The GDST Energy Programme

GDST girls learn how innovative science-based approaches can overcome complex sustainability challenges at UCL MechSpace event.

In May 2024, more than 130 teachers and students from years 7 to 13 across 7 GDST schools participated in an inspirational sustainability event at University College of London’s MechSpace building in London.

Hosted by Dr. Nelia Jurado Pontes, Associate Professor at UCL Mechanical Engineering Department and an Environmental Technologies specialist, the event successfully highlighted GDST’s key sustainability commitments – to educate and empower our students with sustainability knowledge, promote sustainable behaviour amongst the community, and change and operate our estate to be Carbon Neutral.

Girls who are already part of eco-committees and sustainability initiatives in GDST’s Belvedere, Brighton, Bromley, Nottingham, Streatham & Clapham, South Hampstead, and Blackheath schools, demonstrated great curiosity and enthusiasm in engaging with inspirational engineering students, PhD candidates and UCL professors on the day.

Inspiring the next generation of environmental changemakers

The day produced an enthusiastic response from all the GDST girls, who went away energised and inspired to take on STEM subjects:

“I walked in thinking that the sustainable engineering workshop was just going to be about making electric cars. However, this workshop showed me about all the many different branches that stem from engineering.” — Elizabeth, Year 8, GDST Blackheath High School

The girls spoke to current UCL engineering students, exploring brilliant ideas of green energy racing cars, mechanical helicopters models, rockets and other robotics projects that are entered for national and international student engineering competitions. They also heard talks from a number of leading experts in STEM.

Top five learnings from the ‘Sustainability at MechSpace’ event.

At the MechSpace event, the GDST girls learnt to appreciate that we must consider many different aspects of sustainability to mitigate the significant challenge of climate change.

  1. Dr Elze Porte explored ways of re-engineering materials used for disposables such as nappies to be more sustainable and reduce environmental harm by diverting waste from landfill.
  2. The girls learned about using sustainable, zero carbon and renewable energy sources, such as hydrogen fuel cells, from Mr Hamed Shafei.
  3. Sustainable design and manufacturing techniques, such as 3D printers and laser cutters, were presented by Mr Sandeep Harrar by using recycled materials for making day to day objects to support circular economy to reduce plastic waste.
  4. Dr Giorgia Bosi demonstrated how replacement human heart valves can be manufactured from recyclable, low carbon and cost-effective materials that require minimally invasive surgical procedures for replacement in heart patients, improving their recovery times and chances of survival.
  5. Dr Margarita Garfias Royo disccussed how civil engineering can help make safe, well designed, socially sustainable urban spaces that encourage women to participate in economic activities with confidence.

How the GDST’s Energy Programme aims to educate students on the importance of reducing carbon emissions

The MechSpace event is part of GDST’s ongoing One Energy programme across all 25 GDST schools, that aims to inspire, educate, and empower our teachers, facilities staff and students with the most current sustainability knowledge and curriculum.

UCL MechSpace Sustainability

Learn more about Sustainability at the GDST