University of Plymouth academic named ‘Sustainability Champion'

An academic and author who has engaged thousands of people with education for sustainable development has been honoured with a prestigious national award.

Paul Murray, Associate Professor in Sustainable Construction and Surveying, was named Sustainability Champion - Staff at the 14th annual Green Gown Awards in recognition of his work over more than 26 years in higher education.

Paul, who is based in the School of Art, Design and Architecture, helped to create the UK’s first overtly ‘environment-themed’ degrees in building and construction. He has also devised an innovative collection of values-centred personal training techniques to provide students, academics and professionals with the confidence and insight they need to promote both sustainability and beneficial personal change.

It is the sixth Green Gown Award won by the University in eight years, following on from successes in categories such as Institutional Change, Enterprise, and Courses and Learning.

Organised by the EAUC, and held at the National Railway Museum in York, the University was also shortlisted in the Next Generation Learning and Skills category for a project, NurSusTOOLKIT, which has introduced sustainability and climate change into the nursing curriculum at a number of institutions around the world.

Reflecting upon the award Paul said: 

“I was genuinely shocked and amazed to have won, and very thankful to those who have helped me in my work over the many years. More broadly, the occasion emphasised how sustainability cannot simply be viewed as one of many agendas. It is an imperative that can no longer be ignored, and it is vital that all universities unlock their unique potential to make an immense, positive difference to the future. When we place sustainability at the heart of all we do, it can yield untold benefits for all.”

Paul Warwick, who leads the Centre for Sustainable Futures, the team that works with faculties and schools to introduce sustainability into the curriculum, added: 

“It has been a real privilege to work with the NurSus team and Paul Murray over the last few years. Plymouth's sustainability education work is growing in reputation with its strong links to health and wellbeing. This active care and compassion agenda has certainly been at the heart of both our Green Gown finalists this year.”