This year, the annual Sustainability Awards will be on Wednesday 12th June. As well as celebrating the outstanding work being done by people across the University to make the campus more sustainable, we will also be looking back. 2019 is the 10-year anniversary of the Bike Hub, who keep the staff and students of Leeds travelling sustainably by offering bike hire, repairs and training (and plenty of biscuits!). It has also been 10 years since we started employing student interns in the Sustainability Service, bringing fresh ideas and student opinions to the team.
The Vice Chancellor will be presenting awards for the four sustainability strategy themes – Embedding Sustainability through Collaboration, Building Knowledge and Capacity, Being a Positive Partner in Society and Making the Most of Resources. There will also be a Sustainable Purchasing Award, and two student awards for curricular and non-curricular work. The nominations for the awards are now closed.
After this, there will then be an entirely vegan, locally sourced (where possible) two course dinner . Vegan wine and soft drink options will accompany what is always known to be a delicious meal, changing the perspectives of a vegan menu.
Finally, we will then be celebrating the first year of our new engagement programme, Blueprint. Launched in October 2018, this replaced the Green Impact programme, creating a bespoke sustainability action plan for individual Schools and Services. This programme is proving to be very popular, having already reached a wider audience than we achieved with the Green Impact programme!
As always, the striking table decorations will be designed and supplied by the staff and children of Bright Beginnings Childcare Centre.
The University of Leeds and Leeds University Union have together pledged to become single-use plastic-free by 2023.
The campaign, Single Out: 2023PlasticFree commits the University and Union to phase out single-use plastic across the board, not just in catering and office spaces.
The five-year campaign will involve mapping plastic use across the University and Union, and then identifying action plans for more challenging areas. It will also include working with partners and supply chains to phase out the amount of plastic products and packaging coming onto campus. Explore more about our pledge on the tabs below.
The pledge commits catering and office spaces to becoming single-use plastic-free by 2020, with longer-term support for lab space and other services to help them identify and develop available alternatives to critical disposable plastic equipment and apparatus by 2023.
The 2023PlasticFree campaign will profile the University’s influential research into the environmental, social and economic impacts and opportunities of plastics in materials and processes. Examples of current research include:
Researching processes to produce the next generation of biodegradable bioplastics – plastics derived from renewable biomass that will break down quickly and safely once disposed of. The research is being led by Professor John Blacker from the School of Chemistry
Predicting the flow and crystallisation of polymers in plastics to improve processing and recycling, led by Professor Daniel Read, School of Mathematics
Increasing understanding of how after-use plastic is managed within cities to maximise circular economy potential. The research, led by Dr Costas Velis from Civil Engineering, will help identify plastic pollution sources, pathways and where to target action.
There are many ways you can get involved with the #2023PlasticFree campaign, as both a member of staff or a student:
Respond to our plastic mapping survey, providing us with information regarding single use plastic in your school or service
Apply for funding from the Living Lab programme to fund a research project relating to single use plastics
Be the change you wish to see in the world; champion behavioural change across your colleagues/peers at University
Help us to map water fountains across campus and ensure our Sustainable Campus Map is accessible and up to date. Find out more here.
If you’re a staff member, you can sign up to be a Staff Architect or to join our Blueprint programme. These will help you to achieve a sustainability plan both within your role and your school or department
Living Lab Research Funding Call
Following the University’s recent pledge to be single-use plastic free and the launch of the #2023PlasticFree campaign, Leeds Living Lab has funding available to support research and innovation projects that seek solutions and alternatives to single-use plastics across the University of Leeds (UoL) and Leeds University Union (LUU). Applications are open until Friday 1st February 2019.
Problem: The Tossed Salad bar in the refectory is their biggest seller, but being packaged in single use plastic bowls was causing a large waste problem.
Solution: The catering team replaced the plastic containers with card based biodegradable boxes, and removed pre-prepared salads as these were encouraging the use of single-use cutlery.
Response: This resulted in a reduction of 6,500 plastic salad containers in the first 2 months. There has been no negative feedback and customer are pleased that sustainability is being considered.
Devonshire Hall, Residential Services
Problem: The kitchens at Devonshire Hall were providing single-use plastic sachets, using an average of 1000 a week.
Solution: The team now provides large tubs of ketchup and mayonnaise for students to serve themselves.
Response: This switch from single-use non-recyclable sauce sachets to multi-use sauce tubs has hugely reduced the kitchen’s plastic waste.
