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Space Park Leicester joins programme for international sustainable laboratories

Scientists at Space Park Leicester have joined an international programme which recognises sustainable laboratories that have created environments which support research quality.

The team from the National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO), which has its headquarters at the world-leading research centre in Leicester, has joined the Laboratory Efficiency Assessment Framework (LEAF) for laboratory accreditation.

LEAF is an internationally recognised standard set by University College London (UCL) to reduce the carbon impact of laboratories and promote sustainable laboratory practices through the reduction of waste, energy and water usage.

It will be implemented in seven laboratories at Space Park Leicester which carry out NCEO and Earth Observation Science (EOS) and is the first introduction of a sustainable laboratory framework at the University of Leicester.

LEAF’s implementation in Leicester has been led by NCEO’s Environmental Sustainability Coordinator Eleanor Morton in collaboration with the Space Park Leicester team and the University of Leicester EOS department.

Eleanor Morton inside the Atmospheric Science Laboratory at Space Park Leicester

Eleanor said: “Laboratories are an important part of NCEO’s scientific output.

“By implementing the LEAF programme at our headquarters, we can reduce our environmental impact from research whilst also better quantifying our research carbon footprint.”

Space Park Leicester’s Dr. Joshua Vande Hey, Associate Professor in Environment and Health in the Centre for Environmental Health and Sustainability and Acting Head of Earth Observation Science Research Group in the School of Physics and Astronomy, added: “Scientific research is key to humanity’s efforts to advance society but it consumes considerable energy and resources and generates considerable waste – in fact it’s estimated that life science labs alone are responsible for around 2% of global plastic waste.”

“Research, technical and support staff at Space Park Leicester are all working hard to address this issue and we’re delighted that laboratories here have joined LEAF.”

“We want to acknowledge the excellent leadership and substantial effort of Eleanor Morton in spearheading this initiative at Space Park Leicester as well as the strong backing she received from NCEO, key lab leaders, and the Space Park operations team, and we hope that more laboratories at the university will get involved in the programme soon.”

NCEO provides the UK’s Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) with national capability in Earth observation science – monitoring the health of our planet through satellite instruments and with world-class capability in interpreting these data. To learn more about NCEO, visit: