Social Responsibility and Sustainability

Living Lab projects database

This database allows you to view and search for new Living Lab project ideas, and information on past projects, related to different social responsibility and sustainability themes.

Living Lab Research Projects - June 2020

We are aware that research projects have fallen through for a number of students. In response to this, we have brought together a new list of projects which students could potentially work on. This list now includes projects focusing on Edinburgh's Festivals.

We are open to students and staff approaching us to develop proposals for dissertation research or projects on the University's social responsibility and sustainability operations.

If you would like to work with the Department for Social Responsibility and Sustainability on your dissertation research please contact Matthew.Lawson@ed.ac.uk.

If you're a researcher looking for inspiration for a new research project, have a look at the 'proposed projects'. Email addresses for lead contacts can be found under each project.

The summaries of findings and recommendations from past projects may be useful for defining new projects that build on previous ones. If you're University staff and you have an idea for a new research project to help make the University more socially responsible and sustainable, get in touch with us.

Academic research

Make ICT Fair

The Department for SRS and School of Social and Political Science have collaborated with ten civil society organisations across Europe to secure multi-million euro funding for a project to research and raise awareness on workers' rights issues in global Information and Communication Technology supply chains, including a focus on procurement professionals and policy makers. A three-year research element of the project will be run from the University between October 2017 and October 2020. This builds on our existing affiliation to Electronics Watch, one of the project partners.

Lead contact
Project dates August 2017 - October 2020
Subject areas Supply chains

This paper outlines a potential coursework or dissertation project to research strategies to reduce University’s water footprint using the concept of ‘virtual’ or ‘embodied’ water.

Lead contact Alexis Heeren
Project brief Water footprint LL project brief.docx
Subject areas Supply chains

To develop and manage suitable virtual collaboration systems for a public event run by the Department of Social Responsibility and Sustainability running in October 2019. To establish which of these systems is most suitable for various types of events in the future.

Lead contact Sion Pickering
Project dates September 2019 - November 2019
Project brief Living Lab project brief - Live-streaming of Visions for Change Event Series.pdf
Subject areas Sustainable travel

The purpose of this project is identify sources of plastic waste across the University and its supply chains, and to suggest measures to reduce the volume of plastic generated. Innovative alternatives to plastic packaging and consumables (e.g. bioplastics), as well as other solutions (e.g. circular economy schemes), should also be considered as part of this investigation.

Lead contact Alexis Heeren
Project dates October 2019
Project brief Living Lab project brief - Reducing plastic and increasing sustainable packaging options.docx
Subject areas Resource efficiency and circular economy, Supply chains, Food

There are many challenges related to SRS in the travel industry, such as carbon emissions, use of single-use items for on-board catering, and potential for disputes around working conditions. Given that many thousands of trips by train, plane or other public transport are taken by University staff in the UK and globally each year, this project aims to better understand the risks and what good practice looks like.

Lead contact
Project dates March 2017
Project brief SRS in travel industry project brief.pdf
Subject areas Supply chains, Sustainable travel, Climate change

The University published its Conflict Minerals Policy in 2016, making commitments to embed consideration of the issue in procurement practices, and encourage research and teaching. The most commonly known cases are concerning tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold in the Democratic Republic of Congo but less is known about other instances. This project aims to uncover cases of other minerals and resources linked to conflict, and best practice to tackle the issue.

Lead contact
Project dates March 2017
Project brief Conflict minerals beyond 3TG project brief .pdf
Subject areas Supply chains

The University is committed to increasing the number of courses that teach SRS related topics, and continuing to increase the number of research outputs on SRS topics, but it is difficult to keep track of what relevant teaching and research is taking place. This project aims to propose new ways of tracking SRS in courses and SRS-related research outputs.

Lead contact
Project dates March 2017
Project brief Tracking srs research and teaching project brief.pdf
Subject areas General SRS approach, Education for Sustainable Development

Many University staff travel on business, for example for research trips, or to attend conferences, and so use services such as hotels. This project aims to identify SRS risks and best practices in the hospitality industry, which could inform discussions with suppliers and with staff who book travel.