School of Earth and Environment
Problem: The Cohen Laboratory was using more than 50,000 centrifuge tubes annually with the majority of these coming pre-racked in single use polystyrene racks. When their recycling procedure changed, they wanted to find a more sustainable solution to these racks.
Solution: Lab users were consulted and agreed on the requirement to purchase a large number of reusable centrifuge tube racks. There was an initial outlay of costs to purchase the reusable racks but it works out as a saving of £560 per year after this initial cost.
Response: Despite lab users having to rack their own tubes, the vast majority are enthusiastic about the change. Involving users in the decision process helped to aid understanding and ownership of the change as well.
Leeds University Union
Problem: Leeds University Union was using vast amounts of single-use plastic cups throughout their bars for ease and speed when serving customers, creating a large amount of plastic waste.
Solution: Bar staff requested reusable glassware cups and the necessary washing facilities to lower their plastics footprint while still maintaining a high level of customer service.
Response: This development will save an average of 9000 plastic cups a month. Due to the bottom-up approach of this change, both workers and senior staff are happy with the development.
Great Food at Leeds has already introduced many initiatives to reduce the consumption of single use plastic on campus:
Problem: The cafes on campus are very popular for their hot drinks, resulting in a lot of disposable hot drinks cups going to waste. Coffee cups are often lined with plastic film and are incredibly tricky to recycle.
Solution: KeepCups were introduced in 2017, along with a 20p discount for using a reusable cup. This encouraged customers to use reusable cups, reducing the amount of disposable cups used.
Response: Since their introduction in July 17 we have saved 67,445 disposable cups from the bin!
“We are proud to be at the forefront of efforts to reduce plastic waste and our pledge sends a very clear message about our ambition to be single-use plastic free within the next five years. This new drive will also have a series of targets to reduce the use of all kinds of plastic, improve recycling capabilities and build on our ground-breaking research to tackle this important global challenge.” Sir Alan Langlands, Vice-Chancellor
“This is a huge commitment and a big challenge for us, but we are determined to play our part by acting together to reduce our plastic footprint. We’ve already made so much progress, with strong recycling rates and catering initiatives such as our reusable cups becoming an integral part of our operations. We hope this pledge inspires all staff and students to take up the challenge of collectively reducing our use of throwaway plastics, across campus and beyond.” Dr Louise Ellis, Director of Sustainability at the University
“As a Union, we are delighted to announce this joint pledge to be single-use plastic-free by 2023. Students have often been ahead of the national agenda, with freshers’ week plastic bag free and ensuring we have biodegradable alternatives in the Union – this pledge is another step where the University community can lead the way. We are looking forward to working in partnership with the University to make sure we all have a positive impact on this future-defining issue for the planet.” Chris Morris, Union Affairs Officer at Leeds University Union
“The shift in public opinion about the use of plastics has been phenomenal, but organisations of all shapes and sizes need to champion change. I think this commitment will inspire lots of people to think about how the University – as an institution that leads the way on sustainability – can make a difference. As a leading research university, we also have an important role in developing expertise. From working on alternatives to plastics and helping improve waste management, we’ll be supporting the difficult challenges ahead to ensure plastics don’t end up in the natural environment.” Professor Dame Jane Francis, University Chancellor and Director of the British Antarctic Survey
Over the last few weeks, you may have noticed changes to the Roger Stevens Pond. The development was part of a multidisciplinary, collaborative project supported by the University’s Living Lab. The University’s Sustainability Services Team worked with Estates Services, School of Biological Sciences, School of Geography and the School of Civil Engineering to transform the cooling pond into a promoter for biodiversity and scientific research. We are also installing water quality monitoring equipment at the pond at the Brownlee Centre to extend the scope and potential for the project. There is a hope that once the neutrality of the water is in balance we will introduce fish to the pond. Don’t worry about the ducks – they have flown south for the winter and we await their return to their new home!
This project came about due to the operational need to improve the pond, to reduce operational costs and to increase biodiversity value. There are further benefits to come from this development scheme; enhancing biodiversity and research opportunities. The pond will be monitored throughout the year by PhD student, Dan Warren, from the School of Biology. The sensors installed by Sustainability Services and the School of Geography will provide data for research across a number of Schools and Faculties. By working in collaboration with Estates and Sustainability, anybody can use the pond as a living lab for their research. This might be dissertations, assessed projects or even fieldwork modules.
