Responsible Futures supports students and staff to work in


 to integrate


through all parts of student learning.

The programme was created in 2013 and developed with the pilot cohort of 13 UK universities and colleges.

Since then, the framework has supported 41 UK institutions to integrate sustainability through the formal, informal and subliminal curriculum.

The community developed through the programme provides space for sharing good practice, discussing live issues and challenges, and collaborating to shape and lead the further and higher education sector in the UK.

Frequently asked questions:

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What are some tangible outcomes from the programme to date?

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We have worked with 41 institutions in the UK and 7 globally reaching nearly 1,100,000 students taking over 3000 actions in to embed sustainability in teaching and learning. These have resulted in a range of outcomes, including:

  • Increased buy-in and support from senior leadership to drive this work forward
  • Increased capacity and resourcing for developing curricula with sustainability as a golden thread
  • Developing a stronger relationship between university/college and SU
  • Increased whole-institution approach for sustainability
  • More student leadership for sustainability
  • Innovative pedagogical approaches to teaching and learning (e.g. interdisciplinary experiences for students, graduate attributes include sustainability etc.)
  • Increased connectivity and collaboration between institutions in the UK and globally

We have delivered nearly 50 student-led audits with over 200 student auditors and counting. Feedback from student auditors describe the experience as ““immersive,” “uplifting” and “eye-opening.”

We are now delighted to deliver a Responsible Futures international pilot in partnership with the International Association of Universities with plans to deliver the programme more widely in October 2024.

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What are the prerequisites to participating in Responsible Futures?

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• A desire to develop a whole-institution approach to embedding holistic sustainability and climate justice across the curriculum;

• A commitment to allow adequate staff time to lead on Responsible Futures;

• A willingness to work through a close collaborative partnership between the students and the institution;

• A commitment to promote and support the monitoring and evaluation of the project;

• A commitment to send at least one representative from each partnership to attend up network events, including cohort catch up calls and support afternoons.

• A willingness to actively engage with and support other members of the cohort.

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How can Responsible Futures help to drive institutional change?

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The programme legitimises Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in teaching and learning: The RF framework was agreed upon by a number of sector bodies, pilot universities and colleges and the accreditation is recognised by P&P and the Times Higher Education Impact rankings and signposted in a number of high level education resources.

The programme provides a toolkit of criteria of good practice with which we ask partnerships to engage – these aren’t prescriptive criteria, but guidance. The criteria cover a range of areas – including policy and commitments, strategy, interventions, baselines and benchmarks that support change from top down, middle out and bottom up. Through engaging with the framework, a broad range of university staff and students work in partnership, facilitating the whole-institution approach for institutional change.

Progress is an important factor to the programme.  Opportunities to reflect on change and outcomes are embedded into the framework and support to ensure long lasting, meaningful change.

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What’s the timeframe for taking part in Responsible Futures?

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The programme runs all year and partnerships can join at anytime in the year.

In terms of the audit, we work with partnerships to choose an audit date that is right for them. Submission is around a week before audit. We normally suggest partnerships undergo their student-led audit 2-3 years after joining the programme, but we always work with the partnership to decide on a time it feels right to undergo the audit, to ensure it is a supportive and meaningful experience.

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How might students and the institution work together, taking into account capacity, workload and other existing commitments?

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Part of the framework involved embedding Responsible Futures into working groups, either existing or new, to lead on work related to the programme. This ensures capacity is shared amongst a group of people across the institution and isn't progressed by just one or two individuals.

The programme supports you to create a SMART action plan using the framework to take stock of what you’re already doing, what you want to do now and in the future, as well as who can look into an area of work you’d like to progress.

In terms of working with students, Responsible Futures advocates for equitable partnership. The way the programme is designed recognises differing capacities amongst students, student leadership groups and the institution, and encourages meaningful partnership amid capacity and workload differences.

Participating institutions have work with a range of different student groups on Responsible Futures, including:

Student interns
Student volunteers
Student societies
Elected student officers/representatives
Placement students
Scholarship students
Course representatives

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How much does it cost to participate and does the registration fee include?

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2024/25 costings include:

Higher education:
First year - £5,100 + VAT
Subsequent year - £4,410 + VAT

Further education:
First year - £4,450 + VAT
Subsequent year - £3, 990+ VAT

Registration fee includes:

Access to Responsible Futures online framework
Network learning:

  • Regular cohort catch-ups
  • Two support afternoons per year, open to all staff and students from partnerships
  • 2-3 webinars per year led by Responsible Futures partnerships, open to all staff and students from partnerships
  • Responsible Futures Jiscmail (email list) access to share resources/opportunities/ask questions– with over 100 staff and students from Responsible Futures partnerships

Responsible Futures resource bank sign posting case studies, templates, older webinars and support afternoons etc.
Bespoke support days
Ongoing and ad hoc SOS-UK support
Two-day student led audit including extensive audit report with student recommendations
Responsible Futures or working towards Responsible Futures accreditation subject to audit results

For more information on costings for 2024/25, please see our programme overview.

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How might Responsible Futures link with sustainability work already in existence?

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Responsible Futures provides a focus for already existing sustainability work, and mechanisms for student/staff involvement. Responsible Futures acts an approach and way of working that breaks down silos and brings together different areas of work under one cohesive framework. Many partnerships use Responsible Futures to both take stock of what is already happening and to plan ahead.

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Are students paid to be involved in Responsible Futures?

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Different partnerships use different models – a number of current partnerships pay students who lead on Responsible Futures throughout the year with the support of a full-time staff member.

Some partnerships pay students to lead on the audit, provide accreditations on transcripts and/or provide vouchers. Other partnerships engage student officers/course representatives and others to promote these opportunities as volunteer roles with a strong emphasis on student leadership and skills development. We have an evidence base from delivering over 46 audits that it is a unique, and impactful opportunity for students to develop knowledge and skills around sustainability.

Get in touch

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Meet the team

Kedijah Eaves-O'Connor

Kedijah is a Project Manager - Education at Students Organising for Sustainability. Kedijah acts as lead contact for participating institutions, helping them to engage with the programme and the framework through bespoke support and network learning.

Marta Nowicka

Marta is a Project Manager - Education at Students Organising for Sustainability. Marta acts as lead contact for participating UK institutions, helping them to engage with the programme and the framework through bespoke support and network learning.

Quinn Runkle

Quinn is the Director of Education at Students Organising for Sustainability. Quinn leads on SOS-UK's education work.

Rachel Drayson

Rachel is the Head of Impact and Research at Students Organising for Sustainability. Rachel leads on monitoring and evaluating the programmes impacts and outcomes.

Rajneet Bharaj

Rajneet is a Project Coordinator at Students Organising for Sustainability. Rajneet coordinates the communications and administration for Responsible Futures.

Sonya Peres

Sonya is a Senior Project Manager - Education at Students Organising for Sustainability. Sonya manages a range of education programmes including Responsible Futures.


I think

that it's important that I've been involved with Responsible Futures. This has literally set the tone for more things I want to discover about [my institution], as a first-year student. I'm interested in seeing what they do around sustainability in the



Student auditor

De Montfort University and Students’ Union audit, 2022

Who we work with

2023-24 Participating institutions and their students' unions

Coventry University
University of Worcester
University of Derby
University of Exeter
University College of Estate Management
Manchester Metropolitan University
Ulster University
University of Chichester
Aston University
University of Oxford
City College Plymouth
University of Strathclyde
The Open University
University of the West of England
University of Hull
University of Salford
De Montfort University
University of York
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See 2014-24 impact report