Ursula Balderson


I joined the University in 2020 as a postdoctoral research associate on a project on Work, Labour and Climate Change with Prof. Vera Trappmann and Dr. Jo Cutter. 

I completed my PhD at Newcastle University (2018) in environmental sociology. My PhD was a case study of a conflict between a large multinational mining project and a village nearby whose water resources had been affected. It looked at how the emotional climate around the mine influenced the trajectory of the conflict as well as the socio-political dimensions of the small scale infrastructure project (a water storage reservoir) built to address the water crisis in the village. 


2018-2020 – The Employment Dosage Project: How much work is needed for health and wellbeing? – The University of Cambridge 

2020-2020 – Combatting Climate Change: The Role of Labour – The University of Leeds

2021-2022 – Worker voice in Just Transitions to a low carbon economy: building evidence based policy making in Yorkshire and the Humber – The University of Leeds

2022-2025 – Just Transition activities in international comparison: debates, concepts and strategies – The University of Leeds


Research interests

I am an interdisciplinary social scientist interested in how the transition to a greener economy can improve worker wellbeing and quality of life. My current project with Vera Trappmann and Jo Cutter will explore how country level contextual features influence the development of Just Transition policies. Previous projects have considered the wellbeing implications of reduced hour working, the implications of decarbonisation policies for workers and manufacturing industries and worker perceptions of climate change. My PhD fieldwork on the local effects of metal and mineral demands informs my commitment to researching and developing green economy policies based on reducing the overall material throughput of the global economy. I am interested in visual forms of research dissemination and have made several short films about my research.

My research interests are varied and include

  1. Time use and worker wellbeing
  2. Job quality in the green economy
  3. The political economy of infrastructure projects 
  4. Coalition building between environmental and labour movements
  5. The practicalities of implementing working time reductions
  6. Worker perspectives on Just Transition policy
  7. The political ecology of water 


  • PhD Sociology: Newcastle University
  • MA Latin American Studies: Newcastle University
  • MSc Environmental Engineering: Newcastle University
  • BA Human Geography: University of Sheffield

Student education

I teach on the Sustainable Futures, Climate Change the Environment and Business module