Email transition@st-andrews.ac.uk for a full project description. We will post projects as they become available so please check back regularly.

COULD GRAZING OFFER BETTER ‘LAWNSCAPE’ MANAGEMENT?

Project Main Purpose: To explore different, more sustainable management techniques (mulching, grazing) to substitute mowing. Ideally this will inform the land management practices of the University or Pittharthie Farm in Fife. This can be literature-based (summary of evidence on different management practices) or involve data collection (set up and monitor impacts of different techniques at Pittharthie farm).
Preferred Disciplines: Biology, sustainable development, human and physical geography, management, history.
Project Length: Flexible – masters or undergraduate dissertation possible.

PUBLIC BIKE SCHEMES: SHIFTING THE MODE OF TRANSPORT?

Project Main Purpose: To explore the impact of the St Andrews Bike Pool or public cycling schemes more broadly; ideally considering to what extent has this scheme reduced car (or taxi) journeys. This can be literature-based or involve primary data collection.
Preferred Disciplines: Sustainable Development, management, geography, computer science, biology (mark and recapture method, survey technique).
Project Length: Flexible – masters or undergraduate dissertation possible.

FROM COMMUNITY GARDEN TO HALL CATERING: HOW DO WE GET LOCAL FOOD INTO HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS?

Project Main Purpose: To explore how to get locally grown food into the University’s catering, this is a project which has been of interest to Residential Business Services, the Environment Team, and Procurement for several years. However, there are legislative and practical challenges to overcome.
Preferred Disciplines: Sustainable Development, management, geography, biology.
Project Length: Flexible – ideally an undergraduate dissertation, possibility to be literature based for a Masters project.

EXPLORING THE DRIVE TO DE-CARBONISE TRANSPORT: A STUDY ON SCOTLAND’S FIRST ALL ELECTRIC CAR CLUB

Project Main Purpose: Electric cars are an important research topic considering Scotland’s ambitious decarbonisation targets and St Andrews presents an unique opportunity for investigation because it is home to Scotland’s first (and only) all-electric car club. The Transition team is most interested in exploring the carbon implications of using these cars – for example, compared to normal petrol/diesel car use, or considering that other car rentals like Enterprise require the car to be dropped off in St Andrews from Cupar. This would make a useful contribution to demonstrate the impact of the Ecar club and for wider reporting on community engagement and climate change for the University. There are many other potential projects that Transition would support, especially monitoring of users experience to potentially inform marketing of Ecar in St Andrews.

Preferred Disciplines: Sustainable development, management, geography, computer science
Project Length: Flexible – ideally an undergraduate dissertation, possibility to be literature based for a Masters project.

BIOMASS DISTRICT HEATING: CREATING A LOCAL AND SUSTAINABLE SUPPLY CHAIN

Project Main Purpose:To support and inform the development of a local biomass supply chain for the University of St Andrews, there are many potential avenues for investigation. The Guardbridge Energy Centre is central to the University of St Andrews’ strategic drive to become the UK’s first energy carbon neutral university. In order to complete the project, the student will

  • Review biomass and district heating literature
  • Interviews with local stakeholders, especially farmers and potential suppliers in Fife
  • Research on biomass projects at other institutions

Preferred Disciplines: Biology, sustainable development, human and physical geography, management, history.

Project Length: Flexible – ideally an undergraduate dissertation, possibility to be literature based for a Masters project.

YOUR FOOD ISN’T RUBBISH: CLOSING THE LOOP ON CATERING LEFTOVERS

Project Main Purpose: To explore ways to reduce food waste at catered events in Schools and across the University, for instance at conferences, workshops and training events. The Environment Team has been working on reducing food waste in catered halls of residence and from catering more widely. They are currently trialling and monitoring the use of ‘Good to Go’ boxes that will be provided at every catered event so that attendees can take away left overs. Furthermore they are developing a regular tool for students to pre-order meals in halls in order to better match supply and demand of menu options. Nonetheless this is a big area that the University of St Andrews could improve and that can inform general scholarship on zero waste and sustainability.
Preferred Disciplines: Sustainable Development, management, geography, biology, computer science.
Project Length: Flexible – ideally an undergraduate dissertation, possibility to be literature based for a Masters project.

BIODIVERSITY BASELINE FOR THE UNIVERSITY OF ST ANDREWS

Project Main Purpose: To ultimately lead the University of St Andrews to have a Biodiversity Policy and Plan, this could involve surveying biodiversity on campus or reviewing what other FHE institutions are doing and reflecting on the process of embedding this agenda into an organisation.
Preferred Disciplines: Biology, sustainable development, management, geography (GIS mapping), biology, computer science.
Project Length: Flexible – ideally an undergraduate dissertation, possibility to be literature based for a Masters project.

WHY WE AREN’T ORGANIC: PITTARTHIE FARMS’ TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS

Project Main Purpose: To explore the complexity of trying to run a sustainable farm, help them monitor their biodiversity as they continuously trial new land management techniques and learn about the myriad decisions in agriculture and forestry: challenge or come to appreciate why they’ve decided it’s not all about being organic.

Preferred Disciplines: Biology, sustainable development, management, geography.
Project Length: Flexible depending on the focus of the project- can be literature based or involve fieldwork at Pittarthie farm.

LOCAL FLOUR IN FIFE? SCOTLAND’S SMALLEST MILL

Project Main Purpose: What do you know about your everyday flour? Get a hands on experience of the practical challenges of getting local food into the community, research would be most helpful on the differences between conventional and micro-milled flour or the marketing and business management of this product.

Preferred Disciplines: Sustainable development, management, geography, environmental economics.
Project Length: Flexible depending on the focus of the project – can be literature based or involve fieldwork with the owners of Pittarthie farm.

HEDGE MANAGEMENT: COMPARING PROS AND CONS OF DIFFERENT TECHNIQUES

Project Main Purpose: Get an opportunity to inform the hedgerow management of one of our local farms. They would like advice on the benefits of different techniques.

Preferred Disciplines: Biology, sustainable development, management, geography.
Project Length: Recommended as a literature review.

EQUALITREE: EXPLORING ISSUES OF GENDER EQUALITY IN THE FORESTRY INDUSTRY

Project Main Purpose: Study a programme aimed at empowering women of all ages through practical training to compete on equal terms in generally male-dominated industries such as forestry.

Preferred Disciplines: Sustainable development, management, geography.
Project Length: Flexible depending on the focus of the project – can be literature based or involve fieldwork with the owners of Pittarthie farm.

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DIDN’T SEE A PROJECT FOR YOU?

If you have an idea or topic that you would like to explore please feel free to get in touch with the Living Labs Programme Coordinator at transition@st-andrews.ac.uk.

Project outcomes can include:

  • analysis ahead of hiring a consultant
  • quantitative or qualitative primary research
  • evaluations of existing projects
  • business plan development or communication plan development
  • procurement evaluations
  • testing of new ideas or technologies
  • behaviour change research