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Shona Smith

Head of the Priestley Centre for Climate Futures

Following a research career in atmospheric chemistry, I moved into professional services to focus on coordinating and leading interdisciplinary research and innovation driven activities in sustainability and climate. I have significant experience as climate focused research and innovation development lead working with researchers from a range of career stages and disciplines and external partners.

As Head of the Priestley Centre for Climate Futures, I lead the delivery of the Centre’s research vision working across  disciplinary, professional, and institutional boundaries to drive research-led climate action. I lead a team of climate focused professional services staff with diverse specialisms to deliver initiatives and activities to meet the Centre’s strategic objectives and develop a community of staff, students and external partners. I also act as a key link for the University of Leeds Climate Plan delivery programme team to support academic engagement and opportunities for innovative research and innovation through Climate Plan delivery.

Externally to the University of Leeds, I am a founding steering committee member of the UK Universities Climate Network and co-lead of the network’s net zero universities activity stream.


Research & Innovation Development Manager, Priestley International Centre for Climate, University of Leeds (2016 – 2023)
Research Coordinator, Institute for Sustainability, Newcastle University (2014 – 2016)
Research Scientist, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Boulder, USA (2012 – 2013)
Research Fellow, School of Chemistry, University of Leeds (2008 – 2011)
Research Fellow, School of Chemistry, University of Bristol (2007 – 2008)


PhD Atmospheric Chemistry, University of Leeds (2007)

MChem, 1st class honours and Dawson prize for Physical Chemistry, University of Leeds (2003)

Contact Shona

Tel: 0113 3430563