Sustainability in the Curriculum: LUBS Commercial and Professional Skills Module Update

This year, Masters students taking the Commercial and Professional Skills module at Leeds University Business School were given the opportunity to work with the Sustainability Service as part of a consultancy project!

Posing as internal consultants, student groups were tasked to review the student and staff awareness of sustainability initiatives across the University and develop recommendations that could improve people’s knowledge of the Sustainability Strategy and what they can get involved in.

After initial meetings with members of the Sustainability team, groups went away and collected data using a questionnaire to gain a better understanding of people’s sustainability knowledge and activities that are already taking place. They also reviewed specific areas of engagement by the University, using their results to highlight gaps for improvement and make recommendations.

The student’s proposals ranged from utilising social media trends and behaviours, to increasing visibility on campus, and tailoring campaigns for specific audiences.

This is just one of the ways we are integrating sustainability into student learning as part of our commitment to giving all students the opportunity to study and be involved in sustainability.

Student Consultancy

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!

Whether it is a research-led campus design addressing the challenges of climate change, trialling new sustainability initiatives with staff or students, or integrating biodiversity and wellbeing, the Living Lab programme is open to all staff and students across the University. It’s about people, processes and infrastructure and focusses on the cultural and social sciences as well as the STEM subjects.

The Living Lab is able to offer funding to projects that meet the core principles of the programme (more on those below). We are particularly looking for projects that require seed funding to get off the ground, or match funding as part of a collaborative partnership. This might be between Schools, Faculties, Services or even external stakeholders.

  • 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 projects that address sustainability through scalable and transferable research here at the University.
  • 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 identify sustainable improvement. 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 option or solution? Have you considered seeking expert advice from an academic colleague? Could student research help to solve a problem or address a challenge? 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.

Living Lab Application (Word version)     Living Lab Application (pdf version)

Projects

We’re already well underway with a variety of Living Lab projects and you can find out more about them here.

Mailing List

To keep up to date with the latest Living Lab opportunities and activities, and to join the conversation, join our mailing list here.

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 here, 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.

CGD Summer School: Exploring challenges and opportunities to achieving ‘Just Practices of Development’ in the context of the SDGs

As the international community gears up to respond to the new Sustainable Development Goals, join us to debate issues around development research and practice and whether and how genuine reform, inclusion and justice might be achieved.

In a world characterised by recurrent crises, and entrenched and deepening inequalities, business as usual remains the order of the day in many professional fields, including international development. And yet, the societal upheavals and disappointing outcomes of recent interventions and policies in the name of ‘development’ pose important questions for the current modus operandi of international development actors. Our summer school picks up on this point and problematizes various international development practices, in order to analyse how they are framed, and by whom, and their role in reproducing or challenging the status quo. We reflect on how and why current practices bring such a difficult mix of challenges for human existence and survival ranging from poverty and urban growth, to climate change, food and health, and ask:


•How is development practice entangled in the current challenges of political conflict, social inequality and unsustainability, and what opportunities are there to overcome this?
•What are the principal challenges when implementing more progressive development approaches that advance ‘inclusive’, ‘bottom up’, or popular-democratic development?
•What are the politics of knowledge in development practice? In other words, whose knowledge counts and matters in the day-to-day operations of a range of development stakeholders, considering the constraints posed by narrow measures of effectiveness, managerialism, results-based management and payment-by-results frameworks? How is this being tackled?

This summer school will address these questions as we explore the very real challenges of ‘doing’ development as the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) gain momentum.

Take part in 5 days of lively and stimulating debate, lectures and workshops with University of Leeds academics, special guests and summer school participants from around the world. Refreshments, lunches and afternoon tea, coffee and cakes included – plus the Summer School dinner.

Bursaries

International bursary competition

This is for applicants who live outside of the UK, the bursary will cover the Summer School fee, 5 nights accommodation in Leeds and a contribution towards travel costs.

Fees and accommodation only bursary

This is for all applicants and will cover the Summer School fee and 5 nights accommodation in Leeds

Applicants should send 500 words outlining their interest in Summer School and what they hope to do in the future, other useful information would be the applicants background, any previous experience of work or study in development, what contribution they will make to the Summer School. This bursary application should be emailed along with a CV to Laura Smith at eeles@leeds.ac.uk on or before April 20th 2016.

Please state in your email which bursary you wish to be considered for.

For further information and updates on summer school please see here.

Co-creating frugal innovations for sustainable development in resource-scarce, low-income settings

Can two wicked sustainability problems: extreme poverty and overuse of natural resources be solved simultaneously? At the outset, these objectives appear mutually exclusive as addressing pressing poverty problems such the need for clean water, food, access to energy and decent shelter requires the use of natural resources. The prospect of a solution is further complicated because the likelihood of developed countries sacrificing any of their resource use and consumption for the benefit of poorer parts of the world’s population, seems remote at best.

In the seminar I will discuss frugal innovation as one potential approach to the above. Frugal innovations are resource scarce solutions – anything from products to business models – that are designed under resource constraints, are affordable even for very low-income people, and are good enough to meet the basic needs of individuals and communities which would otherwise remain neglected. Frugal innovations are typically created by local grassroots entrepreneurs or large corporations. I will highlight a third approach – multi-stakeholder co-creation of frugal innovations in resource-scarce settings with low-income communities – and discuss why it makes sense that researchers, students, business firms and NGOs from developed countries participate in such innovation endeavours. I will also highlight sense-making challenges in these multi-stakeholder groups and provide frugal water and energy co-creation examples from our current action research project.