UCISA24 Awards Sustainable Digital Project or Initiative


Sustainable Digital Project or Initiative

The UCISA Award for Sustainable Digital Project or Initiative celebrates an innovative activity that not only provides exceptional value to the institution but demonstrates a positive environmental sustainability impact for the future.


Kings College London – Decarbonisation Grant Programme

The Decarbonisation Grant Programme is a pioneering initiative by King’s College London that sets a new benchmark in sustainable digital innovation in the education sector. This project encompassing multiple campuses demonstrates a profound commitment to environmental stewardship and digital transformation.

At the heart of DGP lies the ambitious goal of significantly reducing carbon emissions and operational costs through a series of strategic upgrades. The programme successfully integrated advanced technologies like the IQ Vision Building Management System, Smartcool energy-saving modules, and Intelirad Smart Radiators. This not only enhanced the efficiency and sustainability of campus facilities but also markedly improved the working and learning environments for staff and students.

A key highlight of DGP is its collaborative spirit, between various KCL directorates and the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme launched by the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) that provided £1,714,488 in external funding. The project's robust governance structure and stakeholder engagement model have been instrumental in its success, fostering positive changes in attitudes towards sustainable practices.

DGP stands as a testament to resilience and adaptability, overcoming challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic and technical complexities, and still achieving its objectives within deadlines. This resilience underpins the project's sustainability and scalability, making it an inspiring model for similar initiatives within and beyond the academic sphere.

KCL's Decarbonisation Grant Programme is not just a project; it's a beacon of sustainable digital innovation, exemplifying how technology and collaborative efforts can create a more sustainable future in education and research.

Teesside University – Digital Campus Workstream

From concept to a campus in less than 12 months, Teesside University London is an ambitious achievement, establishing a new campus on the former Olympic Park in London.

"Teesside University London focusses on courses that help you work with impact and innovation within a sustainable global digital economy. We support you to be employable and to employ, to be future-focused and ready for now. To collaborate and to challenge thinking. We believe that you need to learn about innovation in an innovative way." (https://www.tees.ac.uk/london/)

With an initial focus on digital technologies and enterprise, Teesside University London capitalises on the University’s strengths in animation and games design and directly links the thriving digital cluster of Middlesbrough, with existing partners based in London.

An innovative academic delivery model with 6 block intakes throughout the year, each with compressed timetabling to reduce travel and enable students to balance study around other commitments, called for innovative digital solutions to enable new student experiences, Learning and Teaching and support services activity.

Building on the strong foundations of the Future Facing Learning programme and the Education 4.0 initiatives led by Professor Mark Simpson and taking into account known challenge areas and opportunities evident from Middlesbrough digital facilities, we were keen to explore how we could provide students with specialist computing resources in a sustainable, scalable and more effective way.

University of Southampton - Putting “planet” in the seat of lean thinkers

The University of Southampton IT Departments’ Continuous Improvement Team are bringing together the philosophies of Continuous improvement and the ambitions of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Classic Lean defines the value of a product or service from the perspective of the Customer; looking to strip out waste and rework, to deliver an efficient service tailored to the needs of the Customer.

The Lean & Sustainability program delivers workshops across the University asking members of staff to look at their services through the lens of Sustainability, using lean tools and techniques, but defining value from the needs of the planet.

Raising awareness of models like donut economics, circular economies and waste hierarchies the program challenges teams and individuals to better understand the sustainability impact of their service, to reduce reuse recycle, to source locally, swap internally etc.

The program is accredited by the Lean Competency System (LCS) and after initial capability and awareness building workshop, trainees are coached to deliver a Lean & Sustainability project in their area of the University.

University of Stirling - SIEC Data Centre

The University of Stirling's Information Services teams, in a ground breaking collaboration with Phoenix Software utilising Microsoft Azure, led the drive to implement an Advanced Data Centre at the heart of Scotland’s International Environment Centre (SIEC).This cutting-edge facility, procured and managed within strict criteria, marks a significant milestone in academic, professional services and industrial partnerships.

Scotland’s International Environment Centre (SIEC) is a pioneering collaboration led by University of Stirling that will create an ‘innovation community’ in the Forth Valley, driving the creation of a net zero regional economy and acting as a global exemplar of low-carbon growth.

Through innovation and partnership, the Environment Centre will deliver transformational change in sustainable business practice, positioning the protection and enhancement of our natural resources as an enabler of economic prosperity, wellbeing, and a just transition to a net zero future.

Established as part of the Stirling and Clackmannanshire City Region Deal, the Environment Centre is funded through an investment of £17m from the Scottish Government and £5m from the UK Government, with additional funding leveraged through private and match-funded investment. The investment builds on the University of Stirling’s global reputation for environmental science, and the Forth Valley’s established status as a hub for environmental and conservation activity in Scotland.

This project, a hallmark of collaborative expertise and technological advancement, deserves recognition for its outstanding contribution to the field of environmental data management and academic-industry collaboration.

University of York – Transforming IT for a sustainable future

The University of York has an ambitious vision for sustainability across the organisation, working towards carbon neutrality by 2030. We know IT Services can play an important part in making this vision a reality. From our sector leading approach to tackling emissions created by high performance computing, relocating our own HPC service to a sustainability centre in Sweden, to resizing the print fleet and optimising energy usage in data centres, our proactive approach to enhancing sustainability and across the department has contributed to significant carbon savings for the University.

Balancing the need to provide innovative and robust IT services to our university community with meeting sustainability goals requires transformation and positive change. Often IT can be perceived as a major obstacle in embedding sustainability across higher education organisations. The rapid pace of change, e-waste, energy consumption associated with data centres, and infrastructure all pose environmental concerns. However, rather than being an obstacle to the University of York achieving its ambition of reaching net zero by 2030, we believe IT Services can play a pivotal role in making this ambition a reality.  To do this, we have made a number of University-wide, impactful changes within IT Services as well as worked to demonstrate how being sustainable can also serve to enhance research and teaching across the University.  We seek to introduce efficiencies, change attitudes and behaviours and share what we have learnt with the sector to achieve lasting change. 


And the winner was......

University of York for their Transforming IT for a Sustainable Future Project

5 people on stage