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Leading Curriculum Change for Sustainability

Date posted: 29/10/2010

The University of Gloucestershire has recently been awarded £200,000 from the Higher Education Funding Council for England, to develop an innovative strategic project in the field of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), in collaboration with four other UK universities.
While the UK HE sector is active in sustainable development research and promotes good corporate sustainability practice, progress on changing the curriculum has been far slower. Future graduates will face sustainability challenges in all professional and business contexts and the demand for skills in this area is growing among employers and students. However, the integration of sustainability in a growing range of HE courses presents sizeable challenges of academic leadership and innovation.
To tackle this issue systemically, this project is focused on the processes that ensure the quality of academic development within the HE sector. This has long been recognised as a key strategic arena for ESD, to help reorient graduate skills and capabilities across academic and professional subjects.
The project team has a wide-ranging expertise in ESD and different academic subjects, from natural and social sciences to humanities and education. The project involves action learning approaches to promote dialogue and change within each partner institution and across the sector, involving key organisations such as the Quality Assurance Agency and Higher Education Academy. It will result in new strategic guidance for universities and HE stakeholders, to drive ESD innovation and leadership.
The four partner institutions are:

  • Aston University

  • University of Brighton

  • University of Exeter

  • Oxford Brookes University.

The project cycle runs from October 2010 to September 2012.

Further Information:
Project Director: Professor Daniella Tilbury, Director of Sustainability, University of Gloucestershire, email:
Project Manager: Dr Alex Ryan, Associate Director of Sustainability (Academic), University of Gloucestershire, email:
Aston University Lead: Dr John Blewitt, Director of Lifelong Learning, email:

University of Brighton Lead: Professor Marie Harder, Professor of Sustainable Waste Management, email:

University of Exeter Lead: Harriet Sjerps-Jones, Sustainability Curriculum Co-ordinator, email:

Oxford Brookes University Lead: Professor Martin Haigh, Professor of Geography, email: