The University Living Lab initiative has one simple aim – to apply the knowledge and research capacity of students and staff to the real world challenges that face the University campus.
The campus is a key enabler of the University 2020 vision and at some 85 Hectares in size faces similar challenges to a rapidly developing small town, from reducing carbon and sustainable procurement to environmental design and behaviour change. At the same time, the University houses a huge amount of expertise in sustainability and low carbon technologies. Students are increasingly interested in working on real life problems that are relevant to them, while research funders value applied research and impact. This all adds up to a great opportunity to trailblaze new ideas and solutions for sustainability... on our doorstep.
With the help of funding from the University of Manchester Research Institute and numerous staff who generously made time to speak to us, the University Living Lab initiative has mapped sustainability activity and expertise across the four faculties and Professional Support Services. This network of people and projects has been turned into a searchable website to help academics, students and Professional Support Staff to find each other. The site hosts case studies of successful projects relating to both research and teaching. It also has live opportunities to work with the Estates Directorate, many of which are associated with the £1 billion relocation of the North Campus, and provides information on how to propose projects to work with them.
The University Living lab initiative has been generously funded by the University of Manchester Research Institute and the Higher Education Innovation Fund.