Previous award winners

Previous Award Winners

The Sustainability Award was launched in 2015 and since then the following students have received the Award.

Winter 2018 joint winners: Zoe Williams, BSc (Hons) Nursing (School of Health Sciences) and Hannah Hansell, MA Sustainable Design (School of Art).

Zoe’s dissertation was a systematic literature review which identified themes of glove miss use in health care settings, and the potential to change and reduce this, reducing waste and plastic use which could have significant cost and waste savings.

Zoe said: “There is so much waste in the NHS but people tend to think about food, medication and other equipment and don’t consider gloves. I have been able to highlight how not only are we potentially harming our patients through cross contamination and infections, but we are severely misusing and overusing gloves, spending a huge amount of £57 million a year on them alone. 

It is common knowledge that we need to stop exploiting our resources to reduce environmental impact, but by overusing gloves we are producing and throwing away more than necessary. The money spent on producing, buying and disposing gloves and the cost of treating patients for healthcare associated infections which prolongs their stay, means we are investing less time, resources and bed spaces to areas that need it and to patients who need it.

I’m so happy that my dissertation has been able to get the recognition it needs so other nurses and healthcare workers can become aware of how such a simple thing like gloves can make such a big difference to our patients, the environment and the NHS.”

Hannah’s research explored how the role of design could change the textile and apparel industry, if synthetic biology was established as a new technology and production method.

Hannah said: “Winning one of the Environmental awards for my MA practice-based research at Brighton University is a real honour. Textile products are ranked fourth most damaging for environmental impact (EU Retail Forum for Sustainability, 2013). There is an urgent need to find sustainable means to provide for our textile needs. Synthetic biology could offer sustainable solutions, new materials and circular models, to tackle key industry issues. But design research into the wider social, cultural and ethical impacts remain under explored. This research was the start of a journey to understand and communicate its potential and impacts.”

Summer 2017 joint winners: Hannah Parker, BSc Biology (School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences) and Elliot Batty, MEng Civil with Environmental Engineering  (School of Environment and Technology). 

Hannah and Elliot were joint winners for the 2017 Summer Award and both students received a £200 cash prize, as well as their certificates at their graduation ceremonies on 25 and 26 July 2017.

Hannah’s final year project addressed microplastic pollution in the ocean, by studying two marine organisms, the blue mussel and velvet swimming crab, to observe was microplastics are passed on in the food chain.

Hannah said ‘I am so thrilled to be chosen for the environmental award for my dissertation, which addresses microplastic pollution in the ocean; an area of increasing environmental concern.

Research is so important for advancing our understanding of the effects of anthropogenic pollution and development of countermeasures that could potentially hinder environmental degradation. I want to be involved in environmental biology research and this award has encouraged me to continue working hard to be a part of it.”

Elliot’s final year project, ’an investigation into the design of large woody debris dams and their effect on channel flow’, focussed on how, with increasing in global temperatures and unpredictable weather, implementing different large woody debris dams could reduce flooding.

Elliot said “I chose to study at Brighton as it offered a combination of civil with environmental engineering, so my focus at university has always had this emphasis. This award therefore has a particularly special meaning as I have poured 4 years of my life into creating a career in sustainable engineering.

I have always had particular interests in climate change which drove my final year project on large woody debris dams. The laboratory experiments took 1 month of constant making and testing of the dams, so to be recognised for this hard work is a great honour!”

Winter 2017 Winner: Ruth Buckley-Salmon, MSc Social Marketing (Brighton Business School) and Silvana Juri, MA Sustainable Design (School of Architecture and Design)

Ruth and Silvana were joint winners for the 2017 Winter Award.  The students both received a £200 cash prize, as well as their certificate at the Graduation Ceremony on Thursday 09 February 2017.

Ruth’s dissertation focussed on how a social marketing approach to behaviour change could help reduce meat consumption and its associated contributions to climate change.

Ruth said, “I’m over the moon to win this award as sustainability is so important to me. I became interested in anthropogenic climate change a few years ago, especially in how meat consumption reduction, not cessation, could help reduce greenhouse gas emissions – especially in light of the impending climate targets.

