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We know we need to live more sustainably, in order to protect our environment and the life it supports. But how? Whether it’s making more from what we have, taking the heat out of energy-intensive processes or supporting better ways to reduce climate-damaging emissions, Science Foundation Ireland is supporting research for a better way of doing things.

Person holding a smart tablet and pen; with green grass in the background and icons coming from the tablet representing various aspects of society

One of the most obvious places to tackle sustainability in our day-to-day lives is food. Producing, packaging, transporting and storing food requires energy, and it is in everyone’s best interest that food is not wasted. The Leaf No Waste project led by Technological University Dublin researchers is seeking to improve packaging for leafy greens, to reduce the industry’s reliance on plastic packaging while also keeping those delicate and nutritious leaves fresh, consumable and away from the waste bin.

The Grain4Labs project led by Dublin City University also has plastic and waste in its sights, this time for laboratories. The innovative researchers are using waste products generated in the brewing industry to build plastic equipment for lab use, creating a more sustainable resource for research.

Another project that is making more of what we have around us is Beyond Biofuel. The research, led by Trinity College Dublin, is exploring the best ways to grow and harvest seaweed to yield high value products such as ingredients for food, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.

We also need to get smart about the energy that drives our online lives and work. A project led by Trinity College Dublin is looking at ways to capture heat generated by data centres as they process information in the cloud, and putting that energy to use sustainably. 

And from online data to terra firma, the Terrain AI project led by Maynooth University, is taking a big-picture approach to understanding the geography of where greenhouse gas emissions are generated by human activity, and how we can best measure them to manage them. 

Conceptual image of green server room with grass and wildflowers growing on the floor of the data centre
Hands hold a smart tablet with a green field in the background. On screen is an illustration of different information as two people stand in the field with farm vehicle in background.

Terrain AI

Figuring out ’where’ and ‘how’ of tackling greenhouse gas emissions 


Image of the side of a boat and a large rope with seaweed hanging from it.

Beyond Biofuel

Harnessing sustainable value from seaweed


An image inside a data centre

Sustainable Energy  

Taking the heat out of data centre consumption 


a field of baby spinach growing in it

Leaf No Waste

A fresh approach to growing and packaging food


Hands holding green biodegradable plastic pellets above a bag of the same pellets.


From waste to plastic to compost