Staff Awards: Spotlight on Sustainability

Posted on: 11 December 2023 in Issue 7

With nominations now open for the Staff Awards 2024, we are taking a look back at the previous sustainability Staff Award winners, to celebrate the achievements of our colleagues.

In 2022, the University introduced two new Staff Award categories, Sustainability in Research and Sustainability on Campus, reflecting the University’s commitment to this important area and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. These awards recognise achievements by colleagues both in research and through initiatives and projects on campus.

Sustainability in Research Award

The Sustainability in Research Award recognises individuals or teams whose research has made a significant contribution to the sustainability agenda with proven or potential worldwide impact. The award supports the key ambitions of the University’s Sustainability Strategy.

The winners of this award in 2022 were the Innovatory Team, Department of Geography and Planning. The ‘Innovatory’ is a series of three European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) business support programmes (the Centre for Global Eco-Innovation, the Low Carbon Eco-Innovatory and Eco-I NW. In total, the programmes have supported over 700 SMEs, created over 300 jobs, developed more than 120 new low carbon products and services, and have added £45 million gross GVA to the low carbon economy in LCR and the Northwest. A total of 67 PhD students have been funded by the three programmes at the University over the past 10 years and many of these have sparked longer-term research relationships between academics at the University and some of the organisations supported. The team has covered a wide variety of disciplines such as Engineering, Chemistry, Management, Biology, Architecture, Computing Science and Mathematics. Colleagues have recognised the input of the Professional Services team who have worked tirelessly behind the scenes to collectively manage these three programmes to drive forward the low carbon agenda.

2023 saw Dr Nicola White, Institute of Infection, Veterinary and Ecological Sciences win the Sustainability in Research Award for leading a project at the Drosophila Facility introducing reusable glass vials and washable bung closures. Flies in glass vials have increased survival and lower lethal mutation and a host of other benefits for research. The removal of one-use equipment has eliminated the packaging and carbon emissions from the production and transport of single use plastics and cotton wool, reduced the associated waste and lowered the facility bill by 50%, allowing more funding available for research. 

Sustainability in Research Award winners 2022, The Low Carbon Eco-Innovatory Team and 2023 winner Dr Nicola White

Sustainability on Campus Award 

The Sustainability on Campus Award recognises individuals or teams who have made a significant impact on Sustainability at the University. Open to both professional services and academic colleagues, the award celebrates initiatives on campus that support the key ambitions of the University’s Sustainability Strategy.

At the 2022 awards, both Professor Liz Sheffield, Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education), Faculty of Science and Engineering and Kate Sisodia, Sustainability Assistant, Facilities, Residential and Commercial Services won the individual Sustainability on Campus Award.

Liz was praised for being an inspiration and leading champion for sustainability on campus ever since she joined the University. Liz has been the driving force for many of the successful schemes that have been implemented including Education for Sustainable DevelopmentSustainability working groups; the University's Sustainability Strategy and much more. Liz also helped to achieve the gold award for a Hedgehog Friendly Campus for an improved wildlife eco-system. Liz works tirelessly with all areas of the University, bringing together colleagues and students, to make sustainability change happen and become embedded in all our lives and the legacy of the University.

Kate was acknowledged for playing central role in bringing the University’s sustainability work to a wider audience over recent years. As the face of sustainability to all who visit the campus, Kate was responsible for organising events such as virtual Earth Day, an annual Falconry display and coordinated the University’s ‘Stories of Climate Change’ photography competition and exhibition, coinciding with COP26. She also developed website content which supported a climb of over 50 places in the People and Planet League Table. Kate not only brought attention to sustainability work, but she also embodies our staff value of making a difference to society locally, nationally, and internationally. In a rapidly changing working environment and wider sustainability sector, Kate continually adapts her skills to ensure sustainability remains at the forefront of campus life. 

Professor Liz Sheffield and Kate Sisodia receiving their Sustainability on Campus Awards in 2022

Sian Fairhurst from Strategic Change collected the Sustainability on Campus award in 2023, for significantly raising the profile of Sustainability at the University. She established an extensive events programme and the University’s first-ever Sustainability Week, the launch of the ‘Sustainable Liverpool’ newsletter, and launch of the Climate Plan. Sian was praised for her great work ethic, and an ability to empower others.

The LEAF Pilot Group, Technology, Infrastructure and Environment Directorate, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences were the winning team in the Sustainability on Campus Award category in 2022. Laboratory Efficiency Assessment Framework is an initiative developed by the University of Central London (UCL) to improve the sustainability and efficiency of laboratories and technical workspaces. The University's Faculty of Health and Life Sciences and Faculty of Science and Engineering had run a pilot of LEAF in laboratory spaces to review impact and effectiveness, since March 2021. The LEAF framework attributes to multiple UN Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs) and targets on waste, energy, training, and culture. The LEAF pilot was also part of a national project coordinated via LEAF / National Technician Development Centre. The pilot group at Liverpool is a a mix of academic and technical staff who have cooperated and worked collectively throughout.

Central Teaching Labs (CTL) were the winning team in 2023, for supporting great collaboration between technicians, academics and students, leading a successful bid of £26,000 to implement waterless condensers in Chemistry teaching, leading to a reduction of up to 100,000 litres per year in water consumption. They have also taken up the Kimtech glove recycling scheme, with 50,000 Nitrile gloves recycled. 

The LEAF Pilot Group and Central Teaching Labs (CTL) team receiving the Sustainability on Campus Awards in 2022 and 2023

Nominate a colleague for a Sustainability Staff Award

Do you have an individual or team in mind, who has made a significant impact on sustainability at the University? If so, staff can nominate a colleague or team in the Sustainability on Campus and Sustainability in Research categories through the online nomination portal on TULIP. Through the portal you can save and manage all your nominations and submit them when you are ready. You can access the portal to make a nomination on TULIP here (log-in may be required).

Full descriptions of all awards are available on the Staff Awards webpage where there is also a link to make a nomination. Nominations close on Friday, 12 January.

The award winners will be presented with a certificate and a specially commissioned trophy at a ceremony in June. If you have further questions or queries, or require a hard copy nomination form, please e-mail: