About the Centre
Aviation faces a number of vast, complex and inter-related challenges – not least of which are those affecting communities, the environment and the economy. We’ve set up a Centre of Excellence to seek radical new ideas and innovation in sustainability to help make progress in these areas.
Our Centre will advance sustainability in our sector through applied research, demonstration projects, and by convening and incentivising the most innovative thinking.
Over the coming months and years we are aiming to develop and expand a programme of primary and applied research addressing many of the sustainability challenges we face. We will work collaboratively, with our communities, other airports, business, industry groups, universities and others who recognise our challenges and have a shared interest in tackling them.
In this section you will find out more about our sustainability research and innovation programmes, how to contact us and our Sustainable Innovation Prize.
How you can get involved
If you have ideas that potentially fit with the aims of the Centre, we want to hear from you. If your ideas match one of the categories in the innovation prize (until the end of March 2018) we recommend considering submitting an entry.
Keeping in touch
We want to hear from people and organisations with ideas for sustainable research or innovation projects that the Centre might consider. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Existing sustainability research activity
Heathrow is already involved in a number of research programmes, including through participation in research through Sustainable Aviation.
In an important recent development, Heathrow is part of ‘wave 3’ of a UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) initiative called Science and Innovation Audits. Led by Brunel University London our audit is looking at the topic of ‘sustainable airports’ in the context of the organisations in the Heathrow area.
Research and innovation programme
When we launched Heathrow 2.0, our ambitious plan for sustainable growth, we knew that one of the biggest tasks would be to keep pace with the rapidly evolving landscape of ideas, technologies and innovation. We also recognised that we would need to continuously harness innovation in the field of sustainability to help us deliver the huge positive impact that we are aiming to make.
Our research and innovation programme, within The Centre of Excellence, will help us produce a pipeline of ideas and transformative interventions which can help create a globally connected community and a thriving modern economy, sustainably.
Key areas we see the Centre of Excellence exploring…
Our research and innovation programme in sustainability is in its infancy, but below are the types of issues we want to explore.
About Heathrow as a sustainability testbed for research and innovation
Central to our role in addressing airport and aviation sustainability challenges is our intention to offer Heathrow as a testbed for research and innovation demonstration projects, pilots and applied research. This will begin with the first winner of our innovation prize.
In 2018, we launched a £20,000 sustainability innovation prize aimed at solving some of the sustainability challenges facing Heathrow and other airports, and the aviation industry more widely.
Prize entries were opens from 0700hrs 24 January 2018 until the end of March 2018. The winner will become the first to formally make use of Heathrow as a sustainability test bed to trial their idea.
There are some limitations to what we can pilot during 2018, so please do read the terms and conditions.
Entries need to respond to one of the following categories:
- Waste as a resource – the circular economy: We are interested to hear about your products, services and ideas for creating value from waste water and waste materials at and around airports, and in their supply chains. Finding commercial applications for former waste streams is especially important – this can create real impetus for change. Therefore ideas with the potential to establish new employment or revenue for organisations will be particularly well received.
- Sustainable and low carbon materials: Heathrow is home to a vast array of buildings and infrastructure which consume large quantities of construction and other materials – from road surfaces, to floor coverings to building foundations and so much more. We are excited to hear about your products and services that could help to transform the environmental impact of those materials – whether in their manufacture or in use.
- Measuring and enhancing quality of life locally: The complex array of factors that combine to determine our quality of life varies from place to place and person to person. As the UK’s hub airport there are a lot of activities that add value to people’s lives, such as employment opportunities. Other issues are a cause for concern, like aircraft noise. We would like to hear about new products or services that can help to better measure or understand quality of life, or that have the potential to enhance people’s lives in the Heathrow area.
Applications for the 2018 prize have now closed.
The winners were recently announced, here.