Deciding on what to do your dissertation on can seem like a daunting task! It is generally the biggest piece of work you will do as part of your undergraduate or masters degree, yet a lot of students find that it is the most enjoyable part of their studies at University.
Find out how you can integrate sustainability in your work, the benefits of doing so, and current opportunities for you to get involved, in the tabs below.
What do we mean by 'sustainability'
There are multiple definitions of sustainability, but the most frequently quoted is – “development that meets the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
It covers not just the environmental aspects such as, climate change, biodiversity, and waste, but also social and economic aspects like equality, healthcare, ethical investments, and community development.
In a nutshell, sustainability shapes everything that happens – what we teach, learn, buy, use, and share. It’s a fundamental part of ensuring we have a positive impact on everyone and everything.
The benefits to you
Some of the benefits of incorporating sustainability into your research are;
Employers are actively seeking graduates who understand the core concepts of both present and future environmental, social and economic challenges to safeguard them against risks. It will stand you out from the crowd!
Sustainability is an interdisciplinary field, so the vast majority of students can easily incorporate sustainability aspects within their research that aligns with their interests; from exploring how low carbon energy solutions can be integrated in rural areas, to investigating the social impact of the arts in communicating ethical purchasing.
Tailoring your research project to address a sustainability theme actively contributes to having a positive impact in society, as your work will be focussing on real challenges and actions for positive change.
There are opportunities to showcase your work and be recognised for your achievements – the annual University of Leeds Student Sustainability Conference is an opportunity for any student to present their curricular projects or research to a wide audience, and network with like minded students, staff, and visitors. The Sustainability Awards in June highlight student research as one of the key awards in the Building Knowledge and Capacity categories.
Opportunities and examples
Click hereto view a current list of potential dissertation titles and topics.
To see a list of potential Living Lab research opportunities that the Sustainability Service have identified, as well as current projects already taking place, and those which have been completed pleaseCLICK HERE.
Where to start?
University of Leeds Libraries have created ‘‘The Final Chapter’ an online guide for undergraduate and postgraduate students on developing and completing their dissertation. A great place to begin when planning your topic and research question.
Dissertation Workshops –
Each year we host a number of dissertation workshops where any student can come along and hear how they can integrate sustainability into their work, see some examples of past projects, and what current opportunities exist. Check our calendarfor the latest dates!
The Student Sustainability Conference –
Stuck for a project idea? Cant think how sustainability applies to your subject? CLICK HERE to explore the diversity of work presented at the annual Student Sustainability Conferences, which attract presenters from across all faculties at Leeds, sharing their research or curricular projects which have a focus on sustainability themes.
From Art to Zoo Management –
Cant think how sustainability applies to your subject? Check out NUS’s ‘From Art to Zoo Management‘ guide and see some examples of how your discipline could apply to sustainability.
Contact the team –
We are always happy to help any student with queries on doing a sustainability themed project. Visit the contact us page and leave us a message!
DETAILS OF THE 2019 STUDENT SUSTAINABILITY CONFERENCE COMING SOON!
The University of Leeds’ second Student Sustainability Conference took place on Thursday 8th February, 2018. The overarching theme for this year was ‘Shaping the Future’, bringing students, staff, businesses and members of the public together to experience the diversity of Undergraduate and Postgraduate work which reflect aspects of positive social, economic and environmental development.
The exciting event consisted of morning and afternoon oral presentation sessions, an all-day poster exhibition in Parkinson Court, and interactive lunchtime workshops. With themes spanning Energy, Transport, Society and Community, Education and Behaviour, Governance, Communication, Ecology, and Urban Infrastructure, there was something for all to enjoy.
Building from last years conference, this was an opportunity to experience the latest sustainability research and projects taking place at Leeds, to network, collaborate and develop meaningful contacts, and broaden insight of disciplines and the challenges faced in a changing world. Delegates had the chance to hear about local projects on campus as part of theLiving Lab programme, research taking place across the Leeds city region, and wider international sustainability projects having impacts across the globe.
In addition to the variety of sustainability degree programmes which are run here at the University of Leeds, sustainability is integrated into the wider curriculum through a number of different methods.
Facilitating critical thought and creating new innovation is key to creating social societies, therefore supporting student dissertations and research projects is vital to our approach. Each year we hold cross University dissertation workshops, directly support dissertation projects in the Sustainability Service, Estates Services and Commercial and Campus Support Services as well as actively encourage student dissertation ideas through our Living Lab Programme.
We work with colleagues across the University to develop teaching material and share experience of integrating sustainability into the curriculum, if you would like support in this area please contact Kelly Forster.
We celebrate and showcase the amazing work our students have completed through modules and their research at our Student Conference on Sustainable Futures. This conference promotes the sharing of ideas between students and staff and helps promote best practice in research and teaching.
We report our progress throughout the year to the University Executive Group via the Sustainability Steering Group, Student Education Board, and in our Annual Sustainability Report. Through this process, we assess our achievements and agree on future plans to ensure that we stay on track on our commitment to embed sustainability across the curriculum.