Continuing Forward in the Work to Bring Greater Equity to People and Communities Impacted by the Global Research Enterprise

Star Scott, University of Georgia

This session builds upon the body of work we first presented at the 2019 and 2020 I2SL conferences, demonstrating the connections between scientific research and social justice/equity. As our community strives to build, operate, and foster a culture of more sustainable laboratories, we must also examine the human element of how scientific research is conducted around the world. After all, people, communities, and equity are one of the three pillars of sustainability. The global research enterprise can and should evolve to become more sustainable and more equitable. Not only for the creators, managers and occupants of these facilities, but for people outside of our community who are impacted by extractive processes, manufacturing, transporting, building and maintaining these spaces, as well as the eventual disposal of related materials.

This presentation will explore new examples of connections between research processes and equity. We will also share concrete actions the I2SL community can embrace to bring greater equity into the creation and operation of research facilities. We will explore how laboratories and institutions can operate in a way that benefits people, rather than passing burdens off to other communities. All attendees at the I2SL conference will have something to gain from attending this session. It is our goal to help facilitate a shift within the research enterprise where considerations of communities beyond our own becomes an integral part of our work.

Learning Objectives

  • Explain how social justice and equity are critical components of sustainability (brief overview for new attendees);
  • Understand how social justice is connected to the creation and operation of laboratory facilities and the research enterprise as a whole;
  • Explore new information and examples of how the research enterprise impacts outside communities, as well as inequities faced by those involved in research; and
  • Learn about ideas for alleviating some of the social justice challenges that arise from the research enterprise—relevant actions regardless of what your touch-point with scientific research is (building and design, manufacturing, purchasing, research, operations, etc.).


Star Scott is the Green Labs Program Coordinator for the University of Georgia, with a background in conservation-driven research, wildlife biology, and ecology. She is the CSHEMA representative for The Higher Education Associations Sustainability Consortium (HEASC) and is a co-vice president and founding member of the Georgia Chapter of I2SL.


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