Lead contact
Project dates March 2017
Project brief SRS in hospitality industry project brief.pdf
Subject areas Supply chains, Sustainable travel

This project aims to identify and assess initiatives that are working towards ensuring a Living Wage in different parts of the world, and their successes and challenges to date, which could help inform the University's engagement with its suppliers.

Lead contact
Project dates March 2017
Project brief Living wage global project brief.pdf
Subject areas Supply chains

This project aims to identify initiatives taking place to develop more socially responsible and sustainable computing equipment, and make recommendations regarding how the University could contribute to such developments.

Lead contact
Project dates March 2017
Project brief Fair PC project brief.pdf
Subject areas Supply chains, Resource efficiency and circular economy

Not enough is known about the working conditions and workers’ rights in the supply chains of chemicals and other lab consumables used at University of Edinburgh. Consumables include: • Biochemical and chemical Reagents • Analysis kits (DNA/RNA/Protein) • Glassware • Industrial and medical gases • Lab apparatus • Low volume produced products and custom products • Mass produced media • Pharmaceuticals • Plastic-ware • Protective clothing/textiles • Sharps and surgical metals • Solvents • Large lab equipment

This project links with existing work being undertaken between SRS and Procurement using the SPPPT (Scottish Public Procurement Prioritisation Tool).

Lead contact Andrew Arnott
Project brief Living Lab project brief for website lab supplychain.docx
Subject areas Supply chains, Sustainable labs

Investigate the SRS impacts from the production of Hazardous Materials by suppliers for use in UoE labs. Hazardous materials could include (but not exclusively): explosive, flammable, oxidising, corrosive, toxic, or pressurised materials (i.e. gas in cylinder).

Not enough is known about the supply chains we depend upon for the vital raw materials required for our research. This project should take a particular substance or group of substances and follow the supply chain to ensure that at all stages of extraction, processing and transport there are no SRS issues.

Lead contact Andrew Arnott
Project brief Living Lab project brief for website Haz Mat Production.docx
Subject areas Supply chains, Sustainable labs

This paper outlines a potential project to research student perceptions of fair trade and related initiatives at the University of Edinburgh, 14 years since becoming a Fairtrade University in 2004.

Lead contact
Project dates February 2018
Project brief Fair trade student perceptions LL project brief.docx
Subject areas Communications and Engagement, Supply chains

In light of the UK Modern Slavery Act (2015), the University reports annually on steps it has taken to mitigate the risk of modern slavery in its sphere of influence. Online training for staff on the issue of modern slavery has been developed, including advice on what to do when cases of modern slavery are suspected in the UK. However, no guidance exists yet for different parts of the world where the University operates. This project aims to start to identify potential guidance on reporting suspected modern slavery in different parts of the world, and gaps where developing such guidance poses a challenge.

Lead contact
Project dates September 2018
Project brief Modern slavery regional guidance LL project brief.docx
Subject areas Welfare and wellbeing, Strategy and reporting, Communications and Engagement

Linked to EU-funded research project Make ICT Fair, and the University's collaboration with Electronics Watch, this project aims to explore approaches taken by brands (particularly ICT companies) to supply chain transparency. It will examine supplier lists and maps published on company websites, and identify the quality of transparency, and gaps.

Lead contact
Project dates September 2018
Project brief Supplier lists and maps published by brands LL project brief.docx
Subject areas Supply chains

How is the use of robotics in global information and communication technology (ICT) supply chains impacting on workers?

This project is linked to EU-funded research taking place from 2017-20 entitled Make ICT Fair.

Lead contact
Project dates September 2018
Subject areas Supply chains

Soft law guidelines like the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights advocate the use of grievance mechanisms for workers in supply chains. How are grievance mechanisms operationalised by firms and their global supply chains, with particular reference to information and communication technology (ICT) companies in University supply chains?

This project will link to EU-funded research taking place between 2017 and 2020 entitled 'Make ICT Fair'

Lead contact
Project dates September 2018
Project brief Living Lab project brief_grievance mechanisms.docx
Subject areas Supply chains

This Living Lab project aims to improve access to Edinburgh’s public event venues, with a focus on venues used for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Building on initial research already conducted by Disability History Scotland, the project researcher will undertake academic research into the accessibility of public event spaces in Edinburgh. Topics the research could cover could include: • The benefits in economic and social policy terms of improving access. • Current accessibility legislation for temporary and permanent venues in the city – and how and if this is implemented in practice. • Key barriers to making venues more accessible • Examples of best practice in making venues accessible

The key project output will be a final report, containing recommendations, which will be submitted to organisations such as Creative Scotland. The hope is that this report will act as a prompt for further practical action by organisations like the Edinburgh Fringe.

