Living Lab

Our vision is a University where ideas and collaboration thrive, where integration of sustainability enhances the value of the campus, student education, research and innovation, and where everyone is given the knowledge and skills to be more sustainable.

The Living Lab is open to everyone. It brings together colleagues and partners from research, teaching and operational teams to co-produce innovative and transformational solutions to real-world sustainability challenges, using the campus as a test-bed. It is transdisciplinary and drives continual, sustainable improvement by tackling global challenges at the local scale.

Get involved!

We’ve created a launch fund of £5000 as part of the launch of the University’s Living Lab for sustainability. The fund is open to all staff and students and is available until Friday 2nd June.

  • Are you developing research into sustainability challenges? Are you looking for an opportunity to trial or test a research idea or an innovative solution? Bids of up to £1000 are invited for interdisciplinary research projects that meet
  • Are you a student considering a sustainability dissertation or other assessed project as part of your studies? You could use the campus as your test bed, gather or analyse data that supports delivery of the University’s Sustainability Strategy, or work directly with operational staff to help solve their challenges. Bids of up to £500 are invited for applicants seeking to deliver a Living Lab project as part of their curricular activity.
  • Are you a member of staff seeking an innovative, sustainable solution to a challenge at the University? Have you considered seeking expert advice from an academic colleague? Could student research help to solve your problem? The Living Lab can help you to collaborate with the right people across the University.

You can apply to the Living Lab at any time by completing the application form below (available as a pdf or Word version) and sending it to Thom Cooper in the Sustainability Service.

[Application_Living_Lab (Word)]     [Application_Living_Lab (pdf)]

Projects

We’re already well underway with a variety of Living Lab projects? We’re pulling together some information on these and you’ll find it here soon!

Principles

Projects within the Living Lab Programme should meet the following principles.

  • Be delivered in alignment with the key aims and themes of the University’s Strategic Plan and underpin delivery of the Sustainability Strategy
  • Formally support the University’s Global Challenges; be about people, processes and infrastructure, drawing on the cultural and social sciences as well as the STEM subjects
  • Integrate sustainability-related research, student education and University operations to drive continual and sustainable improvement
  • Identify, test and embed transformational solutions to ‘real world’ sustainability challenges whilst being scalable, replicable and transferable to our cities and regions
  • Drive experimental learning, enhanced participation and opportunities for outreach and engagement through co-creation and co-implemented campus-based solutions
  • Be interdisciplinary and delivered in partnership with internal and external stakeholders for mutual benefit, to increase impact and to enhance shared knowledge and action
  • Build knowledge and capacity by playing a leading role in the global debate and development of sustainable living labs

Questions?

We’ve pulled together a list of FAQs (available as a PDF or Word version) but if you can’t find what you’re looking for just contact Thom Cooper in the Sustainability Service who’ll be happy to help.

Living Lab_FAQ (Word)  Living Lab_FAQ (pdf)

 

School of Healthcare Sustainability Survey

As part of the School of Healthcare’s Green Impact Silver Award, the team conducted a staff survey to help understand the attitudes and views on sustainability within the department. This would also provide a baseline of information with which to work with in future years. The questions focused around attitudes, barriers and recommendations and 43 responses were received (which was almost 20% of School staff). As the staff play an important role in meeting sustainability targets, it is beneficial to make sure that they are involved in the decision making process in an attempt to making any initiatives as successful as possible.

 

Overall, the survey was well received and provided a wide range of comments that will be useful for the department when deciding and implementing new sustainability initiatives. The results suggested that staff who answered this survey see sustainability as important and necessary; with most defining it as minimising use of resources, protecting the environment and thinking long term. When asked how they believed they contributed to sustainability at work, the two most common responses were associated with recycling and printing, indicating a focus could be put on other areas.

 

Staff felt the department could be doing more to be sustainable, and provided an interesting range of recommendations on how to do this, including light usage reminders, collecting food waste in kitchens, encouraging more remote working, better communications and changing some working practices and attitudes.

The recommendations on how the School could be more sustainable also seem to be linked to the barriers that are perceived – primarily, school processes, working practices and attitudes, time, lack of communication and issues with facilities.

The most cited barrier that stops staff from being sustainable was time, with many responses stating they are too busy to think about how they can improve their actions. The results showed that the best way to encourage the staff to be more sustainable is to demonstrate the positive impact they are having by taking these alternative actions. The survey also showed that 70% of the respondents were aware of the department’s Food Bank partnership, showing there is potential for improved communication as it is a scheme the department has really tried to push. Email was by far the most preferred method of notification about what the department is doing in relation to sustainability.

 

The information gained showed there was a definite interest in sustainability within the department, with people wanting to be able to do more. The results will influence our continuing work within the School and will also be a useful tool to compare year on year progress and receive continuous feedback.

