As part of the University of Bristol’s Environmental Policy and Management Masters programme, students can choose to complete an independent research project, or alternatively can participate in the Dissertation Partnership Scheme. The Dissertation Partnership Scheme allows students to work on a project proposed by external clients, providing that opportunity to research a topic that could add real value to an organisation.

Lauren Jasper, a Environmental Policy and Management student, took part in the Dissertation Partnership Scheme. Lauren investigated a research question proposed by the Cabot Institute. The Cabot Institute is the University of Bristol’s first flagship cross-disciplinary research institute, and members of the institute take an active role in developing sustainability initiatives at the University of Bristol.

After taking on the proposal and discussing the scope of the project, a brief was agreed upon that was suitable for academic purposes, as well as beneficial to the client. Lauren’s dissertation focused on investigating how the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) could be used to assess universities sustainability, focusing on University of Bristol as a specific case study. Over the 6-month period, Lauren was able to utilise the connections provided through the Cabot Institute to help obtain a range of qualitative data in the form of interviews and documentation analysis, which were used to answer the key dissertation research questions.

The collaboration between organisation and student created positive outcomes for both, Lauren was able to gain specific knowledge in a topical issue and able to contribute to a project that had real value and impact to society. Whilst the dissertation results can be used to inform and guide the University of Bristol’s sustainability strategy on how to holistically assess sustainability using the SDGs. This in turn, will help the university to remain at the forefront of sustainability assessment and join other SDGs movements that are happening across the city of Bristol.

If you are a similar organisation who could benefit from working with students, or, a student looking to get involved please get in touch!