Staff profile

Dr Fred Paterson


Associate Professor

Lecturer presenting




College of Business, Law and Social Sciences


Innovation and Research

Research centre

Centre for Business Improvement




Kedleston Road, Derby Campus



My main interests are in sustainable business, system leadership, change and how people learn to become leaders. I co-lead the Sustainable Business and Green Growth research group which strives to develop robust, applied and impactful (place-based) research outcomes that support the shift towards a sustainable future. Between 2016-2023, I led the Derbyshire Net Zero Accelerator, the DE-Carbonise Smart Factory projects and the Low Carbon Business Network that offered business support to SMEs supplying eco-friendly, low carbon and sustainable goods and services across the East Midlands.

Teaching responsibilities

Professional interests

Keep up-to-date with my professional activity at 

My role involves collaborating with a variety of regional and national organisations that include Universities, local councils, Chambers of Commerce, Local Enterprise Partnerships, skills providers and non-governmental organisations. My specialist interests:

Research interests

My main research explores the features of pro-environmental enterprise support (PEES) provision. This ongoing collaborative action research with PEES providers from across the UK aims to help ensure national policy and regional providers are able to deliver the most effective training and support for SMEs on the journey to a net zero future.

I am also interested in the role that leadership plays in supporting sustainable transformation, the skills and qualities required to lead this transition and how businesses and other organisations collaborate to accelerate the shift towards a low-carbon economy. 

In 2016, I set up a unique longitudinal study, that continues to map the growth of the Low Carbon Sector in the D2N2 region.

Membership of professional bodies


Recent conferences

We host a Sustainability Summit every year in collaboration with the East Midlands Chamber. In 2024, the event will be held at the University of Derby Kedleston Road site on 12 September.

Experience in industry

I have 30+ years of experience in public sector organisations, such as schools, Local Authorities, Universities and the National College for School Leadership - where I held senior roles in research and leadership development for ten years. I was also an Associate of the Virtual Staff College (who provide leadership development nationally for Directors of Children's Services) where I co-facilitated the national Mentor Induction for Directors of Children's Services Programme and provided coaching and action learning training for senior managers in several local authorities in the East of England.

In 2017, I founded the Low Carbon Business Network which offered business support to more than 250 SMEs pursuing the journey to Net Zero across the East Midlands and co-hosted the Low Carbon Business Podcast which showcases SMEs that are at the leading edge of sustainable and regenerative practices.

I also run my own consultancy (Accelerate the Shift) which is a social enterprise dedicated to creating a healthier, fairer and more sustainable future through collaborative learning experiences. 

Recent publications

Selected peer reviewed papers:

A full up-to-date list of my publications can be found at 

solar panels and wind turbines in a green space

Dr Fred Paterson, Associate Professor of Sustainable Business and Clean Growth at the University of Derby, examines the results of a six-year study into pro-environmental business and clean growth trends undertaken by the University’s Sustainable Business Research group in collaboration with the East Midlands Chamber.

Derby stadium and trees and buildings

Dr Fred Paterson, the University of Derby's project lead for the Low Carbon Business Network, looks at how meeting the Clean Growth challenge will help us take advantage of global changes to improve people's lives and the country's productivity.

Dr Fred Paterson, the University of Derby's Project Lead for the Low Carbon Business Network, looks at how the city is setting achievable, sustainable goals.