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Student Dissertation Projects

King's Sustainability team welcomes ideas from undergraduate or postgraduate students who would like to work on any aspect of sustainability in Estates and Facilities as part of a research project.

There are a number of questions we are working on that may be an interesting research project. 

We can offer an initial discussion around the challenge we have, and can provide data where it is available or suggestions where to obtain it, then students would be expected to plan and deliver their project with support from their supervisor. 

Interested students can email Sustainability@kcl.ac.uk with any initial ideas, which could be from the list below or something completely different!

Current challenges:

1. INVESTIGATING FAIRTRADE, TRADE JUSTICE OR ETHICAL CONSUMPTION ISSUES

Students from any dicipline can help us understand how can we better integrate issues of Fairtrade, trade justice or ethical consumption into Estates operations?

This could involve working with our Procurement team to assess, rank and improve impact through the supply chain on issues such as clothing and uniforms, food, IT and electronics, construction supplies, working with social enterprises.

Other possible dissertation questions could include from the following or any other topics:

  • Food system reform or food inequality
  • Sustainability and procurement
  • Sustainable fashion industry
  • Modern slavery and supply chains
  • Communities and sustainability
  • Social justice and cities

2. MEASURING BIODIVERSITY- How can we use parts of, or combine, the Biodiversity Net Gain and the Urban Greening Factor measurement frameworks to measure progress on improving biodiversity on the King's estate achieved through delivering the Biodiversity Action Plan?

3. REDUCING PLASTICS - Help understand and quantify how much single-use plastic we use across King's to gather a baseline, and start to define what is essential single-use, and what could be substituted or replaced.

This would ideally involve assessing

  • where single-use disposable item are used,
  • how much,
  • why are they used,
  • how are they disposed,
  • what re-usable alternatives there could be,
  • how willing people are to substitute?

4. BEHAVIOUR CHANGE (moving from awareness to action) - How can reduce single-use plastics at King's? 

This would involve carrying out research to understand:

  • How willing are people to change their behaviour and adopt more environmentally-friendly options, such as switching to a re-fillable water bottle or reusable cup?
  • What communications and messaging is most effective?
  • Is there a difference between different groups of people?
  • What would encourage the change?
  • What are the barriers to people adopting change?
  • How would they feel about different approaches the University could take, e.g. banning single-use plastic bottles on campus, removing disposable takeaway boxes from catering, offering a 'cup-club' scheme?

5. CHANGING PERCEPTIONS OF TAP WATER - How can we encourage more people to drink tap water, and not be put off by taste or perception, but actually see it as healthy? What myths would we need to dispel? What differences are there between different groups?

6. SUSTAINABLE SUPPLY CHAIN & PROCUREMENT: - Support development of a King's policy statement on Palm Oil by researching and gathering data from our supply chain to understand and help prioritise actions for directly-purchased ingredients; packaged goods/confectionary; cleaning products and soaps; palm oil derivatives and other 'hidden' items.  

7. PROCUREMENT:- Help to categorise and review products available in our procurement catalogue to only offer the most sustainable option. 

8. REDUCING AND OFF-SETTING PAPER USE - What options are there for mitigating or off-setting the impact of paper used across King's? How much would it cost? What would the benefits be (social, environmental or financial)?

9. ZERO CARBON - How can we advance towards our commitment to be net Zero-Carbon by 2025? There are many factors that need to be considered in a roadmap to get us there - could involve research into initiatives and suitability for King's estate, or analysing data to forecast different scenarios, level of investment needed, and likely outcome. 

10. AIR QUALITY - Work with the Environmental Research Group to help develop messaging, communications and campaigns so that more people in London are aware of high-pollution routes, and what they can do to reduce personal exposure in their commute. 

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