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Introducing the Green Digital Design internship

We have recently recruited a Green Digital Design intern to join the UX and Content team over the summer. The aim of this internship is to investigate how we can reduce carbon emissions of the University of Edinburgh’s web pages through sustainable design practices.

Why should we care about Green Digital Design?

The seed of this internship was first planted last year, when I saw a talk at the annual UX Scotland conference that highlighted the shockingly big impact of the IT industry on carbon emissions.

Ever since then, I’ve noticed the theme of sustainability popping up in many discussions around web design. It’s been the key topic at the 2023 University Communications and Marketing Conference, and it’s also been covered by other universities during the latest Scottish Web Folk conference.

Communications and Marketing conference Sharepoint site – University login required.

HE Digital Scotland / Scottish Web Folk conference

And yet, how often do we consider sustainability when we design websites at the University? How carbon intensive are the webpages that we create and maintain? Could we find simple ways to reduce some of this impact through good design practice?

These are some of the questions I’m hoping that the Green Digital Design internship will begin to answer.

What will the internship involve?

During the 12 weeks over summer, our Green Digital Design intern will investigate the sustainability challenges faced by the University’s large web estate and research potential solutions that we could consider in the future – the more creative, the better!

These ideas still need to be balanced with business and user needs of our websites, but will act as a proof of concept that we can share and discuss within the web community here at the University. What would a truly low-carbon website look like for the University of Edinburgh?

This internship is running in parallel with the Green Web Estate internship, which will investigate methods for measuring overall emissions across our entire web estate. The two programmes should align with the University of Edinburgh’s goal to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2040.

The Green Digital Design internship will also provide an opportunity for our intern to get experience of applying UX design practices in a real working environment.

I’m really excited to see the outcomes of this internship and I hope that it sparks conversations within our web communities, both within the University of Edinburgh and across other institutions.

Additional resources

If you’d like to read more about sustainability in web design, here are some great resources to get started:

This short book is an excellent introduction to sustainable UX practices that you can implement on your site.

Also run in part by Tom Greenwood, this site contains facts and resources about the environmental impact of the IT industry.

Sustainable UX host some really interesting podcasts about solving sustainability problems through a User Experience lens.


We have now filled the position for the Green Digital Design intern, but If you’d like to find out more about the work we’re doing, please reach out to me at

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