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Efficient and sustainable science is rewarded at the Green Impact Lab Awards

Professor Nishan Canagarajah with the winners.

29 September 2017

Sustainability in our science research was celebrated at the annual Technician’s Conference where the Green Impact Labs Awards took place. Professor Nishan Canagarajah, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise, presented 16 awards to 12 teams that took part in the 2016/17 scheme.

Green Impact Labs encourages teams to improve the sustainability and efficiency of their labs by completing a series of achievable, environmental actions. Student volunteers assess and support the teams throughout the process, enabling them to experience our research first-hand.

Labs can use up to eight times more energy and resources than office spaces, and are therefore a key priority for the University to reach its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2030.

Twelve teams gained Green Lab Accreditation status. Five teams achieved Bronze, and five achieved Silver; together, they completed 781 actions across our science Schools. These actions included: setting up a chemical inventory system; re-using lab pyrex in the local community in an activity with school children and sharing lab equipment between groups.

A special mention goes to the CMM Teaching Team and Southmead L&R who managed to reach Gold and Platinum respectively. 

Our enthusiastic student volunteers get involved by conducting lab assessments and helping teams complete their actions should they need it. The scheme provides them with the opportunity to experience research laboratories in action, and meet researchers and technical staff outside of their undergraduate studies. 

Three special awards went to Southmead L&R, with Saranna Chipper-Keating and Georgina Mortimer sharing the Environmental Hero Award for their fantastic efforts at the Bristol Medical School. The Organic Geochemistry Unit in the School of Chemistry took home the Innovation for Engagement Award for their dedication to training up their own researchers in lab sustainability and spreading the message among the academic community. 

Anna Lewis, Sustainable Labs Officer, said: ‘I’ve been so impressed with the enthusiasm of our teams who have not only adapted the way they manage their labs alongside business-as-usual, but have engaged so many others across the University’.

Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise, Professor Nishan Canagarajah, said: “As a world-leading University in research, we rely on state of the art laboratories to conduct our research. I was immensely proud of the innovative practices demonstrated by our technical staff to achieve our sustainability goal."

The 2017/18 awards scheme opens in November, find out more on the Sustainability website.