Skip to content

Sustainable Societies

Many countries across the world face significant challenges in developing sustainable societies. Many countries are riven by war and conflict; energy, food, water and other resources are being rapidly depleted weak governance and economic models have led to corruption and stark inequalities.

The academic theme of Sustainable Societies will support growth in economic, political and relational well-being for current and future generations through innovative research and teaching and knowledge transfer programmes.

See examples of our global impact in sustainable societies >>

person filling a cup from an outside tap in Africa

Reducing inequality in Western Australia


Previous research at Bradford into the dynamics of service delivery and professional practice in multi-ethnic societies; working with, for example, midwives, nurses, social workers and journalists resulted in innovative work on inter-ethnic relations with government departments and professional bodies. This research led to an invitation to collaborate with the Equal Opportunity Commission of Western Australia (WA) where, in 2005, the Substantive Equality Unit (SEU) was established to challenge discrimination, and develop a policy framework to address the issue of culturally sensitive service delivery across all government departments.

image of ayers rock in Australia

Challenging discrimination within the Australian setting meant that sensitivity towards the distinctive history of Australian identity and politics had to be considered when addressing inequality. Professor Husband’s previous practical and academic work in Australia provided a background to his work on this initiative. Working with a small team of colleagues, and with critical political backing at key moments, a carefully staged programme of work was developed.



The SEU continues to impact positively on the lives and opportunities of minority groups living in WA, influencing government departments to increase the accessibility and use of services by people from minority backgrounds.

Recognising diversity in prisons

Prisons in England and Wales now respond to equality and diversity issues in a way which benefits both the staff and prisoners, following the introduction of a national equalities framework influenced by University of Bradford research in 心理学.

Following the racially-motivated death of an inmate in a young offenders’ institution in 2000,  policy and practice in prisons had focused almost exclusively on race and ethnicity, without addressing the need to recognise the breadth of inequalities experienced by other diverse minorities. Bradford academics collaborated with the National Offender Management Service (NOMS), the Race Equality Action Group, the Diversity Manager of a high security prison as well as with prisoners representing diversities including age, sexual orientation, disability, transgender, religion/belief and race/ethnicity. The knowledge generated through these collaborations has impacted directly on NOMS national policy development as well as local policy and practice.

photo of dark prison cell

The resulting NOMS national equalities framework adopts a key recommendation of the research which is greater prisoner consultation when developing guidelines for prison staff regarding diversity. Implementation of these guidelines means that staff benefit from improved support and confidence in responding appropriately and effectively to diversity issues, and prisoners benefit indirectly through their improved experience of staff responses. For example, in one prison guides have been developed to assist staff in respecting diversity when searching prisoners, particularly transgender, and also clarifying the rights and responsibilities of both staff and transgender offenders.

Based on other research findings, NOMS commissioned good practice guidance and a national training package for prisoner equalities representatives, and developed mediatory rather than adversarial methods for dealing with complaints relating to diversity issues. The research found that prisoners prefer to resolve issues of diversity and inequality in a non-confrontational way, confirming the importance of face-to-face interactions between staff and prisoners to ensure fairness in prisons.


Uncovering Shetland's iron age past

For over a decade, Bradford archaeologists have worked in Shetland, to reveal one of the best-preserved iron age sites in Europe. The Old Scatness Project has had public access at its heart right from the start of the dig, with the team winning the British Archaeological Award for its public presentation.

Today, guided tours of meticulously reconstructed houses inhabited by ‘living history’ demonstrators give visitors a superb experience of what iron age life might have been like. ag8平台ers worked in partnership with the Shetland Amenity Trust to excavate a broch, or roundhouse, surrounded by an iron age village. Specialist craft workers now demonstrate iron age skills to visitors, including metal and jewellery working, pottery, textiles and rope making. Elsewhere in Shetland, manufacturers have created products – including an Old Scatness Ale – based on the findings at the site that have contributed to the cultural identity of the islands, as well as to its economy.

The research carried out by the Bradford-led team is also enriching education in Shetland. Education packs based on the site, which include replica artefacts, have been developed for 32 schools and schoolchildren visiting the site participate in traditional craft activities.


The quality of the work carried out at Old Scatness has made a significant contribution to Shetland’s heritage and its tourism trade and has also enabled the site to be considered for World Heritage Site status.

Ariel image of old scatness in shetlands showing iron age settlement University of Bradford

Geoprospecting our historic landscapes

Geoprospecting 'the science of finding features and sites hidden beneath the earth's surface' has become a commonplace archaeological tool, and is familiar to the public via TV programmes such as Time Team.

Bradford researchers in Archaeological and Forensic Sciences were early pioneers of technologies used in geoprospecting which are now used widely throughout the world. The techniques offer a way of uncovering important archaeological finds while minimising damage and disruption to potentially sensitive sites.

academic doing prospecting for achaeology

The university has built long-term partnerships with leading surveying and manufacturing companies and helped develop new technology and strategies for low-impact survey - Bradford Centre for Archaeological Prospection. These are used by heritage management organisations to inform planners who need detailed archaeological information prior to development work. One of the partners, Geoscan ag8平台, currently supplies these geoprospecting systems throughout the EU.


