Large collaborative research projects usually have significant carbon footprints. This is especially true where there is, as in our case, a high level of international interest, with several leading US and Australian philosophers having signed up to contribute to our project. We plan to minimise our carbon footprint, principally by arranging for all US and Australian contributors to speak virtually rather than in person.
The technology and software that we plan to use to reduce the carbon footprint – GoToWebinar, BigBlueButton, V-Scene, Google Hangout and Skype – have been available to academics for some time, but are infrequently used. While many academics in the UK are actively involved in virtual teaching and learning, virtual research events of our type are extremely rare.
At the conclusion of the project, we will produce a report outlining our uses of different virtual conferencing technology and software packages and their respective advantages. The report will be disseminated to academics in the arts, humanities and social sciences, university-level research administrators and sustainability committees, as well as non-academic organisations that regularly host conferences and rely upon continued conversations among multiple international partners.
Exposing event participants to relevant technologies, and producing and disseminating the report, will enable academics and other international conference organisers to make significant reductions to their carbon footprints. By helping academics to think creatively about how to develop sustainable research practices, we will contribute to universities playing a positive role in society-wide efforts towards sustainability. By disseminating the report to conference organisers outside academia we also hope to inspire them to embrace green solutions.