Jump to content

Live Chat: An Environmentally Friendly Model for Life Sciences 2/10/21 @ 1 p.m. EST


Andrew Chen

Recommended Posts

Join speakers from the 2020 FENS Virtual Forum on “Towards an environmentally friendly model for life sciences” at an upcoming Neuronline Community live chat on February 10, 2021 1:00 - 2:00 p.m. EST. Learn about the ways you can incorporate more sustainable practices in your work, and ask your questions on how to help move the field towards an environmentally friendly framework. This original event was organized by FENS-Kavli Network of Excellence (FKNE).

Post your comments and questions before or during the Live Chat to have them discussed and answered by the hosts!

Meet the hosts of this Live Chat:

Pic_Inbar Caspi.jpgInbar Caspi is association services and congress expert with more than 20 years of experience in consulting over 60 associations and managing more than 170 association congresses. She is the former Managing Director of Kenes UK. For the past 6 years, Inbar has been supporting Scientific and Medical Associations that organize their congress in-house or wish to take more ownership on their key activity while reaching their goals for growth, profit, education and high level of service. In her new capacity, she has worked with and managed in-house the congresses of some of the largest associations in Europe such as the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL), the European Academy of Neurology (EAN), the European Pain Federation (EFIC), the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS) and others. Inbar is really passionate about minimizing the carbon footprint that is the outcome from our large international scientific gatherings and has exercised many eco-friendly principals in her work.”

 

Pic_Marta Rodriguez.jpgMarta Rodríguez-Martínez, PhD is a research scientist at EMBL working with Lars Steinmetz studying system genetics and precision health. She did her PhD in molecular biology with Marcel Méchali at the IGH in France and a postdoc with Jesper Svejstrup at the Francis Crick Institute in the UK. She has in parallel an interest in sustainability. At the Francis Crick Institute, she was part of the sustainability team as research sustainability manager. She has participated in several panels about research sustainability and written about the topic. She is also part of Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project leadership corps and she currently participates in the sustainability initiative at EMBL.  

 

Pic_Rebecca Delker.jpgRebecca Delker, PhD is a Molecular and Cell Biologist interested in how the genome is organized and regulated to produce diversity. She received her BS at University of California, San Diego, and her PhD at Rockefeller University. Rebecca currently conducts research as a Postdoctoral Scientist at Columbia University and teaches introductory and upper level biology courses as Visiting Assistant Professor at Manhattan College. Rebecca approaches her work with a broad lens, understanding science as an expression of who we are as people; thus, beyond the questions she asks of the cell, she is interested in interrogating our process of science, using the answers to guide the future of science.

 

Pic_Rajnika Hirani.JPGRajnika Hirani is an award-winning sustainability professional with extensive experience in effecting change and innovation to deliver company sustainability goals and business models.  Rajnika has been working in the Sustainability field for 18 years.  Her experience spans various industries including nuclear, transport, construction, agriculture, waste, research and national government. A trained Lead ISO14001 auditor, with a proven track record in Environmental Management.  Rajnika has excellent stakeholder engagement at all levels across all cultures and community groups. Rajnika has experience of working across small and multi-site organisations. She has strong links with peers and regulators with significant experience of influencing at policy making level.  Rajnika has great corporate social responsibility experience, is a good communicator and an excellent leader who is able to balance sustainability and CSR requirements with commercial realities.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Andrew Chen changed the title to Live Chat: An Environmentally Friendly Model for Life Sciences 2/10/21 @ 1 p.m. EST
Marta Rodríguez-Martínez

Hello everyone,

Very happy to be here and ready to answer any questions you may have about making research more sustainable!

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
Rajnika Hirani

Hey All,  Really excited to be here!  Look forward to receiving your questions on stakeholder engagement and management of sustainability with an organisation!

