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University of Edinburgh at forefront of sustainable research initiative

A newly created UK concordat aims to ensure that the design and practice of research and innovation becomes environmentally sustainable. 

The agreement, the UK Concordat for the Environmental Sustainability of Research and Innovation Practice, has been co-developed by more than 25 organisations including universities, research institutes and funders in the UK research and innovation sector.

The University of Edinburgh has committed to fully adopting the Concordat, and is an early signatory, along with the University of Glasgow. 

Entrenching sustainable practice

Concordat signatories and supporters commit to progressively embedding environmental sustainability into all research and innovation practices.

Signatories agree to action six priority areas, including finding new sustainable approaches and maintaining transparency about the environmental impacts of research output.

They also commit to publicly sharing how their organisations will deliver their sustainability aims, and publish annual summaries of progress.

Climate ambitions

The Concordat coincides with another major sustainability initiative founded recently by the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow – Scotland Beyond Net Zero.

This scheme is aimed at maximising the contribution academic research makes to Scotland’s ambitious climate goals.

The coalition’s membership has grown since its inception to include nine Universities across Scotland: the Universities of Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, St Andrews, Stirling, and Strathclyde, with Glasgow Caledonian and Heriot-Watt Universities.

Strategic focus

Furthermore, priority areas outlined in the UK concordat closely align with objectives in the University’s Research and Innovation Strategy and Climate Strategy, with processes, governance, and partnerships in place to support these important areas of focus. 

This strategy supports the UK government commitment of achieving net zero by 2050, and the Scotland target of net zero by 2045.

Signing this Concordat represents an important milestone in ensuring our own research practices are conducted as sustainably as possible, whilst contributing to sector-wide efforts in a coordinated way - Professor Sir Peter MathiesonPrincipal and Vice-Chancellor

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