Sustainable UCL


UCL’s 2020 Sustainability Award Winners Unveiled

16 July 2020

Zero waste initiatives, pledges for the planet, walking to the moon and the declaration of a climate and ecological emergency; UCL’s Sustainability Awards hallmark the achievements of our sustainable community.

Image of Awards Bakground

In collaboration with the Office of the Vice-Provost (Research), Sustainable UCL hosted our eighth annual Sustainability Awards Ceremony this Wednesday, celebrating the inspiring work of staff and students undertaking teaching, research and projects to create a sustainable future.


Celebrating UCL's Sustainability Champions

Virtually hosted and keeping in the spirit of UCL’s Remote not Distant campaign, Sustainable UCL sought to inspire the celebratory atmosphere much anticipated by champions at previous awards. With green clothed attendees, even greener cocktails and themed backdrops to provide some Ceremony-flair, the event brought together our sustainable community.

This year’s Ceremony welcomed a record number of nominees and award winners, with 49 nominations for the Awards celebrating UCL’s outstanding sustainability champions, and 87 teams participating in Green Impact and LEAF, UCL’s sustainability behaviour change programmes.

We were honoured to host Farhana Yamin, International Environmental Lawyer, Founder and CEO of Track 0 and Coordinator of Camden Think & Do. Farhana also played a crucial role in the 2019 Extinction Rebellion protests, gluing herself to the Shell offices in London, alongside other activists. She inspired us all with her story of community-led change.

We were also joined by Sasha Roseneil, Dean of Social and Historical Sciences at UCL, who spoke of the strength of Faculty-wide collaboration. She shared with us the necessity of small and big actions within the Faculty and the crucial role that Green Champions play in this.

Richard Jackson, UCL’s Director of Sustainability, and Geraint Rees, Chair of UCL’s Environmental Sustainability Steering Group, opened and closed the Ceremony. Whilst celebrating our remarkable champions, they also highlighted the importance of a Green Recovery for UCL in the context of COVID-19.

Geraint spoke of how incredible the year had been for sustainability and thanked the community for their dedication, innovation and tireless commitment to raising awareness and delivering change despite adapting to the new challenges of the pandemic:

I’m incredibly proud to be part of a community that has such amazing individuals in it. The pandemic has been and continues to be a huge challenge for our University, for our family and friends, for our society. But it's unquestionably brought to the fore the pressing need that we must act on the complex challenges that face our planet. We have an important window opening. One in which we can not only look forward to recovery, but we can create the conditions for a sustainable and a green recovery for UCL and our broader community. Small actions add up, and together we are more than the sum of our individual actions. None of this would be possible without you, and none of it will be possible in the year ahead without you.

Watch the Ceremony here. 

The 2020 Winners of the Sustainability Awards:

Staff Award for Outstanding Commitment to Sustainability:

Profile photo of Josua Bailey
This year’s winner of the Staff Award for Outstanding Commitment to Sustainability is Dr. Joshua Bailey!

Josh co-founded PPL PWR in 2015 as a PhD student at UCL. Through this, he promotes and inspires sustainable innovation and lifestyles. He is active in strengthening links between UCL and PPL PWR as well as with the wider public.

In addition, he is a member of the UCL Chemical Engineering Sustainability Committee which aims to address issues regarding energy conservation and waste reduction within the department. Josh is a truly inspiring individual and a key driver for change within UCL and in the wider community.


Student Award for Outstanding Commitment to Sustainability:

Profile photo of Mae Faugere
For her tireless dedication to embedding sustainable thinking at the core of the Students’ Union UCL, Maë Faugere, Student Sustainability Officer, wins the Student Award for Outstanding Commitment to Sustainability. She has raised students’ awareness and voices to implement real, student-led change towards the climate crisis, at UCL and beyond.

Mae organised Students’ Union UCL support for the Fridays for Future movement, launched the UK’s first Student Sustainability Council to co-create an official UCLU sustainability strategy. On top of that, she leads a team of 15 sustainability ambassadors and co-founded The Environmental Collective, a platform to facilitate collective action between students, staff, and all societies across campus.


