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Staff Opportunities for Sustainability

Our Environmental Sustainability Policy includes our aim to: 

We deliver a wide range of engagement activities to support and encourage staff to learn more about sustainability challenges and solutions, and to support the sustainability agenda at Northumbria. Details of some opportunities are available below. 

Contact the Sustainability Manager to find out more. 

Sustainability Forums on Teams

Staff can keep up to date with Northumbria’s sustainability news and opportunities, and share their ideas and questions, on our dedicated Sustainability Teams group. Search ‘Sustainability’ to find the Group on teams (or contact the Sustainability Manager).

Sustainability Training & Inductions

Your induction to Northumbria includes completion of our ‘Sustainability at Northumbria University’ training module. This module is available to all staff and can be found on the staff E-Learning Gateway. Your local Goalkeepers team are also on hand to answer your sustainability questions – from sustainable travel options to what to put in which bin. There are a range of additional training courses which might be of interest depending on your role.
These include Spill Response, Environmental Management in Labs & Studios, as well as Climate Literacy. Details of opportunities can be found on Learning & Development intranet pages.

Sustainability Goalkeepers

Goalkeepers is our in-house staff engagement scheme which sees teams of staff in every Faculty and Service, develop and complete an action plan of projects in support of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Teams discuss their activities with our trained student volunteers as an annual review in order to achieve the bronze, Silver or Gold award.

Every year we see fantastic activities undertaken by our Sustainability Goalkeepers. Recent examples include:

Winter Wellness Week (SDG3) was introduced in which a range of activity took place including sessions delivered by Northumbria academics who are experts in the fields of nutrition and sleep, in addition to sessions on building resilience and back care, alongside guided mediation and yoga.

Supporting students' mental health and wellbeing (SDG3) University-wide training on mental health support, entitled ‘Supporting students' mental health and wellbeing’. Training workshops were offered throughout the year, offering support for staff on their role in helping students in distress.

Addressing Gender Equality (SDG5) - Implementation of the Institutional Athena Swan Action Plan. Implementation of enhanced family leave arrangements (sector leading provision).

Volunteer Research Assistant scheme (SDG8) a fair and transparent system was established to enable students to apply for volunteer research assistant roles, with appropriate support and acknowledgment of their contributions.

Zero print teaching (SDG12) – Assessment of the use of printed handouts in teaching, and plans developed to move to zero print teaching from September 2022 which would reduce waste. Identify steps that need to be taken to phase out printed teaching materials and implement them by September 2023.


If you are a Northumbria staff member and want to find out more or to become a Goalkeeper, visit our Goalkeeper staff intranet pages or contact the Sustainability Manager.

Sustainable Labs (LEAF)

Lab and Studio spaces can have a significant environmental impact. Developed by UCL, the LEAF programme sets out actions that lab users can take to save plastics, water, energy and other resources to reduce emissions, protect the environment and support research quality. Participating Teams receive Bronze, Silver or Gold level depending on the number of sustainability actions taken. We have a number of teams enrolled in the scheme. If you work in a laboratory or studio environment and would like to find out more, contact the Sustainability Manager.

Education and Research for Sustainability

Staff involved in research and teaching can make a significant, direct contribution to the UN Sustainable Development Goals through the impact of their research and the teaching they deliver. We are committed to maximising this contribution and have a range of people, groups and resources in place to support you with this. Visit our dedicated intranet pages to find out more or contact the Sustainability Manager.

Climate Change Think Tank (CCTT)

The Climate Change Think Tank brings together staff and students with sustainability interests to explore and address a diverse range of sustainability challenges. These might be specific to Northumbria and/or the local area or may be national or global topics. The group aims to help influence and develop policies that explore how we can be more sustainable and tackle climate change issues.

Throughout each academic year the group organise events and projects, including guest speakers, responding to consultations, research projects, and pressing sustainability challenges.

If you are interested in sustainability and climate change issues, this forum is the place for you! To join, please drop us an email. 

University Sustainability Management Group (USMG) and Sub-Groups

Chaired by Professor George Marston (Pro-Vice Chancellor, Research & Innovation), the USMG oversees the University’s strategic commitment to supporting the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals through our research, teaching, campus and operations. It oversees the Environmental Sustainability Policy (including the Carbon Management Plan) as well as the University’s Environmental Management System.

The USMG includes a staff representative from every Faculty and Service, as well as student representation through the Students’ Union. Staff and students are welcomed to input through the Sustainability Manager, their USMG representative and/or through their Goalkeeper team. Details of contacts can be found on the staff intranet pages.

The USMG is supported by a number of subgroups including Biodiversity Working Group, Carbon management Programme Board and a Sustainability Engagement Working Group. For more information, contact the Sustainability Manager.

Hedgehog Friendly Campus

Northumbria is a Hedgehog Friendly Campus and there are so many ways that you can get involved to help support our endangered, prickly friends! Volunteers could help run the social media account, undertake hedgehog surveys, support fundraising, attend litter picks… To find out more about Hedgehog Friendly Campus at Northumbria (and top tips for supporting hedgehogs) visit our Hedgehog Friendly Campus pages.

You can sign up to the Northumbria Hedgehog Friendly Campus mailing list here.



Are you a keen cyclist or just getting back on the saddle? Be sure to join our Bicycle User Group mailing list and to take advantage of our Cycle2Campus programme of activities. These include:

  • Regular free Dr Bike cycle maintenance checks at City and Coach Lane campus.
  • Free secure cycle parking on campus.
  • Access to shower facilities and lockers.
  • Training opportunities and events.
  • Our Cycle Scheme and local discounts enable you to save on the cost of a bike and accessories.


Find out more on our Cycle2Campus web pages.



In addition to the groups and programmes mentioned, we also have a busy schedule of events taking place throughout the year. These include an annual Sustainability Week, such as our recent Responsible Consumption Week, monthly litter picks, talks and seminars, reuse workshops, allotment sessions and more. To keep up to date with the latest events, join the Sustainability Teams group.


Got an idea?

If you have an idea, please contact the Sustainability Manager to discuss the support available. You might even be able to access support from the sustainability budget. Recent projects given funding support include:

  • Cameras for our volunteer-led hedgehog monitoring for Hedgehog Friendly Campus.
  • Materials for use in the student allotment area (Green Zone).
  • Artist reuse workshops Cooking classes with tips on how to reduce food waste.
  • Planting to support pollinators.

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