Progress with the Environmental Sustainability agenda in FBMH

by | Feb 8, 2024 | AD ES update, Environmental Sustainability (ES), Guest Authors | 0 comments

In this blog series, Dr Maggy Fostier, FBMH Associate Dean for Environmental Sustainability, will provide a run down on all the latest Environmental Sustainability news in FBMH.

Welcome to the third edition of the FBMH Environmental Sustainability (ES) Good Newsletter. Our previous ES Good Newsletters are available here: June 2023, October 2023. 

I am really pleased with the progress made in the last year. Thanks to a growing number of Green and LEAF champions, we are becoming a greener Faculty in the way in which we conduct our research, consider our green spaces, and approach how to embed ES content and skills in our various curricula. Our outreach activities are also multiplying thanks to our student and staff volunteers, aiming to educate and influence those within our reach.

This year, the University also celebrates its bicentenary, including an extra special 4-day edition of our annual Community festival, Universally Manchester, centred around a greener, fairer and healthier world, in support of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Many future events are advertised in this edition, but more are in the planning, so make sure you follow us on X (formerly Twitter) @FBMH_SR. Please do contact to share more ES good news/tips or your ES events.  

Here is our progress towards our strategic plan:   

Engaging all Faculty laboratories by 2025 with tools focusing on reducing consumption and waste, sharing resources more effectively and developing more sustainable protocols: LEAF (Laboratory Efficiency Assessment Framework) and 6R (Review, Reduce, Reuse Refill, Replace, Recycle).  

  • 63% of PIs have a LEAF champion and 31% of PIs have a LEAF award (14% Bronze, 15% Silver, 2% Gold). This great progress is in response to our monthly training sessions and a growing community of green scientists (see blog). Working together, staff, PGR and undergraduate ES project students, are developing ways to manage our resources better, green our protocols, and engage with suppliers towards a greener procurement.  
  • The Lydia Becker Institute is pioneering increasing the temperature of ULTs to -70°C. Dr. May Tassabehji is carrying out a longitudinal study on sample integrity to complement existing data from leading Institutions such as Boulder, Collorado and Glasgow.   
  • Drs Forbes Mason and Philip Day are exploring alternatives to foetal calf serum (FCS) in cell culture practices. 

 Engaging staff and students with sustainable actions on campus to reach our University targets: 

  • Limit annual air travel emissions to 50% of our 2018/19 level. We were almost on target for 2022-23. It is key that we keep reducing business air travel. I would welcome blogs from (1) teams who have streamlined their travelling strategies, (2) examples of greener conference/networking events formats, (3) researchers who have reached excellent research impact with limited air travel. It was interesting to hear from Julian Skyrme (Head of Social responsibility (SR) for The University of Manchester (UoM)) in January that UoM is excellent at producing quality research publications, but not so good at reaching an audience based on the number of downloads. I wonder if this is a sign that traditional dissemination via conferences needs reviewing.  
  • Several policies are supporting this target: The travel decision tree, the top fund policy, our video conferences facilities, and two staff courses to promote ways to publicise your work beyond conferences: Using Social Media for Impact workshop, and How to Communicate your Research
  • Recycle 45% of waste produced through our operations by 2025.  
  • Food on campus is becoming more sustainable and our food waste collection has increased (see blog).  
  • Our Furniture4Reuse store is booming (see blog), helping staff, students, local organisation and charities.  
  • Labs are developing tools to facilitate the rehoming of plastics, consumables, and equipment, and we are exploring ways to reuse and recycle more (blogs in next edition). 
  • Our eco-action guides which include recycling information, Easy Eco for all [all actions] and 6R home and campus  [plastic focused], are promoted to students via inductions and volunteers’ campaigns.  

 Disseminating UoM research on climate change, climate solution and resilience.  

  • The UoM Sustainable Future seminar series is starting again. The website also regularly publishes exciting news and opportunities for training or funding.  
  • The climate network newsletter lists all the climate action events happening at UoM and in Manchester. 
  • Dr. Neil Dixon’s research (Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE)) on developing bacteria strains able to feed on nutrients extracted from waste (including plastics) to produce high value pharmaceuticals, was featured on the new Radio 4 podcast Rare Earth: Can we leave without waste?  

Supporting green spaces on campus (e.g., Michael Smith quad) that promote biodiversity, whilst offering enjoyment and opportunities for nature-based learning or well-being activities.  

  • Lily and Issy are the Smith quad garden managers. They coordinate the volunteer gardeners and organise nature-related activities (see blog).  
  • Five ES project students are working on strategies to engage students and staff with biodiversity on campus, use our green spaces as teaching and learning resources, and increase our biodiversity. They will run workshops, tours, promote iNaturalist (blog), and gather opinions from various stakeholders. Opportunities to participate will be advertised on our SR social media outlets. 
  • The FIRS botanical grounds are a great resource for our Fallowfield campus, with many student-led projects taking place. 
  • Here are some useful maps to help explore the campus (possibly with iNat): Green spaces on campus , Interactive Tree Trail on campus, the Sustainability map (select living campus features).  

Embedding sustainability in our undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. 

  • In this edition, colleagues from Pharmacy, Medicine and Natural sciences share ideas and resources to promote ES in the teaching activities (3 blogs: QEPEP, Pharmacy, Enzymes for biocatalysis
  • Discussions are ongoing with each school to embed ES in the curriculum (UG and PG), and we share resources and ideas as we go along. We are making good progress and a small delegation from various schools will attend the Manchester UK-CSR Symposium on Sustainability Teaching in Higher Education in April. This is a great opportunity to learn together and embed our activities faster.   
  • Jen O’Brien (Academic Lead for Sustainability Teaching and Learning) has also launched a Sustainability Teaching and Learning Community of Practice. 
  • Please get in touch to talk about your Teaching & Learning ES activities or ideas.  

Promoting sustainable actions in our wider community (schools, community, organisations, businesses – local or afar) with the help of trained students. 

  • 6R champions will have a stall at the Green Together event organised by FSE in the central library on 23rd-24th February. 
  • Some green champions are organising a workshop with the Hulme Garden centre.  

 Educating and exciting those we can reach about existing and future solutions to tackle the climate crisis.  

  • The FBMH ES Good Newsletter is our tool for this priority. We disseminate it externally via various social media platforms and I hope you find the articles written by our UG students exciting.  

Sign up to receive the FBMH ES newsletter by contacting Read our previous editions: June and October 2023.

To find out more about Environmental Sustainability: visit the Faculty’s intranet pagewebsite or contact . For more information on Environmental Sustainability at the University watch this short film or visit their website.