Social Responsibility and Sustainability

Lab Awards

The University of Edinburgh's Sustainability Awards have recognised the specialised nature of research facilities by offering a specific version of the awards tailored just for them.

Using the NUS Green Impact Labs assessment framework (which is also in use in many other UK universities) laboratories based at the University can gain recognition for their efforts in improving efficiency and sustainability in the work place.


Just like the office awards, labs can aim for several different levels of assessment (bronze, silver and gold). There are nine broad themes of sustainability which teams must take action on to reduce energy, water and waste. Teams can decide whether they want to participate as a single lab, as a group of laboratories or even as a whole building.


Bronze Bronze teams must provide evidence that they meet 15 out of 16 criteria.
Silver Silver teams must show compliance with Bronze through spot-checks during the audit and in addition meet 23 out of 25 Silver criteria.
Gold Gold teams must show compliance with Bronze and Silver and in addition meet 34 out of 37 Gold criteria.

Awards themes

The lab awards are divided into nine different themes.

Once participation in the Awards is agreed, the team's representative should meet with the SRS Projects Coordinator – Labs and decide what is possible for their particular facility.

Baseline audits

Working in a lab at the Hugh Robson Building (Bronze labs sustainability award winner 2016)
Hugh Robson Building (Bronze lab award winner 2016)

A baseline audit can be conducted if requested, which is a walk-around to understand the laboratory's particular successes and challenges. The baseline audit will provide staff with the opportunity to understand what will be required for the award level they are seeking and discuss any possible limitations. Every lab, building and group is different, so each assessment is tailored to their specific methods and environment.

Evidence and peer auditing

Once the team has completed the baseline audit, they then complete the criteria for the award level they are seeking, and submit evidence onto the online platform. Evidence for the assessment may be uploaded online and returning groups may reuse evidence from the previous year if applicable. Final audits are conducted in November / December, and the audit team will consist of the SRS Projects Coordinator – Labs and staff from other participating groups in order to deliver a ‘peer auditing’ element.

Teams should volunteer one or two people to audit other participating labs, giving insights to good practice and different methodologies across campus.


Successful teams receive locally crafted and sustainably sourced trophies, presented at our annual Sustainability Awards ceremony by senior managers.

Take part

Learn more about the Sustainability Awards

Enter the Lab Awards

Our partners

NUS Green Impact