 

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Inbar

Hello, good afternoon, my name is Inbar and I am happy to be here and answer any question about minimizing the carbon footprint at meetings and scientific gatherings. In the past years I have continually introduced  many eco-friendly principals into my work as a meeting organizer

Link to post
Share on other sites
Rebecca Delker

Hello! My name is Rebecca and I am a post-doc and new visiting professor, hoping to transform the way we do science for the better. I am particularly interested in how our culture of science plays into the sustainability (or lack thereof) of our research enterprise. Excited to be here and engage in these topics.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
Rajnika Hirani
6 minutes ago, Rebecca Delker said:

Hello! My name is Rebecca and I am a post-doc and new visiting professor, hoping to transform the way we do science for the better. I am particularly interested in how our culture of science plays into the sustainability (or lack thereof) of our research enterprise. Excited to be here and engage in these topics.

Hi Rebecca,  its great to know your interest.   Science is a major user and consumer of resources from energy, to single use items....there is so much that can be done!

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Chris

Hi everyone. I enjoyed watching the recording of the event and catching up on the discussion about making neuroscience more sustainable. I was wondering whether there were some guidelines, maybe a "where to start" document the panellists could share? 

 
Link to post
Share on other sites
Rajnika Hirani
5 minutes ago, Guest c369f...21a said:

How can grad students get involved in making their labs more sustainable?

Anonymous poster hash: c369f...21a

From simple things like turning off equipment when not in use, recycling where possible to speaking to perhaps your facilities department to how they can change settings centrally for the entire building to be more sutainable.

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
Marta Rodríguez-Martínez
3 minutes ago, Guest c369f...21a said:

How can grad students get involved in making their labs more sustainable?

Anonymous poster hash: c369f...21a

Hello!

I think the first thing one could do (as a grad student, postdoc, technician...) is to find out whether there is already a sustainability initiative in their research center or a department in charge of sustainability (such as health and safety) and if so, join the team! However, if there is nothing in place yet, you can try to create a Green initiative in your building with a group of people that want a change. If this feels difficult and overwhelming, maybe try and start small, by introducing little changes in your lab. Talk to the lab manager or lab technicians about the topic. Take a look here: https://network.febs.org/posts/what-you-can-do-to-make-your-lab-greener

Hope this helps!

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
Marta Rodríguez-Martínez
3 minutes ago, Guest Chris said:

Hi everyone. I enjoyed watching the recording of the event and catching up on the discussion about making neuroscience more sustainable. I was wondering whether there were some guidelines, maybe a "where to start" document the panellists could share? 

 

Hi Chris,

Glad you enjoyed the recording! Take a look at this couple of post to get an idea of where to start. 

https://network.febs.org/posts/what-you-can-do-to-make-your-lab-greener

https://network.febs.org/posts/environmentally-sustainable-research-is-the-only-way-forward

Hope this helps!

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
Rajnika Hirani
2 minutes ago, Marta Rodríguez-Martínez said:

Hello!

I think the first thing one could do (as a grad student, postdoc, technician...) is to find out whether there is already a sustainability initiative in their research center or a department in charge of sustainability (such as health and safety) and if so, join the team! However, if there is nothing in place yet, you can try to create a Green initiative in your building with a group of people that want a change. If this feels difficult and overwhelming, maybe try and start small, by introducing little changes in your lab. Talk to the lab manager or lab technicians about the topic. Take a look here: https://network.febs.org/posts/what-you-can-do-to-make-your-lab-greener

Hope this helps!

And if there is someone responsible already, approach them and try and set up (if not one already) an Sustainability Reps group, so you are working as a collective.

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Anis
28 minutes ago, Marta Rodríguez-Martínez said:

Hello everyone,

Very happy to be here and ready to answer any questions you may have about making research more sustainable!

Hello Prof

This is Anis Barati from Iran, I am a PhD at Shiraz university and the topic that I worked was about neuroinflammation in alzheimer's disease model of drosophila.

The paper is under review currently and hopefully after publication I can refer to it diercectlly.

I would Like to know if I want to continue my research towards those gap that I found during PhD, would it be possible to connect with one of the supervisor in EMBL? or maybe applying for a post doctorate position.

