The Priestley International Centre for Climate  is unique in bringing together world leading expertise in all the key strands of climate change research.

Climate change and its impact on society and ecosystems is a global challenge and the centre aims to provide international solutions to the problems. Effective policy and solutions need to be underpinned by robust research and the Priestley Centre’s focus is on new interdisciplinary research partnerships that better link our physical, technological, economic and social understanding of climate change with strategies for mitigation and adaptation.

The Priestley International Centre for Climate is one of the university’s flagship strategic investments in response to the global challenge of climate change, with £6.82 million invested in it over five years.  The centre is currently a virtual one, with a new dedicated building space due to open in 2018. It was set up in late 2015 and will launch formally on 14 June 2016.  The centre comprises:

  • Four chairs
  • Up to seven annual appointments of prestigious University Academic Fellowships
  • Up to nine annual full time PhD studentships (EU only at present)
  • Two centre support staff in Research and Innovation and Communications and a Centre Administrator
  • 187 members (as of June 2017) representing eight faculties

For more information about the Priestley Centre, see the infographics below.




Joseph Priestley



Joseph Priestley (1733-1804) was a British natural philosopher, preacher and polymath who is credited with the discovery of oxygen and conducted early experiments on the carbon cycle. He worked in Leeds from 1767-1773 at Mill Hill Chapel in City Square, where his statue still stands, and during his time there he experimented with carbon dioxide from the local brewery, capturing the gas and impregnating water with it to create soda water. The work won him the Royal Society Copley Medal and we have taken our Centre’s name from this inspirational Yorkshire scientist.  Today his work feeds into models of how oceans are acting as sinks for carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that is a major contributor to climate change. Read more about Joseph Priestley and his work in our blog.