Lead contact Sarah Anderson
Project brief 2018 03 07 DHS-Living-Lab.docx
Subject areas Community

Students will undertake research with and for local communities, the findings from which will inform the 2019 update of the University’s community engagement strategy.

Lead contact Sarah Anderson
Project brief Living Lab project brief - Student-community research to support community engagement strategy update.docx
Subject areas Community

Lead contact Alexis Heeren
Project brief Circular milk supply chain LL project brief.docx
Subject areas Supply chains

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe currently attracts over 2.7 million yearly visitors and contributes £260 million to the local economy. However, it is unclear what the local opinions are and how communities and businesses benefit from the Festival. A better understanding of local opinions and benefits will help shape future initiatives to improve the sustainability and community engagement related to the Fringe.

Lead contact Kerry Cheek
Project brief Festival Fringe - community and sustainability project brief.pdf
Subject areas General SRS approach, Communications and Engagement, Community

Species audits have been undertaken at Kings Buildings and at Pollock Halls in 2009/10 but are in need of updating, especially in light of new planned developments and the development of a new biodiversity strategy for the University. This project requires a student to conduct a survey of plants and animals on Kings Buildings Campus and/or central campus if feasible, in collaboration with Estates Landscaping, SRS and any members of the Edinburgh Living Landscape (ELL) Partnership who might be able to provide assistance. The 2009/10 audits can provide a reference point for the project.

Lead contact Elizabeth Vander Meer
Project brief LL_Species_audits.docx
Subject areas Biodiversity

University of Edinburgh Estates, supported by SRS (Climate Policy Manager) and Historic Environment Scotland (HES) are undertaking a feasibility study to prepare the ground for a project to adapt the Grade B listed Hudson Beare Lecture Theatre through several refurbishment actions. Listed buildings will need to be maintained into the future, a lasting part of the University estate, and this project can be seen as a pilot for future adaptation work on historic buildings across campuses. Sensors (tinytags) were installed in the Lecture Theatre and on an external wall in early November 2018 and will be in place for 6 -9 months. The student will work with SRS, Estates and HES, contributing a significant piece of work to the feasibility study. HES plans to develop Hudson Beare as a case study that can influence refurbishments both on and off University campuses.

Lead contact Elizabeth Vander Meer
Project brief LL_Adapting_Hudson_Beare.docx
Subject areas Buildings and infrastructure

In early 2016, Pierre Badiuzzaman undertook a placement in SRS in collaboration with EUSA to look at interest in and opportunities for developing work on social finance and social enteprise at the University.

Lead contact
Subject areas Community, Responsible investment

With the development of the new strategy, the University requested MSc Carbon Finance students to undertake the development of Marginal Abatement Cost Curves (MACC) to review carbon reduction best practice in the University. The overarching aim of the project was to make evidence-based recommendations for improving carbon management within the University. Consequently, they found that amongst these three categories, the university should mainly focus on energy abatement projects, which are most cost efficient as well as having the largest CO2 savings.

Lead contact Matt Lawson
Subject areas Climate change

In the midst of globalisation, internationalisation and growth, an increase in domestic and international business travel is being seen at the University. Through implementing sustainable business travel initiatives, the University can balance its growth and reduce its carbon reductions. Initiatives include discounted rail travel, improving video conference facilities and develop an internal offset scheme.

Lead contact Matt Lawson
Subject areas Sustainable travel

Although the University provides a wide range of pathways in which students can engage with issues of sustainability at the university in general, there is a lack of opportunities in the theme of energy. One possible solution recommended through the study was to create the role of Eco-Leaders where students would be hired to help promote energy saving behaviour in their residence.

Lead contact Matt Lawson
Subject areas Communications and Engagement, Energy

The University currently has a limited range of measures in place to intercept avoidable food waste, particularly with food brought onto campus.The study recommended that the University implements two effective and simple food sharing schemes as a means to reduce food waste in the University community:The Hearty Squirrel Drop Off and Food Sharing in Self-Catered Student Accommodation.