 

your sincerely

Anis

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Jorien

Hello! Thank you for having this discussion. How can we incentivize labs to start investing in sustainable tools after the lab has formed all of its "habits"? It can sometimes be hard to modify the procedure once protocols are already established

Link to post
Share on other sites
Rebecca Delker
15 minutes ago, Guest c369f...21a said:

How can grad students get involved in making their labs more sustainable?

Anonymous poster hash: c369f...21a

The sustainability problem in biology can seem like a daunting problem because its causes are dispersed throughout the system - our way of doing research. To make labs more sustainable will require changes throughout the system. As members of a lab -- grad students, post docs, researchers, PIs -- we can do our part by making small changes on the day to day (using more glassware instead of plasticware when possible, purchasing low-plastic products, turning off equipment), but we can also voice our concerns more broadly to try to impact change in our building, in our university, in our community at large.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
Rajnika Hirani
1 minute ago, Guest Jorien said:

Hello! Thank you for having this discussion. How can we incentivize labs to start investing in sustainable tools after the lab has formed all of its "habits"? It can sometimes be hard to modify the procedure once protocols are already established

This is where influence needs to come in and what drives people.  It is hard there is no doubt about this, however if your Group Leader is interested in reducing costs, working more leaner then perhaps change protocols from this angle.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
Marta Rodríguez-Martínez
3 minutes ago, Guest Jorien said:

Hello! Thank you for having this discussion. How can we incentivize labs to start investing in sustainable tools after the lab has formed all of its "habits"? It can sometimes be hard to modify the procedure once protocols are already established

Hello Joriem,

Your question could not be more relevant! There is a lot of people working on establishing standard sustainability practices for labs (just as we have now for health and safety). However, that will indeed take a bit longer! For now I would suggest to start small and try to show your peers that changing certain "habits" into more sustainable ones does not require more work and it can actually make research more efficient! Please check the links below:

https://network.febs.org/posts/what-you-can-do-to-make-your-lab-greener

Hope this helps!

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
Rebecca Delker
3 minutes ago, Guest Jorien said:

Hello! Thank you for having this discussion. How can we incentivize labs to start investing in sustainable tools after the lab has formed all of its "habits"? It can sometimes be hard to modify the procedure once protocols are already established

Yeah. This is the main challenge I think. Our habits get in the way, but also the incentive system in our modern research environment makes it hard to take the time to change the way we do science. Because of this, the most realistic thing to do is to make change in a piecemeal fashion. For example, a lab can make a preliminary list of things that they think should change/could be done better. These can then be dealt with one at a time. The first 10-15 minutes of a group meeting (or several consecutive group meetings) could be spent on one of the things on the list. This time can be used to discuss the problem, allocate responsibilities to research alternatives, and then come back together to make a plan to implement change. Change is going to be hard if individuals are trying to do things differently against the current of their lab or the system as a whole. Making this a group effort can help.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest M L

i feel that depending on your research field and what methods you use, it can be difficult to reduce waste. sometimes you have to use up 6 pipette tip boxes a day but it's not like we want to generate so much waste

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Rachel

As we will one day hopefully come out COVID to travel to in-person meetings again, what are some of the best practices to start incorporating now to ensure sustainability is emphasized at our scientific events and meetings?

Link to post
Share on other sites
Rebecca Delker
1 minute ago, Guest M L said:

i feel that depending on your research field and what methods you use, it can be difficult to reduce waste. sometimes you have to use up 6 pipette tip boxes a day but it's not like we want to generate so much waste

Yes. I agree. Research will always have a sustainability problem. This is why I like to focus not only on alternatives to plastics, etc, but also on how we structure our research enterprise and its associated culture. As it is now, we have a huge emphasis on data production, a lot of which is never published and thus can never contribute to knowledge. This "wasted" data and our tangible waste are connected.

