The Sustainability Lab shaping brighter futures

ISPP Cross-Cutting Themes

Featured, Project Case Study

by Gwen Holland, CCT Officer, The Sustainability Lab


The aim of The Irish Sea Portal Pilot is to test the feasibility of a larger project (The Irish Sea Portal (ISP)) which will provide a platform that can meet the requirement for knowledge flow in order to generate growth in fisheries and aquaculture.

This project will use Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to assist the industry get access to relevant information and research on juvenile shellfish larvae and seabed settlement. It will explore the siting of potential seed collection sites and the feasibility of seed collector deployment within the study area.

This will broaden understanding of shellfish larvae movement within the Irish Sea and its surrounds followed by larval settlement patterns where they are termed ‘seed’. This resource shared across the Irish Sea that crosses regional and national boundaries and has a significant economic impact in part of an industry worth some €254m.

Project Overview

It was decided right at the beginning of the ISPP Project that Cross-Cutting Themes (CCTs) should be just that, an integral part of the project to be embedded throughout, rather than delivered as an ‘added extra’. ISPP worked with The Sustainability Lab from the beginning, and adopted the Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 as a framework for delivery in order to ensure that environmental, social, cultural and economic considerations featured in all decision making.

The Sustainability Lab delivered a short Wellbeing of Future Generations session for the ISPP team during March 2017, whilst discussing the possible improvement targets the project could adopt. Over the next few months the following CCT indicators were chosen by the project and approved by WEFO:


  • Promote the use of ICT (Skype etc.) meetings to reduce carbon foot print, and introduce travel justifications
  • Promote alternative travel such as walking, cycling and public transport
  • Develop and display an Eco Code
  • Develop and implement a Sustainable Event Checklist

Social (Equality and Welsh Language)

  • Develop a Health & Wellbeing code to mirror the Eco Code
  • Promote the Welsh language, which includes developing a bilingual website, using bilingual email signatures and out-of-offices

In addition to the indicators above, the ISPP CCT Champion and Project Manager attended the Wellbeing of Future Generations Network quarterly during the first year, to share ideas with regards to CCTs in ERDF and ESF funded projects. The ISPP Project Manager and The Sustainability Lab’s CCT lead also gave a presentation to the Network on the 14th November 2017 to showcase the continual improvements made by ISPP and to share good practice, whilst offering support to other projects. The session was called “Future-Proofing Cohesive Coastal Communities with BlueFish and ISPP – Sharing Good Practice”.

Children learningThe presentation can be found in appendix 1.

All CCT legislation relating to the ISPP project is available to staff and partners, and can be found on The Sustainability Lab’s ISPP and Interreg pages.

Furthermore, ISPP created an Activity Book for primary school children to aid their understanding of scientific issues and to spark their interest for science and environmental awareness at an early age. The book is called ‘Russel the Mussel’."Mussel Power" book

A more detailed report on the development of the activity book can be found in appendix 2.

The ISPP project also visited schools to upskill pupils and share knowledge, whilst distributing tanks of mussels and microscopes. ISPP has been committed to making their research as accessible as possible, ensuring equality and inclusivity in the field. The project has also ensured that female role models visit schools to promote the sciences to young women, in the hope that they will consider it as a viable career path in years to come.

A separate case study on the role of women in science in ISPP can be found in appendix 3.

These visits were very well received.

Children learning about musselsThe session was a huge success – the children really enjoyed it. Please pass on our thanks to Nick and of course Shelagh.” Linda, Treffos Independent School & Nursery

Thank you very much Karen and the ISPP team for organizing the workshop on ‘Mussel Power’ for Foundation Phase pupils at Ysgol Tregarth. We thoroughly enjoyed the activities throughout the morning. All activities linked to the class themes introduced different aspects of Science and Art. The children gained new experiences that the school would not be able to offer without the ISPP team. The ISPP team were enthusiastic, knowledgeable and eager to educate the children.” Caryl Jones, Ysgol Tregarth

Children looking at musselsI enjoyed looking and learning about the mussels and using the microscopes like a real scientist.” Siwan, age 8.

Thank you very much John for teaching me how to draw cartoon characters. It was great!” Ava, age 6.

ISPP Environmental Indicators

Travel justification was introduced at the beginning of the project, and a form created to be filled out for all project-related travel. This was used for the first few months of the project, but as a direct result of the ever increasing paperwork associated with the project; it was latter simply logged onto the main spreadsheet to save on staff time. The use of ICT (skype, video conferencing etc.) was also promoted from the beginning of the project, and a central spreadsheet was created for logging ICT use by all members of staff, capturing the mileage saved by not traveling to meetings. Bangor partners saved a total of 3,085 miles during the lifetime of the project, which is 553.092 kg of CO2e emitted.  CO2e is calculated for the number of individuals traveling on the ferry as foot passengers and on the train, and for numbers of vehicles used when traveling by car and taxi.

