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Southampton labs lead the way in sustainability

Two laboratories at Southampton General Hospital have won awards for their sustainable practices.

The Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia (PCD) lab and Biomedical Imaging Unit (BIU) are joint University of Southampton and University Hospital Southampton facilities.

They have both received silver Laboratory Efficiency Assessment Framework (LEAF) awards.

LEAF aims to help labs become more environmentally friendly. Actions include learning how to save plastics, water, energy and other resources.

The University has also celebrated a third success this spring with the Harrowven group in the School of Chemistry. 

Cutting-edge research

PCD is a rare condition that leads to chronic lung, ear and sinus infections. The PCD lab supports diagnosis and enables vital research into the condition.

Professor Jane Lucas leads the national PCD service in Southampton. She is part of the NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre (BRC). Several BRC-funded PhD students also work in the lab.

The BIU, which also received a silver award, provides state-of-the-art facilities, research and diagnostic services in high resolution microscopy. It also provides non-invasive imaging of small to medium-sized animals for medical research.

Gemma Fryatt, who is a laboratory technician in the PCD diagnostic and research team, said:

“This is a fantastic achievement. It is brilliant to receive recognition for our teams’ hard work in addressing sustainability issues.

“The awards will motivate us as we work towards our gold LEAF submissions.”

Environmental impact of research

LEAF was developed by University College London.

The University of Southampton signed up to the framework in 2021. Since then, there have been four silver and 27 bronze awards. You can see the full list here

Peter Morgan, Technical Manager in the School of Geography and Environmental Science, played a lead role in encouraging labs to engage with LEAF. He said:  

“Laboratories are workplaces that often have a high carbon footprint due to the complex activities undertaken in them. Scientific equipment can use a lot of energy and a lot of waste can be produced. For example, many labs will use single-use plastics.

“Many people feel they want to help make the University more sustainable, but addressing issues in labs can be daunting. LEAF is a toolkit developed specifically to help those working in labs address sustainability issues in their workplaces.”  


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