University becomes a Living Lab for sustainability

The Living Lab programme, which launches today (Thursday 4 May) is about tackling global challenges at a local scale and researching and testing solutions which can be shared and replicated.


Living Lab, led by the Sustainability Service, will open up our University as a testbed for creating new, sustainable processes and infrastructure by, for example:

  • creating research-led campus design that addresses the challenges of climate change

  • trialling sustainability initiatives  with staff or students

  • integrating biodiversity and wellbeing into our operation.

The Living Lab is about creating a space where research can be tried and tested, helping us as an organisation to think and operate differently.  It is a fantastic opportunity to pilot or trial scalable research and innovation.  

An initial fund of £5,000 is available to support Living Lab projects: a maximum of £1,000 is available for interdisciplinary research or testing of innovative solutions, and up to £500 for students seeking to develop projects as part of their studies.  All staff and students can apply.  The deadline is Thursday 1 June.

Once this initial fund has been allocated, an ongoing programme fund will continue to support a number of Living Lab projects each year, so applications will always be welcome.  Further guidance is available on the Sustainability Service website.

The key to the Living Lab will be collaboration.  For example, campus services using the expertise of our researchers to resolve operational challenges; or students creating projects or dissertations that change the way we manage our campus.

If you’ve got any ideas or suggestions you can share them through Twitter or Facebook using the hashtag #LivingLabUoL, or contact Thom Cooper (30508) in the Sustainability Service.  The top three ideas will receive a £20 Refresh card which can be used at all Great Food at Leeds cafés!

Dennis Hopper, Director of Facilities Management said, “As a Facilities Directorate we want to work together with our colleagues from across the University to identify and test ways to sustainably develop and maintain our estate, facilities and services. We’re looking for innovative proposals that will drive real sustainable improvements to the way we manage the campus for the benefit of all.”

Lisa Roberts, Deputy Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation said “The Living Lab supports our existing research strengths and our commitment to interdisciplinary working at the University of Leeds. Collaboration across disciplines, and partnership with our Facilities colleagues, provides excellent opportunities for impactful research and real sustainable change across our campus and beyond.”

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