I wrote about this more here: https://fenskavlinetwork.org/waste-as-a-lens-into-our-culture-of-science/

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
Rajnika Hirani
3 minutes ago, Guest M L said:

i feel that depending on your research field and what methods you use, it can be difficult to reduce waste. sometimes you have to use up 6 pipette tip boxes a day but it's not like we want to generate so much waste

From the operational side, I would speak to your waste manager and find out if they know of a waster contractor that resuse or recycle tip boxes.  They certainly do in the UK so it is worth exploring.

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
Marta Rodríguez-Martínez
2 minutes ago, Guest M L said:

i feel that depending on your research field and what methods you use, it can be difficult to reduce waste. sometimes you have to use up 6 pipette tip boxes a day but it's not like we want to generate so much waste

Hello,

That's a good point indeed. However, there are many things that we can replace for a more sustainable option. Your example is perfect. Tip boxes are actually a very weird product in which the box make up for about 96% of the plastic! So just by using stackable pipette tip racks if you are using non filter tips, or refill and autoclave the same boxes if you are using filter tips will reduce a lot the amount of waste (by 96%!). Just take a look at the possible sustainable alternatives for the products you are using 🙂

And take a look here: https://network.febs.org/posts/what-you-can-do-to-make-your-lab-greener

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Rebecca Delker said:

Yes. I agree. Research will always have a sustainability problem. This is why I like to focus not only on alternatives to plastics, etc, but also on how we structure our research enterprise and its associated culture. As it is now, we have a huge emphasis on data production, a lot of which is never published and thus can never contribute to knowledge. This "wasted" data and our tangible waste are connected.

I wrote about this more here: https://fenskavlinetwork.org/waste-as-a-lens-into-our-culture-of-science/

You make an excellent point about resource management and efficiency, Rebecca! Shifting the culture to be more efficient with our data collection would fundamentally change how many resources we use and how much waste is generated.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Rajnika Hirani
2 minutes ago, Guest Rachel said:

As we will one day hopefully come out COVID to travel to in-person meetings again, what are some of the best practices to start incorporating now to ensure sustainability is emphasized at our scientific events and meetings?

Put a policy in place, whether it is a personal commitment, lab policy or institute policy on business travel.  Work through a hierarchy on the best way to attend the meeting, online, train and have a high authorization that needs to agree air travel and only if is necessary.

The FENS conference was a perfect example of what can happen without travelling in science!!  Well done FENS!!

Link to post
Share on other sites
Rebecca Delker
Just now, Andrew Chen said:

You make an excellent point about resource management and efficiency, Rebecca! Shifting the culture to be more efficient with our data collection would fundamentally change how many resources we use and how much waste is generated.

Yes. Policy changes that we think may have nothing to do with waste, may actually be the most impactful. An example is to think about changes in publishing. Can we change how we publish data/ideas to make research more collaborative? Can we remove the stigma of "negative" data? Can pre-registration of studies not only make our research better, but also less wasteful? What about peer reviewing study design rather than results?

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Marta Rodríguez-Martínez
3 minutes ago, Guest Rachel said:

As we will one day hopefully come out COVID to travel to in-person meetings again, what are some of the best practices to start incorporating now to ensure sustainability is emphasized at our scientific events and meetings?

Hi Rachel,

I believe this is indeed a great opportunity to build back better! I believe we should try to keep developing online meetings and offer this alternative so people can select the meeting they really want to attend in person, without loosing the opportunity to participate. We should always look for a sustainable alternative to flying and promote this alternatives. And in the waste side of the matter, meetings should be plastic free events! and try to promote sustainable food. FENS is a very good example of all this efforts!

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Inbar
9 minutes ago, Guest Rachel said:

As we will one day hopefully come out COVID to travel to in-person meetings again, what are some of the best practices to start incorporating now to ensure sustainability is emphasized at our scientific events and meetings?

