Research groups

Exeter is a leading UK Geography Department and a centre for world-leading geographical research.  We have a vibrant research environment, organized around 6 groups, which are the cornerstone of our research culture. These groups act as hubs of activity by focusing and coordinating research activity, and by encouraging collaboration within and beyond the discipline.

Human Geography Research Groups:

In human geography our research is established around the following 4 groups:

  • Cultural and Historical Geographies: is a focal point for Exeter’s internationally recognised excellence in cultural and historical geographies. The group’s research positions Exeter at the leading edge of current geographical understandings of culture, matter, landscape, knowledge and creativity.
  • Space, Politics and Society: research in this cluster is concerned with the question of ‘Who Gets What Where and How?’ Members investigate contemporary geographies of inequality, injustice and insecurity, seeking to understand new scales of governance, the emergence of oppositional practices, and innovative forms of popular participation. 
  • Nature, Materialities and Biopolitics (NaMBIO): a group of internationally recognized scholars whose research focuses on the geographies and politics of living and material systems, and who address key questions around geography, life science and bio-politics. 
  • Environment and Sustainability: a group comprises leading and emerging social scientists who undertake interdisciplinary research on frontier issues of environment and sustainability. The group bring spatial and geographical dimensions to research on sustainability theory and policy, and undertake cutting-edge research in distinctive areas such as place attachment, political economies of energy, climate justice and ecosystem services.
  • Energy Policy Group: based at our Penryn Campus, is a core element of our wider environment and sustainability research and has a  focus on placing sustainability and change at the heart of debates about energy policy and governance..

Physical Geography Research Groups:

In physical geography our research is focused around the following 2 groups who work on past, present and future environmental change:

  • Environmental Change: this group undertakes world-leading research, using cutting edge palaeoecological and palaeoclimatic analytical and dating approaches, to: a) document periods of major past climate and environmental change; b) to reconstruct and model glacial and ice-sheet dynamics over multiple Quaternary timescales; and c) to understand the effects of environmental change on contemporary terrestrial and marine environments.
  • Landscape and Ecosystem Dynamics: this group builds on Exeter’s established strengths in water, sediment and nutrient cycling, but integrates expertise in ecosystem functioning, carbon dynamics and climate modelling. A key focus is on the links between landscape processes and ecosystem responses to human activity and climate change.

Geographers at Exeter also contribute to the cross disciplinary Earth System Science group.

Inter-disciplinary Research Initiatives

Geography has been at the fore-front of developing two major cross University research initiatives:

  • Climate Change and Sustainable Futures (CCSF): CCSF research has three main themes: predicting climate change and its effects on ecosystems and human and animal health; developing technologies to mitigate these effects; and public attitudes and government policy to climate change.
  • Humanities and Social Science (HASS): the HASS strategy is a focus for Exeter’s world-leading research across the humanities and social sciences, and Geography leads two core themes in Science, Technology and Culture, and Environment and Sustainability.

Geography also contributes to the Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI) on our Cornwall which has allowed us to expand our expertise in environmental and social change into areas focused explicitly on ecosystem services.

Research Projects and Grants

Please see the grant success pages for details of major recent and on-going research projects and grant awards in Geography.