The Leeds Living Lab is a programme coordinated by the Sustainability Services and drives the University’s commitment to embedding sustainability through knowledge, engagement, collaboration and innovation. The Living Lab has already brought together over 140 operational and academic staff and students to identify and deliver sustainable solutions through research and innovation, using the University campus as a test bed. This allows us to create real world solutions on a campus or city-wide scale. In the last year interdisciplinary teams from across the University have developed nine collaborative projects and created ten individual student project and dissertation partnerships. We encourage staff and students to make the most of our campus and consider how their research or studies might benefit from using the campus as a test bed.
Sometimes it is as simple as a conversation, with the right person, that sparks an idea and starts to build a strong relationship. In June 2017 the Outreach Officer for Leeds College of Building and the Area Manager for Leeds Go Higher West Yorkshire met with the Reverend of St Agnes church, Burmantofts, Leeds.
Since that date, and with the additional support of the Go Higher West Yorkshire (GHWY) officers from Leeds City College, Kirklees College and the University of Leeds, a parents group has formed. Workshops are delivered to around 30 parents and carers each time (and sometimes young people too)! The workshops are tailored to the groups’ needs and vary in topics including apprenticeships, futures in health, what are the different routes and options in Higher Education. All workshops involve the opportunity to meet current students, and students that reflect the young people from Burmantofts.
Go Higher West Yorkshire are led by the University of Leeds and host to the GHWY central team. GHWY are formally recognised by Office for Students as the Single Point of Contact (SPOC) for all 11-18 schools in West Yorkshire, as well as primary schools and businesses.
If you home life or 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. For practical tips on parties to avoid causing any problems for your neighbours and enforcement action, take a look at ourStudents in Communities webpages.
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 theonline formor 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 376 0337. 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. The Helpline is a service for all members of the local community to help resolve any neighbourhood problems involving our students and to build better relationships between neighbours.
Get in touch with us if your are experiencing any problem with your student neighbours. We can work with you and prevent this from becoming a recurring issue. Contact Us: by telephone (24hr voicemail service): 0113 343 1064, by Email: firstname.lastname@example.org , or complete ouronline form.
Following the University’s recent pledge to become single-use plastic free and the launch of the #2023PlasticFree campaign, Leeds Living Lab has funding available to support research and innovation projects that seek solutions and alternatives to single-use plastics across the University of Leeds (UoL) and Leeds University Union (LUU). Applications are open until Friday 1st February 2019.
UoL and LUU have together pledged to become single-use plastic free by 2023, with catering and office spaces achieving the target by 2020 and additional years to address more challenging areas such as laboratory equipment.
Collaboration and the use of the University as a test-bed are at the heart of the Leeds Living Lab and these funds will be used to provide match funding and seedcorn funding in support of projects which seek solutions to single-use plastics across the University through academic and non-academic partnerships.
Applications will be assessed by members of the Sustainability Steering Group based on the following criteria:
Fit to the principles of the Leeds Living Lab
Alignment with the University’s Sustainability Strategy
Potential to support the University’s single-use plastic pledge
Quality of potential outputs and impacts
We welcome applications led by University of Leeds academics, students (including UG, PG and PhD), research staff (including postdoctoral researchers), and professional and managerial staff across all Schools and Services of the University, and particularly those that develop new interdisciplinary collaborations. Students must have the permission of their supervisor to make the application.
Funding is split into the following two categories:
Collaborative research project seedcorn or match funding
Funding is available for research and/or trials of innovative solutions and alternatives to single-use plastics across the University of Leeds. This might include but is not limited to development of new materials, assessment and analysis of current practices, behavioral studies, and tests or trials of innovative solutions.
Funding requested must not exceed £2000 and cannot be used to pay overheads.
Student curricular project grants (i.e. a dissertation or assessed project as part of an UG/PG module)
Funding is available to support student projects focused on solutions and alternatives to single-use plastics across the University of Leeds. This might include but is not limited dissertations or assessed work on the development of new materials, assessment and analysis of current practices, behavioral studies, and tests or trials of innovative solutions.
Funding requested must not exceed £500 and students must ensure that they have the permission of their supervisor before applying.