Several studies have shown that meaningful global reductions in meat consumption could reduce emissions from agriculture 55-72%. My  research looked to move away from negative messaging and instead market the idea based on people’s motivations and needs, who conveys the message and what the barriers to change are, using social marketing and values to ‘sell’ the change”.

Silvana’s major project focussed on the contribution of food production to climate change. By focussing on the adoption of sustainable food habits through behaviour change, Silvana used a pudding recipe to foster discussions and facilitate healthier, more sustainable food habits.

Silvana said, “I am delighted for this recognition which motivates me even further to continue helping people connect with our current challenges at a personal level. By starting conversations and changing our food habits, we could tackle a wide array of environmental and social problems like malnutrition, food security and climate change.

Design offers a lot of potential by offering innovative and enjoyable ways of reconfiguring our food cultures by touching emotional, cultural and sensorial aspects in flexible, creative and socioculturally-appropriate ways.”


James Dunn, MSc User Experience Design (School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematics), also received a Highly Commended award for his project, developing a prototype smartphone app to provide motorists with real-time vehicle data to encourage economical and sustainable driving behaviour.


Summer 2016 Winner: Abbey Frasi, BEng (Hons) Civil Engineering, School of Environment and Technology

Abbey’s final year project entitled ‘The Tensile Flexural Strength and Compressive Strength Of Recreated Roman Concrete’ was chosen as the winner by the award panel.  Abbey’s research showed that using recreated roman concrete could reduce C02 emissions from the construction industry by up to 40%, which could have a dramatic global impact in the battle against climate change. The panel were extremely impressed with the practical potential of the research, which they felt pushed the boundaries of the study field.

Abbey said: I feel honoured to be awarded the Award for my research topic.  Changes to the built environment will be the forefront in helping combat the rise in the global C02 emissions.  It is so important to consider sustainable alternatives within the construction industry.

As my research has shown, there is huge potential within the strength of recreated Roman concrete, which can help reduce concrete’s C02 by up to 40%.  Climate change is paramount, and was the leading factor to begin this research and hopefully work towards a greener future.”

Three students also received Highly Commended awards:

  • Lois Cook, BSc Chemistry (School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences), for her project on the development of a galvanic pH change system for autonomous electrochemical sensors used to determine trace metals in seawater;
  • Sara Faulkner, BEng Aeronautical Engineering (School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematics), for her final year project on the location of the most efficient solar cell on the foresail of a cruising 34ft yacht;
  • Claudia Hartley, BA Textiles with Business Studies (School of Art Design and Media) for her dissertation exploring the potential of wool as a sustainable fibre.


Winter 2016 Winner: Holly Budge, MA Sustainable Design, School of Art Design and Media

At the Winter Graduation ceremony in February 2016, a campaign to combat elephant poaching and the ivory trade won the university’s first Environmental Award.

Her ’96 Elephants A Day’ campaign – 96 being the current daily poaching rate in Africa – calls on people to sign a petition to end the ivory trade and highlights the devastating impact of the trade. Holly uses vegetable ivory, a sustainable palm nut from the Amazon Rainforest, to make alternative jewellery and to raise awareness of this crisis. The campaign will be showcased in Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong later in 2016.

Holly said: “I am delighted to win the Environmental Sustainability Award. Part of the originality of my campaign is in avoiding gruesome and shocking imagery to portray the facts. It is not about scaring people, it’s about sharing the enormity of the elephant poaching crisis. It’s about presenting the facts to raise awareness and make a positive change. This award plays an important role in helping my campaign to reach out to a bigger audience. The African elephant is facing the greatest crisis in decades. Now is the time to take action!”

Three students also received Highly Commended Awards:

  • Benjamin Miles, BA Hons Business Management (Brighton Business School), for his project on the exploration of 3-D printing as a viable long-term green technology for the manufacturing industry.
  • Jim Wilson, MA Sustainable Design (School of Art Design and Media) for his exhibition to investigate whether the University can embrace a more sustainable policy when developing its estate.
  • Sarah Wagstaff, MSc Geographical Information Systems and Environmental Management (School of Environment and Technology) for her project on the use of GIS to monitor air quality.