Lead contact Matt Lawson
Subject areas Food, Resource efficiency and circular economy

This dissertation critically considered how sustainability was implemented in higher education institutions, addressing recurring barriers, and analysing the themes of sustainability, social responsibility, systems, and participation. The dissertation fundings supported the proposal to having a core department focusing on these issues, working in both the academic and operational fields.

Lead contact Matt Lawson
Subject areas General SRS approach, Strategy and reporting

The dissertation analysed biodiversity policy objectives and implementation at the University. It argued that legislation acts as a primary driver for biodiversity policy objectives while other forms of both hard and soft governance drive implementation, including BREEAM design guidance.

Lead contact Matt Lawson
Subject areas Biodiversity

The University disposes of 3,500 to 4,000 computers every year. Since disposal and recycling processes cause greenhouse gas emissions, this is an equivalent of 700 to 800 tonnes of carbon emissions. To increase reuse the study recommended to utilise the reuse portal WARPit, appoint someone responsible for reuse in each department and collaborate with charities.

Lead contact Matt Lawson
Subject areas Resource efficiency and circular economy

The University currently sources all of its bananas fair trade from Panama for its accommodations, catering, cafes, and events. While a commendable action, sourcing from one country is a clear threat to the University's banana supply security, especially as external environmental factors emerge threatening global banana production. The study recommended that the University should procure its bananas from more than one country in the long-term, fixed price contracts. Sourcing from multiple countries and thus multiple producers would spread the benefits of fair trade to more people.

Lead contact Matt Lawson
Subject areas Food, Supply chains

In summer 2015, MS student Patrycja Graczyk undertook research into how the University could further develop its Living Lab approach.

Lead contact
Project dates May 2015 - July 2015
Project report SRS LL at UoE FINAL REPORT 6th July 2015.pdf
Subject areas General SRS approach, Education for Sustainable Development

The SRS Academic Network provides an opportunity for researchers (from PhD to professor level) at Edinburgh working on or interested in SRS issues to link up, and for the SRS Department to share relevant initiatives with academics. There has been low involvement in the network among PhD students. This project aims to find out why, and recommends ways to increase engagement with PhD students around SRS related research and teaching.

Lead contact
Project dates March 2016 - May 2016
Project report Investigating_PhD_participation_in_the_SRS_Academic_Network.pdf
Subject areas General SRS approach, Communications and Engagement
Academic research

Circular economy at UoE

Researchers and practitioners at the University of Edinburgh worked together to identify how principles of the Circular Economy can be embedded in Research, Learning & Teaching, and Operations at the University of Edinburgh. SRS, with support from Zero Waste Scotland, facilitated a project between January and April 2015. The Sustainable Business Initiative (SBI) in the Business School was recruited to carry out the main piece of research, and smaller teams from the Schools of Geosciences and Chemistry also looked at practices within their own areas.

Lead contact
Project dates January 2015 - May 2015
Project report ZWS UoE Circular Economy Report - FINAL May 2015.pdf
Subject areas Education for Sustainable Development, Resource efficiency and circular economy

A group of students from the Case Studies in Sustainable Development course examine the new Cocoa Life scheme from Cadbury's which is endorsed by Fairtrade International, in terms of the effects of such shifts for the fair trade movement and its impacts, and potential considerations for University policy. One of the students' final briefings is attached.

Lead contact
Project dates March 2017 - May 2017
Project report FTMark_Robinson-B093920_Persuasive-Brief.pdf
Subject areas Food, Supply chains

Two students from the MSc Science Communication undertook a work placement as part of their course in the SRS Department, looking at how to engage more students and staff in the University's approach to conflict minerals - both in terms of general awareness raising, and behaviour change around purchasing.

Lead contact
Project dates October 2016 - December 2016
Project report Conflict minerals engagement project summarydocx.pdf
Subject areas Supply chains

Two MSc students from the Business School and Geosciences worked with SRS and one of the University's food suppliers, Just Trading Scotland, to investigate the supply chain for fair trade lentils, used in University catering outlets. During fieldwork in Malawi, they carried out value chain analysis and assessed livelihood benefits of the fair trade approach for farmers.