Sustainability Research Award:

Profile photo of Oriana Landa Cansigno
Oriana Landa Cansigno received the Sustainability Research Award for her research which positively contributes to the environment as well as society.

Oriana’s PhD thesis investigated the sustainable performance of water reuse strategies in an urban water system in a region of Mexico facing water stress. Over four years she worked closely with three water utility companies to develop a novel integrated assessment framework to highlight the benefits of water reuse.

The findings provided evidence to create effective water management and urban planning policies. Whilst communicating this with both water utility plant and local stakeholders, Oriana raised further awareness by sharing her research with the local community through newspaper communications, making her research accessible to all.


Sustainability Impact Award:

Two photos of the Zero Food Waste Project Leads
The Sustainability Impact winners this year are no strangers to this award, having won it in 2018, when they had just started Zero Food Waste UCL. Since they launched that year, they have achieved long-term positive outcomes for UCL, making them worthy winners once again.

Zero Food Waste UCL (ZFW) is a student-run volunteering initiative with the primary aim of reducing food waste on campus. The group collects unsold food items from UCL cafes after closing and redistributes them to homeless shelters near campus. ZFW also works to raise awareness of food waste and to tackle global food insecurity.

They have saved over 700 food items from campus and since then, UCL cafes have considerably reduced the amount of food they order. This is evident as the number of items needing to be saved has markedly decreased over the past three years, to about a third of the initial amount.

Sustainability Education Award:

Profile photo of Catalina Turcu
Our Education Award winner, Dr Catalina Turcu, has a long history of making sustainability central to UCL education and demonstrating that sustainability is crucial to students’ future careers across a wide range of sectors and industries.

Dr Catalina Turcu designed the Bartlett School of Planning’s Sustainability Specialism programme which introduces sustainability concepts into postgraduate education and provides students with a window into how sustainability can be ‘applied’ to the context of the built environment. Through a city partnering scheme students are exposed to complex and real-life sustainability challenges of  large-scale sites to develop long-term (15-20yrs) Sustainable Urban Plans.

Catalina’s dedication to engaging students in sustainability via her programme did not only improve students’ learning experience, but also allowed them to extend their professional networks and explore future career opportunities.


Project Awards


Innovation and Enterprise received Silver Awards for both their projects:

  • Ditch the Disposable tackled single-use-plastics at events and in catering, saving over 1000 single-use-plastic items in just one year!
  • Food Habits encouraged behaviour change around food choices both in work and at home, particularly around the consumption of animal products. Their success was due to a truly collaborative approach within the department and with UCL’s caterers. 

Division of Psychiatry delivered a Pledge for the Planet project which encouraged environmental behaviour changes for staff and students, widening their departments’ carbon accountability to apply to everyday choices.

Bartlett School of Environment, Energy & Resources received a Silver Award for their Steptember challenge which promoted physical health, wellbeing, community-building and carbon reduction. 


Finance & Business Affairs delivered an exceptional Reduce Your Use project with high quality materials to raise awareness and knowledge within the department to create behaviour change around waste. 

Division of Surgery have incorporated a comprehensive and holistic sustainability strategy into their departmental policy, providing the university with a great example of how departments can identify their sustainability impacts and work towards solutions. 

Mullard Space Science Laboratory received a Gold Project Award for their Biodiversity project which has enhanced the natural environment on site and raised awareness through research on the necessity of encouraging biodiversity. 

Electronic & Electrical Engineering collaborated with student volunteers to deliver three exceptionally high standard educational videos for students and staff on how to recycle and the importance of doing so. 

Bartlett School of Architecture declared a Climate & Ecological Emergency in 2019 setting out to transform architectural education to provide students with the solutions for the future of our built environments. 

Office of the Vice-provost (Advancement) submitted 5 projects this year and receive Gold for their collective contribution to reducing waste, supporting global and local charity initiatives and for their incredible Walk the World campaign which has clocked nearly 30 million steps! 

