International collaborations

Our staff and students aim to develop collaborations that address international challenges and adopt comparative perspectives.

For more information about international collaboration opportunities, please contact Mat Paterson.

Decarbonisation pathways and global climate governance

Mat Paterson and Matt Hoffmann (Political Science, UofT) are co-leading a collaborative initiative entitled ‘Decarbonisation pathways and global climate governance’. The project seeks to bring together expertise from both universities in these two connected but not integrated areas of research. The project kicked off with a virtual meeting on the theme of ‘Disruptions and continuity in climate politics’ in December 2021, which was very fruitful, and a programme of work was agreed for the first half of 2022.

IMAGINE - Contested Futures of Sustainability

Dan Welch is collaborating with colleagues at Consumption Research Norway (SIFO), Oslo Metropolitan University on the project ‘IMAGINE - Contested Futures of Sustainability’ (PI Nina Heidenstrøm),funded by the Research Council of Norway. IMAGINE is an interdisciplinary research project across humanities, social sciences, design and arts, bringing together researchers from Norway, the Netherlands and the UK, that investigates the power of cultural imaginaries of sustainability to influence societal change, and guide and legitimize actions taken by different societal actors to establish possible futures.

The project in part builds on Dan’s ESRC funded ‘Imagined Futures of Consumption’. Dan will be involved as a Work Package Co-Lead over the project duration (01/12/21 – 31/11/24). Dan’s role will include organising project workshops and input to the development of a PhD course in sustainability for design and art students at Oslo Met University, as well as collaborating on international conference presentations and journal articles. Project partners include Eindhoven University of Technology (Netherlands), the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History, Design and Architecture Norway (DOGA), and the Faculty of Technology, Art and Design at Oslo Met.

Material Participation and Sustainable Practice

In May 2021 we hosted David Schlosberg (University of Sydney) as a virtual visiting professor to SCI. In the course of this two-week ‘visit’ we held four events: 

David gave the first SCI annual lecture, entitled ‘Material participation and sustainable practice’, which explored the idea of - and demand for - political participation that is just, prefigurative, sustainable, and based on material actions. What kind of politics is guerrilla gardening or installing community batteries? While there is a long history of material participation in social movements, recent movements incorporate a shift in relations between human and nonhuman as a political act.

University of Manchester-University of Melbourne, Global Doctoral Research Network (GOLDEN) PhD Project

The SCI has recently been successful in securing one of 10 joint University of Manchester-University of Melbourne, Global Doctoral Research Network (GOLDEN) PhD Projects. The 3.5 year PhD studentship will critically address the question: Are digital platforms a threat or a complement to urban sustainability strategies?  

The research contributes to the SCI’s developing programme on urban platforms. It is situated at the interface of urban studies and innovation studies and synthesises two debates: first, debates around visions of future sustainable cities and how these are incorporated in to urban strategies and policy; and second, the emergence of digital platforms as a new business model and their intervention into systems of provision at urban scale.

The PhD will develop rich contextual understanding of how digital platforms contribute to rethinking what is meant by urban sustainability. It will undertake comparative research on this issue across two urban contexts (Greater Manchester and Greater Melbourne). This will be done via in-depth case studies, reliant on qualitative data, including that drawn from documentary analysis and key informant interviews.

The successful candidate, Danial Naqvi, will be based both in Manchester and Melbourne and will be supervised by Dr Mike Hodson and Professor Andrew McMeekin at the University of Manchester and Professor Brendan Gleeson at the University of Melbourne.

Environmental Sustainability in Immigrant Households (Leverhulme Trust)

Sherilyn MacGregor, Catherine Walker & Tally Katz-Gerro, University of Haifa have been awarded a research grant (£331k) from the Leverhulme Trust for their project ‘Environmental Sustainability in Immigrant Households’. The funding is for 39 months and will fund a full-time post for Catherine as well as PhD student, Zarina Ahmad.


This project will investigate how Global South-to-North migration and the drive for urban sustainability intersect at the household level. The location is Manchester, where increasing immigration and ethnic diversity combine with an agenda to become a leading green city in Europe. Through mixed-methods, co-produced research, we will examine how immigrants from Pakistan and Somalia, two of the largest and fastest-growing groups in Manchester, perceive the green agenda and engage in 'environmentally significant' practices in daily life. We will also investigate how immigrants’ engagement in sustainability practices can contribute to building social cohesion and community resilience.


