Our strategic plan defines Sustainable as: ’empower communities & enable access to expertise.’ Our work around this theme is very diverse, as we aim to contribute to Scotland’s ecological, environmental, cultural, and economic sustainability.  Many of our “sustainable” projects facilitate communications between academics, professionals, and local communities to encourage positive relationships and meaningful collaborations.

Explore our work

Coastal Knowledge Interactive Map

Coastal Knowledge is our online exhibition of some of the amazing places on the coast of Scotland. This is a dynamic map, and we’re asking people to contribute coastal memories and experiences. It includes  pictures, memories, artwork, stories, and videos.  These are submitted from a variety of people, including scientists, artists, coastal dwellers, tourists, and community organisations.

We want to share the beauty of the Scottish coast, but also its vital role in the day-to-day lives of people in Scotland, for example, its many industrial roles. We hope that a sense of history as well as present-day and future visions will come through the diversity of contributions. Most importantly, the website is made by its contributors – so please do share your reflections on the Scottish coasts via the below form!


In November this year, Glasgow will host the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties – or COP26 for short. The COP26 summit will bring leaders from around the world together with the aim of agreeing on actions to avoid harmful levels of climate change.

Having an event of this magnitude in Scotland is an excellent opportunity not only to show the world what we are doing on climate change, but also to energise discussions locally about what climate change means for Scotland and what we can and should do in response. As an organisation bringing together early- to mid-career professionals across a diverse range of sectors and working under an ethos of responsible and knowledge-driven debate, we would like to think that YAS is well-placed to inform the kinds of long-term, trans-disciplinary and evidence-based ways of working that climate change requires.

Whilst our YAS COP26 activities will span a breadth of platforms and formats, we’ll use this section on the YAS website as a focal point for hosting blog posts and links to other media. We’ve coined the hashtag #YASRoad2COP to tag in our members’ COP-related activities on Twitter, and would encourage anyone reading to use the hashtag too to draw our attention to issues or events you think we should get involved with. Likewise, if there’s a climate change-related topic you feel we should be tackling, let us know and we’ll see what our members can do!

Climate Change and Marginalised Communities

On  27 June 2019, YAS will hold a workshop to kick-start a new project titled ‘Preparing for climate change in Scotland’s marginalised communities.’  The purpose of the workshop will be to explore how YAS’ ethos of transdisciplinary working and reasoned debate can be a force for good in reducing climate risk for the most vulnerable.

To register for this workshop please visit the RSE website.

A Future for Rural Scotland

YAS member Dr Lesley Lancaster and alumni member Dr Chris Dalglish participated in a Scotland’s Futures Forum event on 14 May on a sustainable future for rural Scotland.

The event considered how Scotland can develop a shared vision for the future of its rural areas; what the challenges and trends are; the potential futures ahead of us; and what outcomes we want to achieve by 2030.

A podcast of the event is available to listen to here.

Reduce Plastic Tips

In December 2019, YAS turned their eyes to single-use plastics, running a snap Twitter campaign exploring what each of us could do to reduce plastic use.  We ended the campaign with this blog post about what we learned and shared.

Christmas is one of the most exciting times of the year, but it is also the worse one for generating plastic waste; plastic presents in plastic packaging, in plastic wraps, carried in plastic bags. Throughout December, YAS members shared their tips and ideas, under the #ReducePlasticTips hashtag on Twitter.

Building Meaningful Links with Communities

Held at the University of Dundee, YAS organised this workshop on developing long-term relationships and collaborations between researchers and practitioners, on the one hand, and communities, third sector and public sector organisations, on the other. One of the outcomes of this event was a one page guide to creating effective links with local communities, entitled ‘The Dos snd Don’ts of Building Meaningful Relationships’

Sustainability Dinner

Our first RSE Fellows and Young Academy membership event, this networking dinner was aimed at stimulating discussion and future work encompassing this strategic theme.

YAS challenged five speakers to present on the topic of Sustainabillity in pecha-kucha style format.

Feedback for this event was overwhelmingly positive, and it is hoped that it will result in new project proposals encompassing this strategic theme.