Research Social Responsibility

Thinking about sustainable research

Manchester is the only University in the UK to have social responsibility as a core goal, taking our commitment to social responsibilty seriously. This includes not having reseach focusing on Energy and Global Inequalities, but also developing a sustainable campus. And earlier this year Manchester was ranked as the top University in Europe for its societial impact again the UNs Sustainable development goals, in a new THE rankings.

There are lots of ways our students and researchers can contribute to becoming a more sustainable institution and help lessen our environmental impact. We can do this as individuals in our day to day lives, thinking about how we travel to and from University, using reusable coffee mugs and water bottles, and through initiatives such as Give it Don’t Bin it and Text Book Rescue – recycling our old clothes, household wares and text books.

But how can we be more sustainable in our worklives and research. Below are a few ideas of how to be more environmentally consicous in the workplace;

Conferences – as a PhD student you might find yourself attending or presenting at conferences at various places across the world. Now we aren’t all in the position to be able to sail and walk to evey conference, but you can think about how to travel their more eco-friendly. If the conference is in the UK could you get public transport rather than drive, or if there are a few people going could you careshare? Alternatively if your conference is aboard is it possible to go by train or boat? It’s worth noting that trains in Europe are much more efficient and reliable than British Rail.

Purchasing – there may be some intances when you’ll need to buy certain equiptment for your research. For the University ‘responsible procurement’ is that buying that considers the social, environmental and economic impacts to support sustainable development.

When thinking about purchasing equiptment for your research consider whether it is necessary to buy, or could you borrow or reuse a piece of kit from a collegue? You should also consider things like packaging, it’s ‘whole life cost’ or whether you could be recycled goods.

For more information on responsible purchasing visit the University’s webpages.

Sustainable workplaces – we all know about turning off lights and computers in our offices, but what about those of you who work in labs with equiptment that demands a greater use of energy to run. There are ways that labs can be become more energy-saving and this can be done through temperature regulation, lighting and equiptment.

Take a look at these energy saving and wateruse reduction in labs guides that have been put together to help you create a more sustainable workspace.

Research – finally even if sustainability is not at the core of your research, or even if you have never thought about it or you are somewhere in between, there may be a way to expand your existing research to include sustainability. You can also enhance the impact of your research by applying it within the University or within the City. Attend one of our sustainability seminars to see what research is being carried out is a good place to start. The University has an Academic Lead for Environmental Sustainability who can support you in the process of enhancing your impact.

To find out more about the environment sustainbilty at the University visit the Environmental Sustainability website.

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