The SUSTAIN Lab team researches the potential of digital technologies to help us better understand resource use, and to support sustainability transitions that benefit both people and the environment. We are a multidisciplinary group of academics and researchers spanning computer science, data science, Machine Learning and social science. We are based at the University of Edinburgh, UK, in the School of Informatics, and led by Nigel Goddard.

Designing real-world systems for social and environmental benefits

Advances in smart sensor systems, data science, digital feedback and automation are rapidly transforming how a diversity of systems are organised, managed and understood. These technologies also offer new possibilities, and risks, for addressing some of our most pressing environmental and social challenges.

We investigate the potential of these new technologies for achieving social and environmental goals. We make use of digital data sources to develop new understandings of resource use and the factors which shape it. We develop digital systems with real people, using Living Lab and co-design approaches, that are designed to reduce or shift resource demand and improve outcomes for people, from health and social care to affordability and comfort in the home. We evaluate the impacts of these systems across a range of social and environmental outcomes, testing them in the real world, assessing their potential role, and evaluating the designs, policies and practices needed to make them practical, effective and desirable.

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