In collaboration with Newcastle University and Cardiff University, BU has developed a new postgraduate researcher network, SPROUT PGR Sustainability Collective.

This network will bring together and support postgraduate researchers (PGRs), those pursuing a Master’s degree, and early career researchers (ECRs) who are interested in integrating sustainability into their research for greater impact. 

The network is a legacy of SustainaWHAT?!, a series of events held during 2023 that connected PGRs to the sustainability agenda and facilitated a cross-institution PGR network for ongoing support and research informed by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  

Here are some highlights from SustainaWHAT?! 2023: 

  • Our first event, ‘The Gathering’, was on campus at the three universities with hybrid connections so that we could share our experiences. We looked at the SDGs and considered how understanding sustainability could enhance research bids and PGR employability. Professor Adrian Newton and Professor Lee-Ann Fenge shared their thoughts about how sustainability awareness can enhance the quality of research bids. Matt Desmier took the PGR audience through ways in which an understanding of sustainability can make graduates more employable.
  • Our second event, ‘The Challenge’, saw multidisciplinary teams each with PGRs from the three universities working on a country-based sustainability challenge, presenting their ideas to a panel of judges, working on feedback to create and submit a final research proposal that addressed the brief. 
  • Our final event, ‘The Celebration’, announced the winning teams and shared evaluations of the event to inform our future plans. Reflecting on how SustainaWHAT?! had impacted their personal intentions, one participant commented: “I will be more environmentally friendly, study and speak with groups more about climate issues and the effects on society.”   

We would like to invite all BU postgraduate researchers, including those who were involved with SustainaWhat?! to join SPROUT PGR Sustainability Collective, your new space to discuss sustainability.  

“SPROUT PGR Sustainability Collective is an invaluable opportunity for PGRs to work together towards a sustainable future by bringing together like-minded researchers to connect, inspire and collaborate, to share their knowledge and experience with energy and passion, and to tackle the global challenges we face today. 

“I support the work that SPROUT PGR Sustainability Collective is doing to enhance your doctoral research, increase your employability and transform your knowledge of sustainability issues across all aspects of society.”

- Professor John Vinney, Vice-Chancellor 

The SPROUT PGR Sustainability Collective will launch in February 2024. We will be holding a programme of monthly online events which will:  

  • Provide opportunities to develop others’ understanding of sustainability 
  • Increase awareness of sustainability’s contribution to employability and funding opportunities
  • Provide collaborative opportunities for PGRs and ECRs to develop a range of competencies applicable to their own research and personal/professional contexts. 

“We are delighted to collaborate with other universities to offer this very important initiative. Enhancing our research environment and acknowledging and supporting the important role of PGRs in this culture is one of our key priorities.”

- Professor Sarah Bate, Interim Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research & Knowledge Exchange 

We’d love to welcome you to SPROUT PGR Sustainability Collective. If you are a Bournemouth University postgraduate researcher, please email [email protected]  to sign up to our next meeting.