Lead contact
Project dates May 2015 - August 2015
Project report Malawi pigeon peas Findings and Recommendations summary.pdf
Subject areas Food, Supply chains

In summer 2015, Eilidh Morrison completed her dissertation through a work-based placement in SRS on University garment supply chains, looking at challenges and opportunities regarding how to ensure good working conditions in manufacturing.

Lead contact
Project dates May 2015 - August 2015
Project report Garment supply chains dissertation 2015 summary.pdf
Subject areas Supply chains

Claudine Dalinghaus undertook a graduate placement in the SRS Department in early 2017 to look at risks of modern slavery in the food and construction sectors, and what steps University suppliers in those sectors had reported to have taken.

Lead contact
Project dates February 2017 - April 2017
Project report Modern slavery approaches among University suppliers project summary.pdf
Subject areas Supply chains

Nudging Behaviour Change into Action: Can Nudge Theory Alter People’s Disposal Behaviour at the University of Edinburgh?

Lead contact Alan Peddie
Project dates August 2015
Project report Living Lab project summary Nudging Behaviour Change into Action Can Nudge Theory Alter People’s Disposal Behaviour at the University of Edinburgh.docx
Subject areas Resource efficiency and circular economy

SRS worked with the Horsfall lab (School of Biological Sciences) in Roger Land Building to monitor the energy consumption of the lab equipment before, during and after an energy awareness engagement campaign.

Lead contact Andrew Arnott
Project dates July 2016 - August 2017
Project report Horsfall labs monitoring report.docx
Subject areas Communications and Engagement, Sustainable labs, Energy

Researching business risk and communicating adaptation to feed into the University's adaptation strategy content and provide evidence for the approaches taken. Two students are devoting a day of desk-based research to this strategy development.

Lead contact Elizabeth Vander Meer
Project dates August 2017 - September 2017
Project report Living Lab project summary_climate_change_adaptation.docx
Subject areas Climate change

This project examines how public procurement can encourage new developments in the circular economy - reviewing innovative procurement mechanisms, examples of procuring for circular economy, and recommending next steps for the University of Edinburgh.

Lead contact
Project dates May 2017 - August 2017
Project report Circular economy procurement Living Lab project summary.docx
Subject areas Supply chains, Resource efficiency and circular economy

In summer 2017, George Kapatayes completed his dissertation work based placement with the department on a materiality review of the University's social responsibility and sustainability issues.

Lead contact Matt Lawson
Project report Materiality Review of Social Responsibility and Sustainability Issues summary for website.pdf
Subject areas General SRS approach, Strategy and reporting

In summer 2017, Rachel Irvine completed her dissertation in collaboration with the SRS Department on the sustainability performance of different farmed salmon certifications, making recommendations for University policy and practice. Rachel's summary report is available to download below.

Lead contact Alexis Heeren
Project dates May 2017 - August 2017
Project report Living Lab project summary - Alleviating ecological impacts of Scottish salmon production.docx
Subject areas Food, Supply chains

The University's responsible investment policy has committed to not investing in tobacco, controversial armaments, coal and tar sands, and work is ongoing regarding investment in renewables and social finance. This project examines how students could form a club to gain hands on experience of different aproaches responsible investment, supported by the University's SRS and Finance Departments, and the Business School.

The project has led to the creation of student investment club 'Prosper' in late 2017.

Lead contact
Project dates April 2017
Subject areas Communications and Engagement, Responsible investment

In summer 2016, Laurie King completed his dissertation in collaboration with the SRS Department on palm oil in supply chains and the different sustainability options available today, making recommendations for University policy and practice. A summary of Laurie's dissertation conclusion is available to download below.

Lead contact Alexis Heeren
Project report Living Lab project summary - Sustainable palm oil options.docx
Subject areas Food, Supply chains

The Participatory Action Research on Food Sustainability was a novel action research project, involving staff and students working together to improve food sustainability at the university. It was initiated by Chancellor’s Fellow, Dr Niamh Moore, working together with academic staff, the SRS Department and students from from The Social Life of Food (an undergraduate Sociology course). From project planning to implementation, staff and students worked together to plan, design and build an on-campus project for food sustainability.

