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UCL and KCL Learning from each other's Sustainable Laboratories

Both University College London (KCL) and King�s College London (KCL) run the annual Sustainability Awards, a programme facilitated by NUS�s Green Impact.


Teams of all sizes must complete criteria to achieve different levels of awards (for e.g. Bronze, Silver, or Gold awards). Teams submit evidence of completing such criteria, and then are audited typically by students. The awards can operate in different settings, including laboratories.

For laboratories, KCL has been running �peer-audits�, in which the auditors are staff or students from another participating laboratory. This peer-audit process was recognised with a Green Gown award at the University of Edinburgh, as it raises competition, as well as improves the thoroughness and continuity of the programme. This year UCL has fully invested in laboratory sustainability by bringing in a sustainable laboratories adviser, who also managed the programme at KCL.

Seeing an opportunity to share knowledge and help kick-start UCL�s endeavour, inter-university lab sustainability audits were conducted for the first time. Participating lab staff and students from UCL came to KCL�s laboratories where the programme had already been running. There they got to visit and discuss challenges and solutions � as Brian O�Sullivan put it: �I found it very useful. The difference between the website and seeing the lab was really helpful to see�. Soon after, KCL staff came to help audit UCL�s laboratory spaces.

While sustainable laboratories were the focus, much was learned and discussed beyond this including debating career paths, the best methods to secure and store tissue, and tricks of the trade how to incentivize various things around the lab. Overall 13 audits were conducted with staff from both institutions in 2017. UCL and KCL will continue and grow this programme in 2018, with an aim of widening its reach and benefits.

If you are interested in participating, get in touch!