Enabling environmentally sustainable biomedical research

09.30, Wednesday 15 March 2023

The Academy of Medical Sciences, 41 Portland Place London

The Academy of Medical Sciences FORUM are hosting a workshop on ‘enabling environmentally sustainable biomedical research’, in partnership with the Medical Research Council and the National Institute of Health and Care Research.

Clinical and biomedical research is a significant contributor to the UK’s carbon footprint, and a large consumer of single-use plastics. Additional environmental impacts include the production of waste and use of reagents. Improving the environmental sustainability of biomedical research will be essential for achieving the UK Government’s target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050, and can improve cost-effectiveness, in addition to environmental and health benefits.

Despite rising awareness of the environmental impact of clinical and biomedical research, researchers face a lack of knowledge, support and incentives to conduct their work sustainably. As well as discussing systemic barriers, this workshop will consider the different stages of the research pathway, including the distinct and overlapping challenges of ‘wet lab’ and clinical research. The workshop will bring together participants from different research contexts, including early-career and senior researchers, laboratory technicians and managers, sustainability experts from industry, academia, and healthcare, and funders and regulators.

With this in mind, the objectives of the workshop are to:

  • Explore the distinct and overlapping challenges of conducting environmentally sustainable ‘wet lab’ and clinical research, including the gaps in the evidence base and the current lack of governance.
  • Identify interventions to promote environmentally sustainable biomedical research, including considerations for labs, funders, regulators, technology companies, and workforce planning.
  • Consider opportunities presented by a move to environmentally sustainable biomedical research, including commercial opportunities and cost savings.
  • Convene relevant stakeholders to explore best practice and promote collaboration.


This workshop will likely take place in-person* at the Academy of Medical Sciences, 41 Portland Place from 9.30 to 16.30 on Wednesday 15 March. Attendance at this workshop is by invitation only.


*After careful consideration, the workshop steering group strongly recommended that an in-person event would help participants form meaningful connections, particularly important considering the difficulty of identifying initiatives across sectors to make research more sustainable. However, we have asked that attendees consider the environmental impact of their travel to the workshop (e.g. avoid air travel, choose public transport etc).

The Academy’s FORUM provides a neutral and independent platform for individuals from across academia, industry, the NHS and Government, and the charity, regulatory and wider healthcare sector, to meet and take forward national discussions on scientific opportunities, technology trends and associated strategic choices for healthcare. Find out more.

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