The project ran over two academic years. In year 1, the group developed proposals relating to coffee cups, food growing and an educational food festival. In year 2, the group conducted research on farmers markets to support the creation of a new food market at the University. This included surveying visitors at a trial market that took place in Potterrow Dome in Feb 2016. The group presented their survey findings and recommendations to a group of market stakeholders, and the research was used to improve the delivery of future markets. A copy of the presentation is below. There is now a regular market running fortnightly during term time in Potterrow Dome.

Lead contact Alexis Heeren
Project dates January 2016 - May 2017
Project report PARFS Farmer's Market Presentation - Survey Findings and Recommendations.pdf
Subject areas Food

The Collaborative Building project explores how to create sustainable places for education, addressing immediate issues of how we can make learning spaces thrive in the digital world and considering how current building stock can be adapted and transformed in the face of climate change and resource scarcities. SRS recruited student volunteers to serve as a commissioning group, developing a design brief for MSc Advanced Sustainable Design students, for their Semester 1 project. The commissioning group was asked to think about future learning spaces to redesign 7 Bristo Square on the University campus. The project involves collaboration between the commissioning group, design students, SRS and Estates.

Lead contact Elizabeth Vander Meer
Project dates October 2017 - March 2018
Project report Building_Futures_Living Lab project summary.docx
Subject areas Education for Sustainable Development

A PhD student in Politics and International Relations agreed to undertake a four week part-time volunteer project to explore capacity building in adaptation through closer links between the city of Edinburgh and the city of Copehagen. The project involves desk-based research and informal interviews with the head of Edinburgh Adapts and former project manager for Copenhagen's adaptation plan. A final report will provide conclusions.

Lead contact Elizabeth Vander Meer
Project dates February 2018 - March 2018
Project report Capacity building between Edinburgh and Copenhagen-2_FINAL.docx
Subject areas Climate change

MSc Carbon Finance students, as a Semester 2 2017/18 project, were asked to broadly consider the costs and long-term benefits of addressing climate change risks, to deliver a report with recommendations to inform a University Adaptation strategy, which is currently in draft form.

Lead contact Elizabeth Vander Meer
Project dates January 2018 - April 2018
Subject areas Climate change

The initial brief for this project was to explore how the University can source and serve food in a way that enhances food security, protects biodiversity and conserves habitats.

This dissertation specifically investigated the limitations and strengths of two common coffee certification schemes for protecting biodiversity.

Lead contact Alexis Heeren
Project dates April 2018 - August 2018
Project report Finding Common Grounds, Blending Certifications and Governments for Strong Biodiversity Governance in Coffee Production - Executive Summary.docx
Subject areas Biodiversity, Food, Supply chains

Five students on the Case Studies in Sustainable Development masters course assessed different approaches to sustainable palm oil in depth, building on a dissertation on the same topic in the previous year. Each student completed a short persuasive brief with recommendations for the University. One of these is copied below.

Lead contact Alexis Heeren
Project dates March 2017 - May 2017
Project report Palm oil issue brief.docx
Subject areas Food, Supply chains

Five students on the Case Studies in Sustainable Development masters course investigated what measures might encourage the uptake of more sustainable and healthy food behaviours / choices amongst staff and students. The project reviewed the evidence base for different approaches and considered what measures would work within our institution.

Each student completed a short persuasive brief with recommendations for the University. One of these is copied below.

Lead contact Alexis Heeren
Project dates January 2018 - April 2018
Subject areas Food

There are numerous devastating effects of deforestation for the environment, biodiversity and communities worldwide. There has been an increase of focus in recent years on how to tackle deforestation in supply chains and investment portfolios, with numerous initiatives, events and guidance in existence. This project is designed to help the University better understand the risks and in particular the initiatives related to combating deforestation.

Lead contact
Project dates March 2017
Subject areas Supply chains, Responsible investment

University Estates has noted a negative public perception of uncut grass or areas considered overgrown on campuses. Green spaces left wild would be beneficial for adaptation and biodiversity; these areas, based on previous feedback, have been perceived as unloved and neglected rather than as havens for a wide range of species. A more thorough understanding of student and staff perceptions of less managed green spaces would be useful to justify a proposed green spaces signage campaign and to consider other means of shifting possible negative perceptions (there is an expectation that staff and students will respond negatively to areas that seem untended).

