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University of Cambridge Decarbonisation Network


Message from Cambridge Zero: 

What is a Living Lab?

The purpose of a university or college Living Lab is to address real-world institutional problems using a dynamic partnership between all the institution's stakeholder groups. It facilitates and enables collaborations that liberate intellectual potential and address practical challenges. A Living Lab does not necessarily demand significant additional resources, it simply helps identify existing ones and redirects them to the right areas [1]

There is huge potential for Living Labs to formally address global sustainability challenges. A Living Lab encourages the co-creation and co-implementation of transformations through transdisciplinary efforts, over a series of learning loops, to sustainably develop a geographically bounded testbed.

Examples of current and previous Living Labs at the University of Cambridge include (but not limited to):

Scope of this Call

Cambridge Zero and the Decarbonisation Network are working together to fund up to four small Living Lab demonstrator projects which should be applicable to the University of Cambridge's estate and operations. Projects should aim to use innovative research-based approaches to explore practical decarbonisation and sustainability. We are looking for Living Lab proposals that can demonstrate a benefit and positive impact to buildings and/or operations and must be applicable to the University estate in some way.

Your proposal should include some form of industry involvement/collaboration, to demonstrate “real world” application, however it must be led by and only fund University employees, preferably in the Early Career Researcher community.

Maximum funding available for each project is £4,500. Projects are expected to start in October 2023 and should be completed by the end of January 2024.

Progress monitoring will take place during the length of the project, to ensure it is on track and within budget, as no further funding is available.

We will expect to receive a final report and presentation at a symposium in early 2024 (to be arranged).

If interested please email Tom Twitchett for the application form. 

Deadline for submissions: Friday 22nd September 2023 at 23.59


 Universities as the engine of transformational sustainability toward delivering the sustainable development goals: “Living labs” for sustainability’, Wendy Maria Purcell, Heather Henriksen, John D. Spengler, [online], International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, ISSN: 1467-6370, Open Access. Article publication date: 20 June 2019