Alice Owen

Professor in Business, Sustainability and Stakeholder Engagement, University of Leeds

Alice Owen

Alice is Professor in Business, Sustainability and Stakeholder Engagement at the University of Leeds.

Alice’s career has spanned private, public and voluntary sector organisations and she has a track record of achievement in developing and delivering projects to support more sustainable development.

Alice was the lead commissioner for local and regional issues with the UK Sustainable Development Commission from 2005 – 11, working with the politicians and executives of the UK and its devolved governments. An engineer by training, Alice has been working in the field of sustainable development since 1991. She has first hand experience of the chemical industry and of waste management operations. From 1996-8, Alice was an NGO project manager on a wide range of environmental education projects internationally. She first worked in the public sector as Head of Conservation and Policy at the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, from 1998-2001. In 2001, she established the sustainable development team in Yorkshire Forward, one of nine English regional development agencies. Alice hs also established and run her own freelancing consultancy businessiness and has worked for the Environment Agency in policy development. Alice led consultancy firm Arup’s sustainability consulting work from Leeds for five years before joining the University of Leeds.


B.Eng (Hons) Special Engineering Programme, Brunel University

MBA – Manchester Business School

PhD – School of Geography, University of Leeds. Thesis title “The diffusion and impact of domestic ‘green technology’ and the role of ‘place’ ”


MIEMA – Member of the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment

Member of the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Green Economy panel from 2016.

Research Interests

The diffusion and impact of domestic green technology. This has developed into an investigation of the role of technology and data in changing domestic behaviours. The potential impact of smart meters on energy consumption is an area we are exploring in Leeds.

The role of ‘place’ in sustainability. Most recently, this has been in developing a framework for the circular economy at city scale, working from the starting point of a city’s assets rather than the problem of a city’s waste arisings.

Achieving domestic low carbon retrofit – particularly the role of advisers and installers; NGOs and micro-enterprises. Alice is working on a research collaboration exploring these issues with ECI, Oxford, funded by the UK Energy Research Centre, the GLIDER project.

Effective knowledge exchange – Alice is keen to develop further capacity to bridge between academic research and public sector practitioners. A KTE project with Leeds City Council led to generating new lines of research, but also found ways to use existing city assets and knowledge to drive positive research impacts.

Teaching Interests

Alice leads two MSc modules looking at different aspects of project managementin practice in Semester 2 – SOEE5223 “Delivering Sustainability through Projects” and SOEE5192 “Project Management – Environmental Contracts”.

She also teaches on SOEE5231 “The Regulatory and Planning Context of Environmental Projects” in Semester 1 and SOEE5341 “Issues and Cases in Corporate Social Responsibility” in semester 2.

Alice leads the 60 credit “Sustainability Consultancy Project” which is a unique feature of the MSc Sustainability & Consultancy programme. Teaching to support this project module involves a wide range of skill development and professional practice sessions.