RItrainPlus’ Staff and Knowledge Exchange Programme are pleased to have hosted a virtual workshop in collaboration with EOSC-Life and eRImote entitled ‘Green events – assessing and reducing the environmental impact of your training’, which took place on 16 September 2022.  

About the event:

The event started with a keynote lecture by Brendan Rouse, Environmental Officer at EMBL and an EU Climate Pact Ambassador, on ‘Where does environmental impact arise in the context of organisations, events and training’. This was followed by a presentation from Anna Swan, Scientific Training Officer (e-learning) at EMBL-EBI Training, during which she reported back on a ‘green compute and training’ workshop for Education in Bioinformatics that was run by Sarah Morgan and Anna Swan of the EMBL-EBI Training Team at the ISMB22 conference earlier this year and which fed into the development of the current ‘green events’ workshop. After the presentations, attendees took part in group discussions and reflection sessions. In small groups, they reflected on the environmental impact of the events and training that they organise and shared ideas on how they and their organisations can act to reduce this impact.


Brendan Rouse presented on ‘Where does environmental impact arise in the context of organisations, events and training’. Key learnings from Brendan’s talk include:

  • Organisations should have a good understanding of their supply chain and be honest about their responsibility for emissions at each stage of the chain.
  • It is really important for organisations to set science-based targets for reducing environmental impact. This should be informed by conversations with stakeholders about how the organisation impacts the environment; this is called a ‘materiality assessment’.
  • Organisations should spend time on reducing impact, not just on measuring impact.
  • Sustainability should be an integral part of operations (not just an afterthought or one off) and we should look to continually improve processes and practices.
  • Before considering the sustainable option, consider ‘is this necessary in the first place?’
  • For events and training, we could consider:
    • Organising environmentally responsible events and training.
    • Including content about environmental sustainability in events and training.
    • Promoting sustainable practice – sharing lessons learnt and steps taken to encourage others.
    • Referencing ISO sustainable events standard – ISO20121

Watch the recording of Brendan’s talk:

The second speaker, Anna Swan presented an overview of presentations and discussions from a workshop on green compute and training held at ISMB2022. As all research becomes more computationally intensive, green compute is a really important consideration for how research is carried out and for how we train others. Two papers that informed this workshop can be found below:


Workshop output:

During the workshop, attendees were asked to reflect on the following two questions:

  1. What single action could you personally do to reduce the environmental impact of your event?
  2. What single action could your organisation do to support you to run greener events/training?


Their responses were captured via jamboard (see screenshots below). We hope that everyone can take inspiration from these action items to make their events and training more sustainable.



About the organisers: 

The workshop was organised by ELIXIR-EMBL-EBI through the RItrainPlus project in collaboration with EOSC-Life and eRImote. All three of these European Union funded projects have an interest in sustainability in events and training as well as an interest in implementing initiatives that incentivise green practices for training and events in organisations. So RItrainPlus decided to run this event in collaboration. Thanks to everyone for all their efforts including our facilitators from the three projects.


  • RItrainPlus project has received funding from the European Union’s H2020 programme under grant agreement no.101008503.
  • EOSC-Life has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme under grant agreement number 824087.
  • eRImote has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101057557.
Key Learnings: ‘Green Events’ Workshop – Assessing and Reducing the Environmental Impact of Your Training