Global South-to-Global North migration and environmental sustainability

Sherilyn MacGregor, Tally Katz-Gerro, University of Haifa and Catherine Walker have been awarded £10k through the Melbourne-Manchester Research Fund to undertake a collaborative pump-priming project with Professor Lesley Head (Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor and Head of School of Geography) at the University of Melbourne.

The purpose of the project is to compare and consolidate research on Global South-to-Global North migration and environmental sustainability in the context of climate emergency and global inequalities. It will explore questions about how the everyday environmental practices and knowledge of immigrants 'unsettle' dominant sustainability perspectives and how they might be positioned as a resource rather than a problem in Global North contexts.

The funding enables a residential visit by Prof Head and a post-graduate researcher. The project also aims to yield a funding bid for a major comparative, cross-national research project, two Manchester-based workshops, and a panel at the Royal Geographical Society annual conference in August 2020.

Intergenerational Transmission of Environmental Behaviours in Israel, South Korea and the United States

Prof Femida Handy from the University of Pennsylvania, Dr Itay Greenspan from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Ya’ara Vered from the University of Haifa will be spending a week at the SCI, working with Tally Katz-Gerro, presenting in the SCI seminar, and meeting with the sustainability and social inequalities working group. The aim of the visit is to make progress on research funded by the US-Israel Binational Science Foundation, on intergenerational transmission of environmental behaviours in Israel, South Korea and the United States. The visit is funded by the SCI Research and Internationalisation Fund.

On 28 February and 1 March, the SCI, in collaboration with the Manchester Urban Institute, is organising and hosting an international workshop: Urban platforms and the future city: Transformations in infrastructure, governance, knowledge, and everyday life. The workshop will welcome more than 20 attendees from the US, Canada, Australia, India, the Netherlands and the UK. Its aim is to begin a process of integrating a vibrant but currently fragmented academic agenda on urban platforms as part of a process of producing an agenda-setting edited book.

Innovating Markets towards Sustainable Consumption and Production

Prof Susanne Sweet, Prof Ranjula Bali Swain and additional colleagues from the Stockholm School of Economics Mistra Center for Sustainable Markets will be visiting the SCI on 29th January to participate in a workshop on Innovating Markets towards Sustainable Consumption and Production.  

The use of visioning and agent-based modelling

Profs. Igor Nikolic and Jaco Quist will visit from TU Delft in the Netherlands to present about the use of visioning and agent-based modelling. They discuss how these interesting new research methods, both individually and together, can offer entirely new ways to explore transitions to sustainability, policies for socio-technical change and stakeholder engagement.

Energy flexibility, energy demand modelling and local-scale renewable integration

Dr Andrew Bollinger will visit from the Urban Energy Systems Laboratory (UESL) at Empa in Switzerland to present about his work on energy flexibility, energy demand modelling and local-scale renewable integration. He will discuss how the technical and economic dimensions that he usually focuses on the need to be elaborated with social, psychological, ethical and legal dimensions in order to address the increasingly urgent problems arising as digital technologies reshape urban and energy systems. 

The Multi-level and Multi-actor Governance of Climate Change and Sustainability

Paul Tobin is leading, along with Mat Paterson and Andreas Duit at Stockholm, this collaborative initiative between colleagues at Manchester and at Stockholm University. The project seeks to develop future larger-scale collaborations between a range of scholars at both institutions around themes of mutual interest around climate policy and politics, notably in comparative political analysis and analysis of global climate governance.

Urban Food Security and Sustainability in Times of Crisis

  • University of Manchester - University of Toronto Joint Research Fund 2021
  • Collaboration between Sustainable Consumption Institute (Manchester)
  • Culinaria Research Center (Toronto)

The collaboration involved email exchange and workshops between the SCI project team (Frank Boons, Alan Warde, Ulrike Ehgartner, Steffen Hirth, Filippo Oncini, Dan Welch) and the core team of the University of Toronto (Sharma, Rohel, Dale, Allison, and others from the Culinaria Research Center team) both prior to and during the project duration. The project aimed at building links regarding food security and sustainability research based on significant overlaps between the research activities at both universities. Key questions were: How did the pandemic change urban food provisioning especially as regards (a) retail, on-the-go food, and delivery platforms, (b) small producers, local food businesses, and grassroots food assistance networks, and (c) social equity and access to food? What were the social, political, economic, and technical dynamics that enabled or constrained pandemic food security and justice?