There are directions to MCW and BIM partner offices, which can be accessed by following the links on the ISPP website. BIM have a link to Google Maps, which include directions by car, train, walking, cycling and plain, whilst Bangor have directions by road, rail, bus and coach, by air and sea, whilst also having a link to Google maps. If car travel is chosen as the most viable way to travel on a particular occasion, car sharing is promoted and used whenever possible. The project also promotes and encourages staff to take part in Bangor University’s Cycle to Work scheme.

Eco CodeA project-specific Eco Code has been created and displayed in the communal areas across both partner offices, whilst it is also easily available online. The Eco Code is a poster that reminds staff, partners, students and visitors about environmental good practice; in particular waste, transport, purchasing, water, energy, biodiversity and raising environmental awareness.

A Sustainable Events Checklist was created to be used when organising events and large meetings. The checklist is bilingual and so can be filled out in either language, and has been used throughout the project for all events. The checklist is a series of questions to be answered by the event organiser in the preparation stages. Questions are particularly focused on the outcome of the event, date and timing, location and accessibility, possible waste generated, bilingualism, and catering (with emphasis on health, locality and resource efficiency).

ISPP Social Indicators

Wellbeing CodeA project-specific Wellbeing Code has been created and displayed in the communal areas across both offices, whilst it is also easily available online. The aim of the Wellbeing Code is to ensure as much focus on the social aspects of the projects as on the environmental ones. The poster is very similar to the Eco Code in that it reminds staff, partners, students and visitors about the importance of wellbeing, whilst it has been structured in accordance with the social goals as they appear in the Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015. The Wellbeing Code therefore includes a section on Health, Equality, Cohesive Workplace and Welsh Language and Culture.

What’s more, ISPP’s Bangor team expressed an interest in improving their Welsh language skills at the beginning of the project, and so a survey was sent out to establish staff’s baseline ability in terms of Welsh language in the initial stages of the project; this captured both ability and interest in improving their Welsh language skills. Out of a possible 15, 9 members of staff stated that they would like to have Welsh language lessons and 7 members of staff stated that they would like to join an informal mentoring/buddy scheme (either as a mentor or mentee).

Welsh Language lessons were subsequently organised at Marine Centre Wales (MCW), so that ISPP members of staff could attend easily. Lessons commenced in late September 2017, with 9 member of staff initially signing up and 4 members of staff regularly attending lessons by mid-October.

Karen Tuson, Research Project Administrative Officer, said:

Having the opportunity to attend a Welsh language class during my working week at my place of work, rather than attend evening classes, was a great way to get back into learning Welsh. Since the classes I have seen residential courses on offer, funded by the university, and am keen to continue my Welsh classes in an immersive environment.”

An informal Welsh language mentoring/buddy scheme was also set up, with 2 members of staff opting to be mentors and 5 members of staff opting to be mentees. The mentor/buddy allocation e-mail was sent to participating staff on the 8th September 2017, and included staff from ISPP, BlueFish and SEACAMS2.

Nicholas Jones, an ISPP Research officer stated:

As a Welsh learner who isn’t confident in speaking Welsh outside of my home environment, the opportunity to be a Welsh mentee while working on the ISPP project was a great opportunity for me to practice using the Welsh language in a friendly work environment where I would be given encouragement and not be judged.”

Whilst JenCoffee morningnifer Roberts, ISPPs Senior Clerical Officer benefitted in a different way:

I enjoyed the experience, as it was an opportunity to learn something new about my colleagues. Every day I saw them, I would ask a different question about their lives. Some mentees were more dedicated than others, which is to be expected.”

A ‘Multilingual Coffee Morning’ was organised in MCW on Friday 18th May 2018 at 10:45am, to promote the use of the Welsh language and to celebrate the projects’ diversity.  Staff and students were asked to bring food or drinks in to share from their country, region or village and learn a new phrase in a different language or dialect.

Coffee morningThe coffee morning included staff from ISPP, BlueFish and SEACAMS2, which was a success.

All ISPP Bangor staff members have also been sent translations of e-mail signatures and out of office to use on their e-mail, whilst the ISPP webpage is fully bilingual along with social media posts. If at all possible, information has also been made available in Gaelic.English Cymraeg Gaeilge

ISPP was the first project to be awarded The Sustainability Lab’s “A Project Committed to Sustainability” CharterMark in July 2018.


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