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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:

Birkbeck, University of London

Bloomsbury environmental management shared service

Four central London institutions will explore a common approach to the issues of carbon management and the sustainable operation of estates.

Bournemouth University

Developing leaders for sustainable development: enabling behaviour change

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.

Cranfield University

Carbon brainprint

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.

Harper Adams University College

Developing carbon management strategies for HE institutions with extensive landholdings

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.

University of Gloucestershire

Leading curriculum change for sustainability: strategic approaches to quality enhancement

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.

University of Lincoln

Electromagnates

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.

University of Liverpool and the Energy Consortium

Increasing renewable energy generation in the HE sector

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.

University of Northampton

Keeping it local: shared solutions for sustainability

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.

University of Nottingham

Integrating Sustainability into Business Schools

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.

University of Oxford

Midnight Oil: How are our 24-hour University buildings really used and how can we better manage out of hours use to reduce carbon emissions?

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.

Staffordshire University and the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges

Environmental exchange

A project to develop and implement an interactive web-based HE repository of sustainability technical guidance and case studies.

Notes

  1. HEFCE has invested in improving leadership, governance and management in the HE sector through the LGM Fund. A total of £10 million has been available over three years from August 2007 to July 2010.
  2. 'Sustainable development in higher education, 2008 update to strategic statement and action plan' (HEFCE 2009/03) sets out HEFCE's approach to promoting the sustainable development agenda.
  3. Proposals were invited via HEFCE Circular letter 26/2009.
  4. Further details of the Leading sustainable development in higher education initiative and a list of funded projects are available.