Psychology & Language Sciences – PALS have submitted an incredible 20 projects this year! Their far-reaching commitment to sustainability tackled food waste and researched behaviour change around environmental habits. They have encouraged walking and well-being and their ambitious MoonWalk has counted over 100 million steps taking them a quarter of the way to the moon! They investigated sustainability in labs and have raised environmental awareness, continuously supporting the work of Sustainable UCL, sharing their wisdom with other departments, and widening their positive impact across the university.  

Green Impact Office Awards


1. grEEn from Electronic and Electrical Engineering,

2. Anatomy Lab Green Team,

3. Epidemiology and Public Health, 

4.  The School of Slavonic and East European Studies Library,

5. The Medical School.


1. Department of Information Studies,

2. Arts and Sciences BASc, 

3.Centre for Biodiversity and Environment Research,

4. Queen Square Institute of Neurology Admin team,

5. IOE Library,

6. Main Library,

7. Ophthalmology Library,

8. Science Team Library, 

9. Senate House Hub,

10. Wickford Zero Waste.


1. Cortexlab,

2. Green Onions from the Bartlett School of Construction and Project Management, 

3.  Bartlett School of Environment, Energy and Resources,

4. Mathematics,

5. Student and Registry Services, 

6.  Action on Hearing Loss and Ear Institute Library,

7.Bartlett Library,

8. Central Library Services,

9. Cruciform Hub,

10. OVPA – Office of the Vice-Provost (Advancement), 

11. Dementia Research Centre,

12. Green Counts from Finance and Business Affairs,

13. Green Surgery from the Division of Surgery,

14. Institute of Child Health Library, 

15.  Institute of Archaeology Library, 

16. Institute of Clinical Trials and Methodology,

17. Institute of Ophthalmology,

18. Legion of Eunomia from Greek and Latin,

19. Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology Greeners,

20. PALS – Psychology and Language Sciences,

21. Planning Team,

22. Queen Square Library,

23. Royal Free Medical Library,

24. Careers Green Team,

25. UCL Consultants,

26. School of Pharmacy Library,

27. Innovation & Enterprise,

28. Institute of Orthopaedics Library,

29. Language and Speech Science Library,

30. Mullard Space Science Laboratory,

31. UCL Nursery.

LEAF Awards for Sustainable Laboratories:


1. Clinical Neurosciences,

2. Nethwani Lab,

3. Timms Lab,

4. Darwin Floor 2,

5. Duchen Szabadkai Team,

6. UCL Respiratory,

7. Batterham Lab,

8. Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging,

9. Thermal Analysis Laboratory,

10. Institute of Child Health Lab Management Team,

11. Institute of Neurology, Neuroinflammation, 1WS,

12. Institute of Neurology, Bates Lab, 

13. Institute of Healthy Aging Fly Lab,

14. Institute of Neurology, Clinical & Experimental Epilepsy (DCEE),

15. Institute of Neurology, Brain Repair & Rehabilitation

16. Institute of Neurology, Dementia Research Institute Cruciform.


1. Centre for Clinical Microbiology,

2. Institute of Neurology, DND and NMD, level 4 QSH,

3. WHO Pneumococcal Serology Reference Laboratory,

4. Fish Floor - Anatomy,

5. The Dolphin Lab,

6. Pathology Green Team

7. Institute of Immunity and Transplant Green Warriors,

8. Centre for Advanced Biomedical Imaging (CABI),

9. Great Ormond Street, Institute of Child Health Crompton Lab,

10. Payne Lab,

11. Mansour Lab.


1. LMCB Greeners (Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology), 

2. Cruciform 3.4,

3. PALS – Psychology and Language Sciences,

4. Division of Surgery,

5. CEGE Green Labs Group (Civil, Environmental & Geomatic Engineering),

6. Biochemical Engineering: ACBE,

7. School of Pharmacy Teaching Laboratories,

8. Kurian Group,

9. Institute of Ophthalmology,

10. Institute of Archaeology,

11. Institute of Neurology, HPF lab,

12. Institute of Neurology, NMD level 2 & 5 QSH,

13. Gordon House and Here East,

14. Cortex labs.