Catherine Graves

Research student, University of Leeds

Catherine Graves

Catherine joined the University in October 2018 as a PhD student, having previously completed her MSc in Sustainability within the School of Earth and Environment. She has also worked for the University’s Sustainability Service, in energy consultancy and more recently in research support for the School. Catherine’s research focuses on the relationship between virtual reality (VR) and behaviour change, within the context of pro-environmental and climate mitigating behaviour. She is exploring the decision-making mechanism which occurs between empathy being generated by experiencing virtual reality, and the potential for subsequent behaviour change. The project is funded by the University of Leeds Global Challenge Scholarship. It is an interdisciplinary project, based in the School of Earth and Environment, but partnered with the Institute for Transport Studies and the Bradford Institute for Health Research.

Catherine is passionate about the role of behaviour change to mitigating climate change, and contributing to a sustainable society more broadly. Virtual reality has recently begun to be used as a tool to generate empathy and raise awareness for issues such as the impact of climate change and environmental degradation by organisations at a range of scales, but little research exists into whether this is translated into meaningful, long term behaviour change, therefore her projects hopes to contribute to filling that gap.

Research interests

  • Behaviour change
  • Climate change
  • Climate and energy policy
  • Virtual Reality
  • Decision-making


  • MSc Sustainability (Environmental Politics and Policy); University of Leeds
  • BSc Geography (University College London)