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Eleven sustainable development projects in the higher education (HE) sector are being supported by a HEFCE funding initiative 'Leading sustainable development in higher education'.
In response to increasing activity in the HE sector on sustainable development, HEFCE ran a special competition from its Leadership, Governance and Management (LGM) Fund to ensure that the best projects were selected for funding. Projects include carbon management, renewable energy generation, and reducing energy consumption. In December 2009 HEFCE invited proposals (Note 3) from higher education institutions (HEIs) for projects which supported both its own sustainable development strategy, and Universities UK and GuildHE's University Leader’s Statement of Intent on sustainable development.
Eleven projects were subsequently selected for funding: five higher-value projects (up to around £200,000) and six smaller-scale projects (up to £75,000). Those projects cover a wide spectrum of the sustainable development agenda – from technical through to leadership and information issues, and are detailed below.
Steve Egan, HEFCE Director for Finance and Corporate Resources, said:
'Sustainable development is central to HEFCE's strategy for future development of the HE sector, and we're pleased to be funding a range of projects, including in leadership, behavioural change, carbon management, local partnerships on sustainability, and the curriculum. The sector has an important contribution to make to sustainable development and these projects reflect its high level of commitment'.
The 11 projects selected for funding are:
Four central London institutions will explore a common approach to the issues of carbon management and the sustainable operation of estates.
Bournemouth and Sussex Universities, two distinctly different HEIs, will together aim to broaden leadership support for sustainable development and capacity building, by working with governing bodies and senior management teams.
The project will develop, test and disseminate a robust, repeatable methodology for measuring the intellectual contribution HEIs make towards reducing the carbon footprint of other organisations.
The project will enable institutions with extensive landholdings (including farmed land) to measure greenhouse gas emissions arising from agricultural activities, establish realistic carbon equivalent reduction targets, and develop informed carbon management plans.
This project takes up the challenge of improving institutional and academic leadership by progressing Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) through quality assurance and enhancement. Five universities will work in partnership to produce case studies and strategic guidance, in dialogue with a range of external stakeholders and sector agencies.
A project to design, implement, and evaluate a suite of social software applications to encourage positive changes in the way HE and local authority workplaces and environments consume energy.
The project will consider the evaluation of technologies and contractual models for both 'on-site' and 'off-site' generation, providing HEIs with framework agreements by which they can access renewable energy generation.
The project will explore how universities can work with other local organisations and public sector partners to achieve a more holistic approach to solving the challenge of sustainability. It will create a Northamptonshire action plan for new area-based initiatives that will achieve significant multiplier effects.
The project will provide guidance to business schools on how to integrate and communicate social, economic and ecological sustainability in their educational programmes, research and organisational practices/processes.
A project to assess usage patterns of four 24-hour buildings, which will be used to recommend changes to overnight zoning and controls, reducing carbon emissions and feeding into a case study and toolkit for use by other universities.
A project to develop and implement an interactive web-based HE repository of sustainability technical guidance and case studies.