Fast Stream Environment Network, and a variety of governments in Australasia, Europe, Africa, and the Americas. Chris Stark, Executive Director of UK Committee for Climate Change, said: “We find Oxford’s research invaluable... grateful for the insights from members of SSEE – on stranded assets, sensitive intervention points and the green recovery”. 

Corporate partnerships

To address climate change and environmental sustainability, it is essential to bring business into the conversation. 

We provide research and key tools to support sustainable transformations in various sectors. We have over 30 live partnerships with businesses that have interests are aligned with our mission. We work with them to solve real-world challenges through research, educate current and future decision makers, and build up strategic research and teaching capabilities in sustainable develop and the net zero transition. Our partners include Bank of America, Lombard Odier, PepsiCo, Zurich Insurance Group and Pinsent Masons.

We showed that sustainability improves corporate performance and cash flow, mainstreaming ESG issues into finance and the business community. 

Through our Business Fellows programme, we engage a group of 20+ business leaders and thinkers who are helping to shape their companies and industry responses to the challenges of achieving net zero emissions and the sustainable development goals.

Sharing our research globally

Ensuring our work reaches decision makers and contributes to global debate is an important part of our impact strategy.

Our research and insights were shared with the public through over 2000+ media mentions in 2022, in outlets including the BBC, the Economist, the FT, the New York Times, El Mundo, The Times of India, The Wall Street Journal, Politico, and many more.  

Since early 2021, we invested in increasing our social media presence, resulting in over 15,000 social media followers across LinkedInYoutube and Twitter.

Our events have had more than 1100 in-person attendees and over 300,000 event recording views.