If I am summarizing it in short bullet points than these are the main things:

choose a venue that has eco friendly practices (waste management, energy and electricity use, free drinking water fountains, green open air areas)

choose a location and venue that is easy to reach by public transport

minimize waste, print and use of any disposables  (catering etc..)

make sure waste is managed - recycled or composted 

choose suppliers with clear eco friendly practices 

when organizing an event offsite (such as social event) use the same principals  

allow participants to offset their carbon spent on travel and hotel (a common project the meeting is supporting and the collective offset is contributed toward)

even when large international gathering will be possible,  allow participants the option to enjoy the meeting online, without traveling and engage with participants on site

Link to post
Share on other sites
Marta Rodríguez-Martínez
2 minutes ago, Rebecca Delker said:

Yes. Policy changes that we think may have nothing to do with waste, may actually be the most impactful. An example is to think about changes in publishing. Can we change how we publish data/ideas to make research more collaborative? Can we remove the stigma of "negative" data? Can pre-registration of studies not only make our research better, but also less wasteful? What about peer reviewing study design rather than results?

 

I couldn't agree more! The amount of resources wasted because of how the system works does not make any sense...neither for sustainability not for science itself! 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Anonymous

Hi everyone, thanks for sharing the video and for your advice today. Are there ways for us to be more sustainable when maintaining animal colonies?

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Cynthia

I feel like theres a lot of people who agree with implementing sustainable initiatives, but not a lot of organization around making this a priority at my institution. Where is a good first place to start as a postdoc?

Link to post
Share on other sites
Rajnika Hirani
1 minute ago, Guest Anonymous said:

Hi everyone, thanks for sharing the video and for your advice today. Are there ways for us to be more sustainable when maintaining animal colonies?

I can tell you what we are doing at the Francis Crick Institute.   All animal bedding is taken for composting and used for building traffic circles and roundabouts.

We also have some projects in progress, working with our building management team to reduce Air flow, which does not impact the animal containers but the room itself.  All our animal incubators have a separate air flow so a small tweak to the room airflow will save us £xxx,xxx in energy bills and reduce our carbon emissions.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Marta Rodríguez-Martínez
2 minutes ago, Guest Cynthia said:

I feel like theres a lot of people who agree with implementing sustainable initiatives, but not a lot of organization around making this a priority at my institution. Where is a good first place to start as a postdoc?

Hello Cynthia,

I think the first thing one could do (as a grad student, postdoc, technician...) is to find out whether there is already a sustainability initiative in their research center or a department in charge of sustainability (such as health and safety) and if so, join the team! In any case, try to create a Green team, as working in a community might be easier. Take a look here: https://network.febs.org/posts/what-you-can-do-to-make-your-lab-greener

Hope this helps!

Link to post
Share on other sites
Rebecca Delker
1 minute ago, Guest Cynthia said:

I feel like theres a lot of people who agree with implementing sustainable initiatives, but not a lot of organization around making this a priority at my institution. Where is a good first place to start as a postdoc?

Yeah. I feel the same way. I am also a post-doc and it seems hard (if not impossible) to actually make a difference, particularly if you are under immense pressure/stress and your lab has a particular way of doing things. One thing that I do is to think about my next career move. If the goal is to run your own research group, think about how you would set up a new lab. What sustainability goals/actions would you emphasize in this new group? It is sometimes easier to implement change when you are starting fresh than to steer a huge ship with momentum in one direction. But, it may be helpful to go into the new position with a list of goals ahead of time because it is very easy to get swept down the same path.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Rajnika Hirani

Thanks for joining us today, please do keep going, it sometimes feels like a hard struggle but once you have a small break through it gets easier.  

Link to post
Share on other sites
Marta Rodríguez-Martínez

Thank you everyone for joining us today! I hope we were able to help with some of your questions.

Working on research sustainability is not easy and might feel overwhelming sometimes, but please remember this is the right road!

These are a couple of posts I wrote about the subject, which might help with your interest in making research more sustainable!

https://network.febs.org/posts/environmentally-sustainable-research-is-the-only-way-forward

https://network.febs.org/posts/what-you-can-do-to-make-your-lab-greener

Link to post
Share on other sites
Rebecca Delker

Thanks for participating! If anyone wants to discuss further about these issues, particularly as they relate to more general science policy and its connection to waste, please feel free to reach out to me. My email is rd2643@columbia.edu

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...