500 Internal Server Error

Internal Server Error

The server encountered an internal error and was unable to complete your request. Either the server is overloaded or there is an error in the application.

International investment and trade

A model developed by researchers 会计 at the University of Bradford which aims to accelerate international trade for developing countries has been adopted by the G20 group of finance ministers.

Successful international investment and trade is viewed by the United Nations as a main driver of growth in both developing countries and countries with transitional economies. The research carried out at Bradford has led to the development and adoption of international policy tools in two areas of foreign investment – agriculture and value chain – helping build successful, long-term business relationships between foreign enterprises and developing countries.

500 Internal Server Error

Internal Server Error

The server encountered an internal error and was unable to complete your request. Either the server is overloaded or there is an error in the application.

bloge paperweight sat on graph charts

The model has been used in various contexts, including in the formulation and research on Principles for Responsible Agricultural Investment (PRAI) - a framework aimed at ensuring that investment in agriculture in developing regions, such as Africa and South East Asia is beneficial overall. Similarly, a methodology to Measuring and Maximising Economic Value Added and Job Creation from Private Investment in Specific Value Chains (IMMEV) is being used to support the G20’s development ‘pillar’ and has been implemented in six countries: Bangladesh, Cambodia, Dominican Republic, Laos, Mongolia and Mozambique.

Professor Hafiz Mirza in the 学校 of Management is currently seconded to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) as Chief of Investment Issues ag8平台 - a culmination of the long-term engagement between Bradford researchers and transnational policy organisations. The UNCTAD motto is ‘Think, Debate, Deliver’ and Professor Mirza’s role includes work on economic development impact, linking to related work throughout the UN system including its sister organisations such as the World Bank.

TUC engagement with minority communities

University of Bradford research in the 学校 of Social Sciences has directly influenced changes in TUC national policy, leading to an increased engagement with - and recruitment of - black and ethnic minority (BME) and migrant workers.

The national and regional Trades Union Congress (TUC) recognised that developing alliances between unions and community groups of all kinds was the key to increased recruitment. Building on an established reputation with the TUC, the researchers undertook various projects to find out how this could be worked towards and achieved. In the first instance, survey findings showed that trades unions were not viewed negatively amongst these communities, thereby opening up the possibility for collaboration and community engagement.

migrant workers on a roof



Further research identified and publicised examples of best practice where unions were already working with community groups. The resulting report recommended continued support for anti-fascist groups, community advice centres and community learning centres. A third project, commissioned by Yorkshire and the Humber TUC, aimed to identify the benefits that trades unions were already generating by providing, for example, training or language skills to migrant workers.

Improving global biosecurity

Since the mid-1990s, the 学校 of Social Sciences has been influencing global biosecurity through a portfolio of research reports and briefing papers used by the 170 State members of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) to continually strengthen the treaty.

The BTWC was the first multilateral disarmament treaty banning the development, production, stockpiling of an entire category of weapons that could be used to generate disease in humans, animals and crops.  Funded by major international charitable and governmental bodies, Bradford’s research portfolio has incorporated insights into new biology applications, such as genetic weapons to target ethnic groups, and highlighted how poor biosecurity practices could lead to accidental misuse of life sciences research, with catastrophic consequences.

Biological chemicals in a laboratory with protective clothing


布拉德福德通过编写培训资源,为世界各地的生命科学家,进一步支撑了条约的宗旨。 20个讲课探索周围道德,最佳实践负责任的行为,并通过生命科学的ag8平台开发的技术所带来的潜在威胁的问题都可以访问在线的收费是不同的语言。

In 2010 Bradford launched the world’s only university-accredited module for scientists to train their colleagues in bioethics and biosecurity, a programme completed by life scientists from 14 countries. Recent funding has enabled the Bradford team to tailor the online resources to specific issues and needs of individual countries where biosecurity training is particularly pertinent, with the US Department of State commissioning the team to deliver training in Iraq.

Building community resilience in Bradford


Building on earlier research into civil society and social movements in Latin America, Bradford academics founded the Programme for a Peaceful City (PPC) in 2001 to apply research findings to real community issues. The International Centre for Participation Studies (ICPC) was established in 2004 as a research hub, bringing together community and institutional partners to share knowledge, build connections to a range of community groups and enhance the community ‘voice’.

row of police with protective shields

500 Internal Server Error

Internal Server Error

The server encountered an internal error and was unable to complete your request. Either the server is overloaded or there is an error in the application.

该ICPS / PPC有助于改变通过确保基层维和支持,并鼓励与社区的抗灾能力的努力青年参与警务布拉德福德潜在动荡的文化。 2013年7月,一个社区大学发起的“COMM-UNI-TY”,使地方活动家一起学习有关权力和参与的学者 - 这可能在其他城市使用的模型。