Learning, Research & Students

Sustainability is key to institutional success over the long-term

Socially responsible and sustainable institutions take a long-term view of their relationships with students before, during and after their time at university or college – which helps to improve student access, retention, performance and employability.

Institutions embracing strategic sustainability create more socially aware, sustainability-driven graduates with the practical, intellectual, innovation and resiliency skills needed to succeed in the modern workforce and beyond.

Sustainability improves employability and employment outcomes by broadening student perspectives, encouraging them to take a long term view and teaching them how to work creatively and collaboratively to solve complex problems. Cross-disciplinary teaching and research associated with sustainability enables students to develop these attributes, together with applied learning from Living Lab projects.

Research outcomes, income and profile are critical to the positioning of many education institutions. Institutions that prioritise sustainability are better placed to build research partnerships, respond to funding priorities and deliver research with impact because sustainability, and its relationship with research and teaching, is of growing importance to stakeholders – including government, business and the third sector.

Funders are increasingly looking to understand, and address, global societal challenges through research and innovation in the knowledge economy. The Research Excellence Framework (REF) incentivises institutions to demonstrate impact on sustainable development, by explicitly assessing impact on society, economy, culture, environment, health and quality of life. The Sustainable Development Goals provide a globally acknowledged framework for institutions to realise that impact and are of increasing interest to UK Research Councils, industry and philanthropy efforts.

For Academics & Researchers:

  • Join SHED - the leading cross sector Community of Practice in the UK for Education for Sustainability. 
  • Enter the Green Gown Awards to showcase your sustainability initiatives and receive the most prestigious recognition of best practice within education. Specific categories on Next Generation Learning & Skills, Tomorrow’s Employees and Research with Impact (Institution & Student) 
  • We have resources on Learning & Teaching, Research and Student Engagement 
  • Do you need help in engaging colleagues? Attend the Emerging Leaders Programme to gain essential influencing skills. 
  • Sign The SDG Accord. The SDG Accord is the global university and college sector’s collective response to the sustainable development goals (SDGs) 
  • Submit your academic paper or research to our conference.  We are developing a special edition peer reviewed academic journal to showcase the good practice across the sector 
  • Find out more about Student Outcomes and Research & Innovation 
  • Take part in the Sulitest - a sustainability literacy test for students

For Sustainability Specialists:

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