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EPSRC CDT in Sensor Technologies for a Healthy and Sustainable Future

 

On the 6th of June 2022, the Sensors CDT held a responsible research practice workshop for the first time for their current MRes cohort. The aim of the workshop was to raise awarneness about the carbon footprint of research and to provide students early on with useful advice on how to reduce the environmental impact of their scientific endeavours before starting their PhD. 

The workshop was led by Sensor CDT Program Manager Dr. Adriana Wolf Perez. In the first part of the workshop, Adriana focused on green issues in wet labs. Topics included, for example:

  • What can I do to reduce waste from experiments?
  • Is recycling of plastics really the solution?
  • Green Chemistry- what is that? 
  • What are the most energy-consuming lab machines and how can I save electricity?
  • Cold storage- a hot topic?
  • Invisible water consumption in labs and what can you do?
  • Sustainable conferences- should I go or should I stay?

In the second part, guest speaker Loïc Lannelongue pointed out the carbon footprint of IT use and computational research. Computation generates massive amounts of carbon emissions and Loïc developed a tool to quantify carbon emissions related to computation (www.green-algorithms.org). He explained how data centres work and gave insights into how much energy computation uses. This seems to be highly dependent on your geographical location and the location of data centres in the world. He further gave advice about sustainable computational practices. Even data storage needs energy, which made many students rethink their habits. 

The Sensors CDT, which is committed to sustainability, will be organizing this workshop again next year and it will be open to interested PhD students.