Exactly a year to the day that we launched SRN back in 2013, we were thrilled to be granted funding from the Graduate School to run our anniversary event. Over the last year we have held nine events and built SRN to the 200+ strong network it is today, so it was great to celebrate!
We kicked off the day with multi-disciplinary presentations from researchers across departments including: Architecture & Built Environment; Business; Geography; ISS; Humanities; Archaeology; Politics; Plant Sciences; Centre for Applied Bioethics; Electrical & Electronic Engineering; Mechanical, Materials & Manufacturing Engineering; Medicine, Pharmacy and Law. Discussions identified common issues across departments (e.g. managing for sustainability) as well as deliberated broader topics, such as the impact of research (e.g. how do we feel about flying to overseas conferences?) and behaviour change initiatives (e.g. should we build collaboration or competition?)
As part of plans for the university’s new sustainability strategy, Gavin Scott, Head of Environment and Helen Rutherford, Environment Officer from the Estates department encouraged us to complete the sentence, “A sustainable university is…” As we pondered the role of research in the university’s new plan and our current relationships with Estates, Gavin and Helen challenged us to think of our ‘one big idea’ for the future. My suggestion was ‘collaboration.’
- Dr. Mike Clifford entertained us with an extract from Wind in the Willows and encouraged a broader focus on sustainability. Mike discussed how he had challenged the economic / environmental biases in sustainable engineering research to champion a more social perspective, and brought transdisciplinarity to life by discussing a cook stoves project he had worked on in southern Africa with Geographers, alongside research he has conducted with nurses as part of the ‘Dream Big Ghana’ volunteering project.
- Discussing research underway within the multi-disciplinary Horizon Digital Economy Research Institute, Dr. Caroline Leygue shared insights into the role of emotions in influencing energy saving behaviour. Reflecting particularly on how people react to free riding in an energy context, Caroline highlighted how energy use may be influenced by emotions such as anger and guilt, providing insights into enablers and barriers of behaviour change in communal contexts.
- Providing a fascinating insight into sustainable chemistry, Prof. Peter Licence discussed the unique ‘pathway to products’ at the University of Nottingham and the importance of teamwork across Chemistry, Engineering, Medical and Environmental disciplines. He shared developments around the GSK carbon neutral laboratory, which aims to carbon neutral in 25 years, and the low impact construction currently underway on the Jubilee campus.
A huge thank you to all those of you who came along to celebrate with us last week! We were thrilled to celebrate a successful year, and look forward to another year of ‘making connections!’
Post by Sarah Glozer, 3rd year PhD Candidate at the International Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility, Nottingham University Business School
For further thoughts around the University of Nottingham’s new sustainability strategy, please contact Gavin Scott at email@example.com