Lead contact Elizabeth Vander Meer
Project dates April 2018 - August 2018
Project report Wild_University_Landscapes_ExecutiveSummary_s1760887.docx

The student placement project included conducting a pilot study using the Natural Capital Standard for Green Infrastructure, developed by the Scottish Wildlife Trust, and providing feedback regarding use of the tool. Pollock Halls was chosen as the test site.

Lead contact Elizabeth Vander Meer
Project dates February 2018 - March 2018
Project report Placement Report_CE_LL.docx
Subject areas Biodiversity

The University reports on carbon emissions from Scope 3 sources, but our aim is to improve and expand upon our current reporting. This project involves researching best practice to identify what other Universities are doing as well as what key methodological guidance is available to the sector in terms of Scope 3 reporting, with particular focus on commuting and international students, procurement, leased student accommodation and embodied carbon.

Lead contact Elizabeth Vander Meer
Project dates July 2018 - October 2018
Project report Living Lab project summary_Scope_3_reporting_Wan.docx
Subject areas Climate change

Most campaigns and corporate social responsibility efforts on conflict minerals currently focus on IT equipment. The University buys a wide range of goods, so we would like to gain more insights into what other products are at risk of containing conflict minerals, and what efforts exist to combat this risk.

John Coghill, MSc student, carried out dissertation research in summer 2018, comparing conflict minerals efforts in IT with the vehicles industry.

Lead contact
Project dates May 2017 - August 2018
Project report JC conflict minerals ICT and vehicles Executive Summary.pdf
Subject areas Supply chains

An intern hired for 8 weeks to undertake basic maintenance of freezers at volunteer labs (defrosting, filter cleaning, ensuring enough space around them) and to generate a contents inventory which is to be presented to lab contacts in order to identify any redundant contents which can be removed to free-up space.

Lead contact Andrew Arnott
Project dates June 2018 - July 2018
Project report Living Lab project summary for website - Cold Storage Internship.docx
Subject areas Sustainable labs, Energy, Climate change

Single-use plasticware in labs contributes in an obvious way to our waste production, but also consumes energy for sterilisation prior to disposal. It is thought that under the right circumstances (number of uses, etc) re-usable glassware which is cleaned/sterilised between uses could have a lower overall impact.

This project should use an approved Whole Life Costing or Life Cycle Analysis methodology to assess the relative impacts of single-use plastic vs glassware, in terms of carbon impact.

Lead contact Andrew Arnott
Project report Living Lab project summary for website glass vs plastic.docx
Subject areas Sustainable labs, Resource efficiency and circular economy

A Case Studies in Sustainable Development project to research how Ecosia, ‘the search engine that plants trees’, compares to other search engines in terms of environmental impact. This research would help inform whether the University of Edinburgh should consider changing its default search engine.

Lead contact Alex Kuklinski
Project dates January 2019 - April 2019
Project report Persuasive_brief 1.pdf
Subject areas General SRS approach, Communications and Engagement, Energy, Climate change

This paper outlines a potential coursework or dissertation project to research strategies to combat deforestation and other damaging forms of land use change (e.g. peat and grassland conversion) that may be present in University soya supply chains.

Lead contact Alexis Heeren
Project dates April 2019 - August 2019
Project report Living Lab project recommendations - deforestation and soya certifications.pdf
Subject areas Supply chains, Food

The University has committed to become zero carbon by 2040. The University's Climate Strategy 2016 lays out a comprehensive whole institution approach to climate change mitigation and adaptation in order to achieve its ambitious targets. To meet these new obligations, we will take action on research, learning and teaching, operations, responsible investment, and will investigate renewables opportunities. A key part of developing future implementation plans for the Climate Strategy will be to consider opportunities to engage students through a range of academic and extra-curricular opportunities.

Lead contact Matt Lawson
Subject areas Climate change

In 2015 the United Nations adopted a set of goals to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all as part of a new sustainable development agenda.This project aims to research and identify the opportunities for the University of Edinburgh to contribute towards the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. This would inform the University’s Social Responsibility and Sustainability Strategy Review Project.

Lead contact Matt Lawson
Subject areas General SRS approach, Education for Sustainable Development, Strategy and reporting