Jack Clarke & Tim Knighton

BIG Campus Bird Watch 2017

birdwatch

On the 27th January 2017 we will be holding our seventh annual ‘Big Campus Bird Watch’. This is an opportunity for our staff and students to get involved in the campus biodiversity work by helping us to record the bird species on the campus.  This event links directly with the RSPB national event, the BIG Garden Birdwatch which takes place on the weekend of 28th/30th January.  As corporate sponsors of the RSPB, we have invited them to assist us by doing some guided walks around campus on the day. This will be an excellent opportunity to develop skills, get some advice on how best to survey, or even join the RSPB!

Two walks have been arranged on the day. If you would like to register, please email sustainability@leeds.ac.uk to book a place. The walks will start from the sustainable garden at 12pm and 1pm. Places are limited, so book early to avoid disappointment.

Completing the survey

You can do the survey in any area of campus you like.  If you have the time and enthusiasm, you are more than welcome to submit multiple forms for different areas of campus!

You can complete the survey in a variety of ways.  We would encourage electronic reporting wherever possible and have set up an electronic form here that you can complete on the day.  Alternatively, you can download a copy of the form, along with a guidance sheet below and email to sustainability@leeds.ac.uk, or post in the internal post to Sustainability Service, Facilities Directorate Building, Cloberry Street, Leeds, LS2 9BT.

We will post the results of the survey on our website later in the spring.

Happy Surveying!

Sustainability Seminars hosted by SRI: The Unrelenting Quest to be a Generalist who is a Specialist of the Whole – Mark Workman

Abstract

The seminar talk will seek to explain how Mark’s attitude to academic exploration has been shaped by his experiences of working in the British Military on expeditionary combat operations, leading high risk and remote expeditions and running commercial business units in remote and occasionally dangerous parts of the world.

He will then go onto a brief overview of the work that he undertakes alongside the analysis team at the Energy Research Partnership with industry and policy makers on salient energy issues, with the team at the Grantham Institute Imperial College, London on strategic decision tools to address uncertainty, climate change communication around strategic narrative development, resources including Greenhouse Gas Removal technologies, the present initiative to establish a research programme on environmental induced conflict as well as the privileged experiences of working with the students on the Sustainable Energy Futures Course on a wide variety of research themes and the attempts to introduce a soft skills and leadership development component to the course.

About the Speaker

Mark HW Workman is an analyst at the Energy Research Partnership, 11 Princes Gardens, London and an Affiliate Researcher at the Grantham Institute for Climate Change, Imperial College, London.

He has undertaken military operational tours and extreme and high risk expeditions all over the world, and worked in West Africa and Emerging Asia running a multi-million dollar business unit of a global medical services and security company. He is developing an expertise in energy systems, innovation, resource constraints, climate change communication, environmental security and conflict.

Dr Katy Roelich is a University Academic Fellow in Climate Change and Energy Policy, jointly appointed between the School of Earth and Environment and the School of Civil Engineering. She co-leads the Energy and Climate Change Mitigation Research Group. Dr Roelich joined Leeds from the Stockholm Environment Institute, where she worked in the field of sustainable consumption and production research, and co-lead the Rethinking Development Theme.

Directions to the Venue

School of Earth and Environment Seminar Rooms (8.119). At the Earth and Environment Reception take the door on the right-hand side. The Seminar Rooms are immediately on the left.

Campus Map: http://www.leeds.ac.uk/timetable/assets/map/index.htm

 

Biodiversity

Acescitas comnis sinum

As one of the largest landowners in Leeds, the University has a responsibility to take biodiversity seriously.  With a diverse combination of urban areas, residential sites, woodland and sports grounds, we maintain a variety of habitats to meet user needs across the city.  In 2011, with the introduction of our first Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP), we have worked with a number of partners both internally and externally to ensure that we continue to have a net positive effect on the biodiversity of our estate.

Our Approach

It is becoming more important that all public bodies, including universities, plan for and consider biodiversity on their grounds. In its ‘Sustainable Development in Higher Education’ strategy the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) committed to promote sustainable estates management, including biodiversity. At the same time the Learning and Skills Council’s (LSC) strategy ‘From Here to Sustainability’ also identifies biodiversity as a key part of their principles and actions. The Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC) identify nine benefits for universities that have an active biodiversity agenda:

  • Improved reputation and green image
  • Potential to develop partnerships between staff and students
  • Opportunities for education and curriculum greening
  • Campus contribution to healthy living and wellbeing
  • Enhanced volunteering opportunities for students

In 2016 we launched our new ‘Biodiversity Standard‘ which builds on the previous plan and provides an overarching strategy for how we manage all of our properties as well as strengthening our position in the city and across the sector as exemplars of urban biodiversity practices.  We will be launching a revised Biodiversity Action Plan for the city campus in early 2017.