Water cooler locations were audited in Spring 2019. Some rooms or buildings may not be publicly accessible. Should you wish to report a change to a drinking water point, please email email@example.com
At the University of Leeds, we recognise the value to staff and alumni becoming school governors and the positive impact this has on children, communities and the University. We also have a clear strategic commitment to widening participation and to positively contribute to making Leeds the great City it is.
As part of our commitments, we are working in collaboration with the charity Governors for Schools to increase the number of staff and alumni serving as School Governors in schools across Leeds and West Yorkshire. Our programme has been developed to provide support to both existing and prospective school governors. As well as helping staff and alumni interested in school governance to find vacancies, we offer support and networking opportunities to everyone involved in our programme.
Have an interest in influencing and making a difference to children’s education and give children the best possible opportunities in life.
Have the ability to work collaboratively to meet a school’s aims and objectives.
Want to put your skills and experience to good use and offer schools on outsider’s perspective.
Have an interest in gaining new insights into the education system.
Would like to develop new skills and experience to enhance your own professional development.
Would like to act as an ambassador for the University’s work with local schools.
Staff and Alumni interested in becoming School Governors can register with our charity partner Governors for Schools here.Someone from the charity will be in touch about next steps with being matched with a school.  Please note, that Governors for Schools is a registered charity and operates independently from the University of Leeds. Your progress and any school placement details will be collected and monitored by the University.
Training and Support
New School Governors can benefit from a package of training and support from the start of their roles. Through our charity partners, all staff and alumni have access to a suite of e-learning modules, monthly webinars and 6 months access to The Keys up to date intelligence, tools and resources.
The University of Leeds School Governors Network
Any staff and alumni interested in becoming a school governor or are already working with schools can register to be involved with our School Governor Network. Members benefit from our programme of support. Networking opportunities include a Jiscmail group and networking events through the year to facilitate the exchange of experiences, share best practice and provide support to staff and alumni in their roles. Register your involvement by completing a short questionnaire, herehttp://sustainability.leeds.ac.uk/university-of-leeds-school-governors-network-registration/
None are planned at the moment but do come back and check again soon!
Hot Topics for School Governors Webinar- Free Webinar
Thursday 16 May @ 8am-9am, or
Monday 20 May @ 7pm-8pm
This free webinar will help governors in maintained schools and academies get up to speed with what is happening in education that is relevant to their role. The session will be invaluable preparation ahead of board meetings this term.
This term’s topics will include:
New Relationship & Sex Education Guidance
New Teacher Recruitment Website
New Related Party Transactions reporting requirements for Academy Trusts
New Interactive School Financial Value Standard (SFVS) 2019-20
DfE funding to schools for Teachers’ Pension increases
If other stories surface between now and the day, the list may be subject to change.
N.B. This webinar will be held on two dates. You can select which session to attend on the sign-up page.
In this free webinar we’ll look at what governors in maintained schools and academies need to know if they are recruiting a new headteacher.
Traditionally most headteachers are recruited in summer term, so this timely webinar will prepare governors for their part in the process and ensure they understand their responsibilities. We’ll explore the full process of headteacher recruitment including the initial steps, advertising, shortlisting and selection techniques.
This free webinar will explore how governors, trustees and those serving on local academy committees can ensure, through rigorous self-evaluation and reflection, that governance is effective and fit for purpose within their school or trust. We will explore both the rationale behind effective self-evaluation and some of the tools and techniques that boards can use.
Governors for Schools webinars are supported by Lloyds Banking Group
How to get involved with School Governance- Free Webinar
December 18 @ 11.30-12.30pm
We believe the key to improving school performance is effective governance. By finding, nurturing and supporting a committed network of governors we help to drive systematic change in how schools operate.
Find out how you can get involved and what the benefits are to you and the community in a free webinar hosted by Governors for Schools. Governors for Schools exists to improve educational standards so that children and young people have the chance to realise their full potential.
Effective School Governance- Free Networking Event
December 19 @ 12-1pm
Led by the Leeds Governor Support Service, this lunchtime session will explore what it takes to become an effective school governor and run an effective school board. This is also a great opportunity to meet and network with other school governors over a mince pie.
If you are a School Head or Chair of Governors looking to fill a current vacancy, you can register your vacancies with our partner Governors for Schools. They offer a bespoke matching service focused on finding the best school governors to support schools across England. Register your vacancies through this link.
This initiative complements the existing staff opportunities offered through the Sustainability Strategy. See the other staff opportunities available through the Sustainability Service here.
