University of Leeds: Tackling the world’s biggest challenges through research

University of Leeds: Tackling the world’s biggest challenges through research
Source: University of Leeds

If you’re looking to study and be part of a university that prides itself on impactful research that addresses pressing issues, the University of Leeds could be the perfect fit.

As a testament to its academic prowess, Leeds is ranked in the top 10 UK universities in the Guardian University Guide 2019, and stands among the top 100 universities in the QS World University Rankings 2019. Leeds takes pride in undertaking interdisciplinary, impact-orientated research across diverse fields to address problems at regional, national and global levels.

Prospective students wanting to stay ahead of the curve will be pleased to know that research is at the heart of your studies at Leeds. This research-intensive university is committed to tackling global challenges in various areas, including:


Leeds’s city research aims to help create socially-, environmentally- and economically-sustainable cities. Researchers take on leading roles in national and international cities research, working on projects in various realms, including examining the resilience of infrastructure systems, low-carbon city systems and ‘big data’ in cities.

Source: University of Leeds

Professor Gary Dymski, Co-Director of the cities theme at the Applied Institute of Research in Economics (AIRE), says, “The Cities theme encompasses research from many academic disciplines, especially engineering, economics, and environmental science.

“We are actively engaged in projects that are transforming urban technologies and structures, including recycling and decommissioning, the use of artificial intelligence and robotics to design more efficient infrastructure, the potentials of fintech for transforming money and finance, and so on.”

Meanwhile, Colombian student Jaime Gomez, who studied an MSc in Transport Planning and Engineering at the Institute of Transport Studies (ITS), said he chose the ITS as he believes it stands among the most prestigious Transport Institutes.

“Many of the professors are global referents in the field of transport while the university also has a good professional development programme which aims to help students to continue their professional career upon concluding their studies,” he says.

Climate Change

Climate change is a worrying threat to the ecosystem and to humanity; it requires researchers who can work together across a range of disciplines to come up with solutions.

Leeds’s researchers are dedicated to improving their understanding of fundamental climate science and developing solutions to reduce climate change and its impact on nature and society.

The university has not only invested over £10 million to develop the Priestley International Centre for Climate, growing interdisciplinary research that underpins robust and timely climate solutions, but researchers are also engaged in global agendas.

Data Analytics

Data is a driving force for many businesses. But datasets held by organisations and businesses are becoming so large and complex that traditional data processing software is no longer able to deal with them.

The Leeds Institute for Data Analytics (LIDA) is developing data analytics as a transformative technology and playing a crucial role where research, education and industry meet.

Through strategic collaborations and partnerships, Leeds researchers have gone on to work with cancer teams within regional hospitals, using the findings to implement changes that can ensure the highest standard of care.

Source: University of Leeds



Energy can impact quality of life, as well as the economy and the environment. Meanwhile, future energy systems will need not just new technologies, but also new policies, governance arrangements, business and finance models.

Leeds’s researchers are working towards maintaining clean, secure and affordable supplies as part of a sustainable energy future by understanding whole energy systems from an interdisciplinary perspective.

They have a range of energy-related courses at undergraduate, masters and PhD level.


The earth’s population is projected to approach 10 billion by 2050, and food production must increase to meet this growing population. Leeds is addressing the global challenges in food security by drawing together expertise in four key areas: food and environment, livestock science, food innovation technology, and diet and health.

The university has a track record of food and nutrition research which has influenced policy, and supported R&D and innovation on issues from sustenance to sustainability.

For example, Professor Francisco M. Goycoolea Valencia, Chair of Biopolymers at the School of Food Science and Nutrition, says that among their key priorities is the discovery of alternative sustainable solutions to produce foods that would be capable of gradually replacing high-protein products that are predominately made from animal produce.


Leeds’s water@leeds focuses on interdisciplinary challenges for solving major water issues, bringing researchers together with charities, non-governmental organisations, policy-makers and businesses.

The centre uses an interdisciplinary approach to solving major water crises, encompassing expertise from across the physical, biological, chemical, social and economic sciences and engineering, as well as the arts.

“The University of Leeds is committed to tackle global challenges and water is indeed one of our most important and successful areas of research and training,” says Dr Miller Alonso Camargo-Valero, Associate Professor of BioResource Systems and Associate Director of water@leeds.

“Our leadership has been pivotal for the development of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goal 6 – i.e., Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.”

An unrivalled academic experience

Apart from undertaking impactful research that tackles global challenges, students have found that programmes at Leeds are fruitful, both from a personal and professional standpoint.

Source: University of Leeds

Lucila Capelli from Argentina, who pursued the MSc (Eng) in Transport Planning and the Environment says, “ITS and Leeds will give you a strong learning experience in transport – you will feel that this 12-month learning experience has changed the way you analyse, not only transportation solutions but also public policy agenda.”

Capelli currently works as a specialist advisor for the Minister of Transportation of the Argentinean Federal Government. She attributes her employment visits organised by ITS as a springboard that helped her visualise her future employment roles.

To help you realise your dream of pursuing a postgraduate programme in the UK, Leeds offers scholarships for students – this includes the Santander scholarships that are exclusive for students from North and Latin American countries – in addition to agreements with a host of funding bodies across Latin America, including CONACYT, FIDERH, COLFUTURO and CONICYT.

So, if you’re looking to be a part of a prestigious, research-intensive Russell Group university with a solid history in research, the University of Leeds may just check all your boxes.

Follow the University of Leeds – Latin America on Facebook and Instagram, or speak directly with a student University Ambassador here

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