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Laboratory Efficiency Assessment Framework (LEAF)

Laboratory Efficiency Assessment Framework (LEAF)


LEAF is a sustainable lab certification program that has been recently launched as a pilot study at Queen's University, exploring ways in which to help labs across campus become more aware of their sustainability.


Created by University College London (UCL), LEAF is a set of criteria that allows labs to determine if they are following sustainable practices in their teaching and research. This includes reducing waste, sharing materials with other labs, decreasing energy usage etc.


The LEAF labs within Queen’s have been given a list of environmental activities on an online platform that facilitate and drive improvements in laboratory efficiency. Each activity is a clear, easy to implement action. LEAF users complete these actions in order to improve their lab efficiency. Following an audit of each lab, the labs will then be awarded a rating of Bronze, Silver or Gold depending on the level of sustainability reached.

LEAF Criteria have been specifically selected to cover not just environmental aspects (e.g. waste management, procurement, equipment efficiency, chemical management etc) but also to target business travel and rsearch quality, addressing the international issues surrounding the 'reproducibility crisis'. LEAF uses a set of calculators to enable users to quantify 'actual' environmental and financial savings.


The program will aim to embed good sustainability practises within participating QUB laboratories, with a view to rolling out across all labs at the University.

The following schools are participating in the pilot:

  • School of Pharmacy
  • School of Medicine and Biomedical Science
  • School of Biological Sciences
  • School of Maths and Physics
  • School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering


There are numerous benefits from labs being involved in the LEAF Program. These include:

  • Reduced utility costs and environmental footprint
  • Ensuring health and safety compliance within labs
  • Increased research efficiency
  • Provides recognition for individuals labs and the University on a national stage
  • Enables a bottom-up sustainability movement
  • Helps integrate different labs and departments from around the University
  • Practice-based learning experiences that improve professional skills and employability
  • Strengthening of relationships between Estates, lab users and other stakeholders
  • The chance to align your research with the University Net Zero Strategy
  • Inter-lab and inter-departmental benchmarking
  • Creating a better understanding within our community of our science buildings and operations
  • Labs being able to align with our commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals

Assessment Criteria

Bronze, Silver and Gold Criteria

Labs can achieve bronze, silver or gold level depending on the level of commitment to each criteria. Target areas in the labs include:

  • Waste
  • People
  • Purchasing
  • Equipment
  • IT
  • Sample and Chemical Management
  • Research Quality
  • Teaching Criteria
  • Ventilation
  • Water

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