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Wind turbines in a landscape imageThe Centre for Sustainability's research explores the technical and societal challenges of New Zealand's transition to a low-carbon energy system including:

  • Changing energy cultures
  • Climate change adaptation
  • Innovations in energy supply and demand
  • National energy system modelling
  • Transport transitions

We also collaborate with the Transport Research Network, a University of Otago Research Theme and the Built Environment and Active Transport to School (BEATS) research programme.

The Transport Research Network aims to provide leadership in evidence-based research for the sector and policy-makers through engagement, capacity building and interdisciplinary collaboration.

The Built Environment and Active Transport to School (BEATS) Research Programme is based  on identifying individual, social, environmental and policy influences on on active transport (walking or cycling) behaviour. This research is designed to advance scientific knowledge and provide service to the government, local community and schools.

Lead researchers' interests and projects

Research Professor Janet Stephenson

Director, Centre for Sustainability (on study leave returning January 2022)

Janet Stephenson thumbResearch Professor Janet Stephenson is passionate about collaborative, interdisciplinary research. Her research interests include indigenous resource management; the interconnections between people and their local environments; and the role of individuals and organisations in the transition to a sustainable future.


Dr Jen Purdie

Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Sustainability

Jen Purdie thumbDr Jen Purdie works at the nexus of climate and energy. Her research interests include climate change impacts on the energy system, and climate forecasting on a range of timescales.



Professor Hugh Campbell

Professor of Sociology, Gender Studies and Criminology, School of Social Sciences

Hugh Campbell thumbProfessor Hugh Campbell has research interests in the social and economic dynamics of 'greening' food systems, the politics of sustainability under neoliberal governance, achieving sustainability via audits, food waste, transitions in agriculture and food systems in New Zealand, and theories of global food regimes.



Current postgraduate energy transitions research

Postgraduate students research projects contribute hugely to the advancement of sustainability research. Read more about their work:

  • Associations between availability of food outlets and dietary behaviours among adolescents using different modes of transport to school (Situmorang)
  • Demand Response in Agriculture (Dew)
  • Understanding the energy culture profile for Tonga's residential sector: implications for effective energy efficiency policy (Foliaki)

Recently completed energy transitions research

Recent work from both our researchers and postgraduates.

More energy transitions research

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