UCL School of Management

UCL Sustainability Lab

Clock in Canary Wharf. London, England

The UCL Sustainability Lab is a new student-led and student-operated initiative that aims to provide a collaborative, sustainability-focused platform for students and industry partners to tackle grand business challenges and build an impactful link between academia and industry. The initiative was founded by UCL MBA student Tom Weston with support from sustainability expert, Professor Paolo Taticchi. 

The Lab is an opportunity for students and companies to collaborate and delve into the complex issues surrounding sustainable innovations to better equip an organisation and solve these vital issues, whilst considering the practical implications on different sectors of the business and strategic business model. Current projects include examining the impact of tall vs short buildings and analysing the societal costs and benefits of construction, in partnership with Mott MacDonald and IStructE; as well as exploring ethics and sustainability in AI and legal practice, with EthicsGrade and Legal-Pythia

How will it work?

With over 40,000 students spread across 11 faculties, UCL’s student body is a significant source of knowledge and expertise. The Lab aims to connect this huge breadth and depth of knowledge across UCL, with industry partners that are seeking thought leadership for sustainability initiatives and engagements. Collaborations will focus on co-creation practices that generate positive impact, drive solutions and develop knowledge, thereby ensuring that sustainability approaches deliver consistent, measurable and increasing value. Multi-disciplinary expertise will enable pragmatic solutions and material contributions towards the environmental, social and governance factors of our grand challenges.

To deliver on its vision and tackle grand challenges, the Sustainability Lab is focused on developing the sustainability ecosystem and fostering practical, multi-stakeholder collaboration. Industry partnerships will drive the core activity of the Sustainability Lab – producing practical, thought leadership-based output, such as white papers, case studies, seminars and frameworks. 

These engagements are supported by a programme of events, both physical and virtual. Events will include monthly panel discussions, quarterly networking events and an open forum for industry or student-led initiatives.

Finding projects

The Sustainability Lab works with a variety of industry partners to create projects. However, if students find their own projects in an industry within which they are passionate about driving change, the Sustainability Lab provides a structured environment, as well as support and advise throughout the project. Student-originating projects should encompass sustainability throughout, to allow both undergraduate and postgraduate students to develop the specific skills they learn at UCL and put these skills to use in industry before graduation.

For students who are not able to source their own projects, we can support. Please reach out to Tom Weston for further information detailing the type of industry you are interested in and why you’d like to join the Sustainability Lab.


Any sustainability-focused project that brings together the Sustainability Lab and an industry partner will be considered.

The Sustainability Lab is currently working with Mott MacDonald and the Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE) on three built-environment focused projects, that explore the impact of sourcing materials on biodiversity, the societal costs and benefits of construction and the impact of building height on operational and embodied carbon. The Lab is also working with Legal-Pythia and EthicsGrade, running projects on AI regulation, energy and computational efficiancy in IT systems, measuring asset-based carbon emissions, and creating explainable AI software. 

benefits for students

At UCL School of Management, we believe, creating an impactful link between academia and industry, is key to driving solutions and developing knowledge. This is an excellent opportunity for undergraduate and postgraduate students from across UCL to get exposure to organisations, experience with practical engagements and build their knowledge base whilst helping an organisation solve real-world problems and enacting real-world change. 

It is an excellent opportunity to build their CV and expand their industry network whilst building a strong understanding of sustainability in business, something which is increasingly more sought after in applicants in the world of business and management. 

Through carrying out these research projects students will have a real work sample to share with future employees and improve their career prospects. 

Benefits for companies

For organisations addressing challenging sustainability issues, engagement with new ideas and field-leading research will generate value, while at the same time supporting their pathway to a more sustainable, responsible and equitable future. The structure of the Sustainability Lab is designed to foster multi-stakeholder collaboration.

With substantial expertise and diverse industry coverage, the MBA cohort with the advisory support of faculty experts at UCL School of Management is well-placed to connect academia and industry. MBA students will lead workstreams for industries in which they have built their careers. Undergraduate and postgraduate students will contribute to these workstreams, providing a significant intellectual resource for organisations that are seeking to create value through increased corporate sustainability capabilities.

It is an excellent opportunity for companies to have the support of talented students from a top 10 global university to delve into specific areas of their business and find practical solutions to issues affecting their business.  


To get involved in the Sustainability Lab, contact Tom Weston, If you are a student and already have a project in mind, please provide as much detail as possible in the email about your idea so we can find the best MBA student to support you throughout your project. 

If you are a company, please also provide as much information as possible about the problem you are facing, or the project you have in mind and we can help develop a quick brief to find the perfect students to support. 

Last updated Monday, 11 March 2024