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

Are your noisy neighbours keeping you awake at night?

Neighbourhood Helpline Contact CardIf you and your studies are being affected by a noisy neighbour, help is at hand to get you a good night’s sleep.  The University is working with Leeds City Council’s Antisocial Behaviour Team and the other universities and colleges in the City to minimise noise nuisance in local communities. Whether the noise is a one-off, a regular occurrence, during the day or an evening, you can receive help by reporting the nuisance to the services detailed below.

Leeds Antisocial Behaviour Team
Statutory noise nuisance is investigated by Leeds Antisocial Behaviour Team.  They can be contacted through the following.
Noise that happens during the day:
Complete the online form or call the team on 0113 222 4402, 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.
Noise that happens at night or at weekends/bank holidays:
The Council operates a night-time response service in partnership with West Yorkshire Police. If the problem is noise outside of office hours, please ring 0113 395 0143. This is available from 6pm to 3:30am. Noise at night-time should only be reported when the noise is occurring. The service availability is subject to demand and although they may not be able to stop the noise for you, they may provide further evidence to back up your allegations.

 

Universities and Colleges Neighbourhood Helpline
The Helpline is a 24-hour dedicated voicemail and email service operated by the University of Leeds in partnership with Leeds Beckett University, Leeds Trinity University College, Leeds City College and Leeds College of Music. Whether the issue involves noise, waste, parking or playing ball games, the Helpline partnership work with service users, Police and Leeds City Council to educate and correct negative behaviour amongst our students.
Contact Us:
By telephone (24hr voicemail service): 0113 343 1064
By Email: neighbourhood.helpline@leeds.ac.uk
Alternatively, complete our online form. 

For practical tips and advice on how to avoid causing any problems for your neighbours and to avoid enforcement action, take a look at the Living in Leeds Guide.

Big Welcome To Our New Sustainability Architects!

Amy

Hello – I’m Amy, one of the four new Sustainability Architects here at the University of Leeds. My role as part of the Sustainability team is to encourage and promote student and community engagement with all things sustainable!

As part of this I hope to continue to develop the role of a “Sustainability Representative” within each school.  Their role would be to put sustainability on the agenda by integrating knowledge of it into teaching and assessments, promoting sustainable practice within their school and departmental society encouraging other students to get involved, share their ideas and help to develop new initiatives for both environmental and social sustainability.

Being from Leeds, I understand how important it is to integrate students with the local community. There is no better way of doing this than through sustainability! I aim to do this by promoting  volunteering and community engagement projects within the University and Union setting – bringing to the attention of students what is available for them to get involved in around Leeds.

I hope to create an environment where students feel they are able to get involved with sustainability and make a difference!

 

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Hey I’m Will, a second year Environmental Science student at the University of Leeds. I am planning to take a year out of University during my third year, hoping to gain more valuable experience in sustainable roles. As well as representing the sustainability service at events, I hope to increase student engagement in sustainable practices, particularly focusing my efforts on halls of residences and sport societies.

 

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Hi I’m Shara, I am currently studying my masters in Sustainability and Consultancy here at the University of Leeds. My undergraduate degree was in International Relations and my dissertation looked at environmental change and energy security in the European Union. After taking a break from University to work and travel, I started to look into sustainability in a wider context, which lead me back to higher education.

This year I hope to increase the range of individuals engaged in sustainability; moving it out of traditional circles and into mainstream discussions so it’s accessible for everyone.

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My name is Ileyas Mogeh and I am a student sustainability architect. I am currently on my second year of BA Politics. Being a sustainability architect is an exciting way to make a positive impact in your community. As an architect, you are able to do this through your area of interest, for example in my case this is democracy. This ensures that the role is enjoyable, whilst also challenging and developing your knowledge of sustainability within higher education . By August, I hope to have helped embedded sustainability in the student community through increased participation in democratic activities.

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!

Student Engagement

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The Sustainability Service has a commitment to make sure that all of our students become sustainability literate, and graduate with related key skills and knowledge. This forms one of the four themes in our Sustainability Strategy and we have a number of key performance indicators that help us to monitor our development in this area. We support our students to be responsible citizens and an active part of society, both locally and globally.  There are a variety of ways to get involved with sustainability; from working with us as a student architect, or intern, through to volunteering on one of our projects, or even taking a module in sustainability.

“Sustainability is part of being a student at the University of Leeds, no matter what your discipline.”

One of our key messages is that sustainability is applicable to all, and all disciplines.  Graduates are going to have to make some tough decisions in the future and we want out students prepared to make these decisions with a key knowledge and understanding of the importance of sustainability.  Alongside formal learning in sustainability, we focus on supporting students in developing, understanding and communicating the skills that they have – from volunteering, internships, and auditing, to trying their hand at beekeeping!

You can find out more about our Student Sustainability Architects here.

Integrating sustainability into the curriculum  
Take a look at the hundreds of elective module “Creating Sustainable Futures” available to most undergraduate students, here.
For ideas and tips about completing a sustainability-related dissertation, no matter what your subject, contact us.

 

Our Community

LEED_sustainability banner lo qual

Students come to the University of Leeds to study in a vibrant, research intensive environment.  While they’re here, we encourage them to think beyond their studies and become responsible citizens who contribute to the communities they live and work in.  We want our students to be part of Leeds and to contribute to making Leeds the great city it is.  This means everything from organising and taking part in events to being responsible neighbours or volunteering for local organisations.  Ultimately it’s about exploring the city and getting involved.

Our long held view is that living in local communities is an important part of our student’s development as responsible citizens.   We recognise that there are both negative and positive impacts on communities associated with large concentrations of students, these are well documented in university towns and cities across the country.  Our students’ inexperience brings unique local challenges, including noise, waste and parking   We also recognise that students bring very many positive benefits to the communities they live and work in making Leeds a vibrant and diverse city.

The role of the Sustainability Service is to engage with our neighbouring communities, support our students’ integration, foster positive benefits and, where necessary adopt unique approaches to minimize and mitigate against the potential negative effects on the wider community.  To do this, we are involved in a number of strategic partnerships with Leeds University Union, Leeds City Council, Leeds Beckett University, Police and community representatives.  For more information,  download our Supporting Students as Leeds Residents Annual Report, sign up to our Community Newsletter or contact Amanda Jackson.

Students as Leeds Residents

Welcoming Campus

Neighbourhood Helpline

Community News

Sustainable Garden Drop-in

This weekly food growing session is run by Leeds University Union, Bardon Grange project and are open to everyone.  Whether you’re a skilled gardener or a complete novice, new volunteers are always welcome.

These weekly gardening sessions offer the chance to get outside and gain experience of growing organic food, and to work alongside other volunteers in a communal setting. The produce that we grow is shared between the volunteers and we share recipe ideas and occasionally cook together on site. We also regularly offer workshops and events to help people gain new skills and learn more about sustainable food production.

Performance

The Sustainability Strategy has several supporting policies and action plans that both impact and underpin its aims. These will be reviewed periodically, with any changes reported to the Sustainability Steering Group and approved by the Head of Sustainability. The University of Leeds has a clear responsibility to have a positive impact on society, something we take very seriously. To ensure that we meet this responsibility, we resource staff with a budget for sustainability. Resources committed to sustainability are stable, and we foresee them to remain so into the future.

We will produce an externally verified Annual Report detailing our performance against a set of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) ratified by University Council.