Sustainability is part of being a student at the University of Leeds, no matter what your discipline. It’s that simple.
Sustainability is cross-disciplinary, perfectly slotting into undergraduate and postgraduate courses and opening up a rich seam of research possibilities. Concepts, issues and innovations relating to sustainability are integrated into our learning programmes.
Alongside formal learning, we are also committed to supporting you to develop, understand and communicate the skills that you have – from volunteering, internships and becoming sustainability auditors to getting out and trying your hand at beekeeping.
The University offers undergraduate,PGT and PGR degree programmes that develop students’ knowledge, skills and experience of sustainability issues and solutions, enabling them to contribute effectively to tackling global challenges. Please visit the University of Leeds Course Finder for further details.
Programmes of study are made up of different modules: compulsory, optional and discovery modules. All Discovery Modules sit within the University’s ten Discovery Themes and give undergraduate students the opportunity to broaden their academic experience and enhance your employability. Students can choose to take a Discovery Module which develops a specific skill or which allows you to pursue a personal interest.
We celebrate and showcase the amazing work our students have completed through modules and their research at our Student Sustainability Research Conference. This conference promotes the sharing of ideas between students and staff and helps promote best practice in research and teaching.
Awards & Scholarships
Living Lab Funding
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 the delivery of the University’s Sustainability Strategy, or work directly with operational staff to help identify sustainable improvements.
Discovering Sustainability is a student-led journal in the Sustainability Research Institute at the University of Leeds. The purpose of this journal is to publicise the work of students as producers of education, research and outreach. Find out more and submit your work at discuss.leeds.ac.uk.
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.
Please contactKelly Forster for further details of how we can support you.
I have been lucky enough to be one of the University’s Sustainability Architects this year. This opportunity has allowed me to gain a greater insight into the sustainability initiatives at the University, supporting projects with like-minded people, all from different backgrounds but with the same passion and desire to find sustainable solutions to the many challenges we face.
This experience has allowed me to further my knowledge within sustainability and develop valuable professional skills and experience. I found working as a close team and developing ideas together very successful. Team meetings were one of my favorite elements of the role which were always engaging and motivating (a refreshing break from studying!). One of the key things I learnt was that sustainability is a massive challenge within Universities, but I was overwhelmed to see and be involved in the efforts and the progress here at the University of Leeds.
One of my core projects throughout the year, was promoting and encouraging sustainable dissertations to students. This is an area in which I feel there is great scope within the University, and I am excited to see this develop further with some of the ideas we have been working on. One of the suggestions is to create a sustainable dissertation archive on our website. The archive would have a bank of past student’s sustainable dissertations which others could use to gain inspiration and ideas, and contacts for any further support.
The Student Conference on Sustainable Futures is also something I would promote to anyone looking for dissertation inspiration. Sustainable dissertations are something I have become very interested in over the past two years. I believe it is a great opportunity to invest a long period of time into exploring something that can significantly benefit society in some form. I chose to produce a sustainability themed dissertation based on a personal interest and a desire to contribute to sustainability regarding the future of textiles. My research has benefited me as an individual and significantly changed my process as a designer which has opened up a realm of new opportunities for me. By seeking sustainable alternatives, I have found more advanced solutions and more environmentally friendly ways of working. My passion is finding sustainable alternatives to pigments or dyes in coloring textiles, through bio-mimicry (the imitation of nature). I plan to keep researching within this area with the desire of making this a more commercial coloration process. One of the best things I have learnt and been inspired by during my role and my research is that you don’t have to study a directly sustainable degree, everyone can be sustainable and find more sustainable (and more exciting) ways of working within their discipline.
My role as an architect and working with the sustainability team really helped me develop my ideas and gain confidence in presenting my research. I had the opportunity to present my research at the Sustainable Futures Conference which was extremely successful and really built my confidence with public speaking. The conference is a great networking opportunity which I encourage everyone to get involved with.
I am privileged to have been a part of the team for the past year and have thoroughly enjoyed my experience. The sustainability service has an exciting future ahead and I believe it is one of the most valuable services within the University. Many thanks to everyone in the team who has encouraged, supported and inspired my sustainable journey. The experience has been a pivotal step in preparation for my career as a designer, and I am extremely grateful for the opportunity.
To end on the most valuable thing I have learnt throughout the year; sustainability brings benefit not sacrifice.