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Framing a research sustainability statement

January 16, 2020

As a university-based researcher, I am required to submit an assessment of the ethical considerations of my research projects, as well as risks and a plan for how research data will be managed securely. For my current research project, The Last Hurrah, which looks at how theatre can engage audiences with issues of climate change, I also wanted an explicit statement of the environmental sustainability of the research project. To me, this was important because it provides an outline of our intent that we can then bring to bear in our decision making.

In this case, I have written one for a small part of the project which involves myself and a research assistant interviewing the cast, which is quite low hanging fruit for sustainability, as there is not much transport nor procurement involved. Projects such as overseas excavations will inevitably be more difficult.

Sustainability Statement

To frame the sustainability statement, I considered three key impacts of the research project – carbon and energy management, sustainable and ethical procurement, and waste and resource management, and wrote an overarching aim with at least one specific objective for each. Bath Spa University’s sustainability manager, Dr Julian Greaves, was kind enough to review the text.

We have been working with this statement for six months now, and I have found it helpful as a check point against which I can review project decisions. I will certainly carry on this practice for future projects, and try to be more ambitious with my commitments. Thoughts about improvements are very welcome.

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