Social Responsibility and Sustainability

The University as a Living Lab

For us, treating the University as a Living Lab means using our own academic and student research capabilities to solve social responsibility and sustainability issues relating to our infrastructure and practices.

LL SRS living lab architecture studio

Collaborative Living Lab projects can provide answers and guidance for operations and professional services staff, real-life learning opportunities for students, and opportunities for research impact for academics.

We collaborate with researchers and students across the University, and partner with Edinburgh Living Lab, an initiative set up by a team of academics from Informatics, Social and Political Science, and Design.

What makes a Living Lab project?

A Living Lab project should aim to:

  • Solve a real life problem
  • Be based on a partnership among key stakeholders, often crossing disciplinary and/or sectoral boundaries
  • Use existing and newly generated quantitative and qualitative data, embracing digital technologies where possible
  • Trial and test ideas in real life settings – to further refine solutions proposed
  • Share data and analysis generated openly, for the Living Lab to continue

Living Lab project checklist

If you’re working with SRS on a Living Lab project, please refer to this checklist.

More information

To learn more about how to carry out a Living Lab project, see our toolkit and case studies below, and browse the research priorities for project ideas.

For further background on the Living Lab approach at the University, read our 2015 report completed by postgraduate student Patrycja Graczyk:

 

Living Lab case studies

LL SRS case studies - notebook and pen
Case study examples of Living Lab projects and courses at the University of Edinburgh.

Living Lab toolkit

SRS toolkit - spanner
In collaboration with Edinburgh Living Lab, we have created guidance on different aspects of running a Living Lab project.

Living Lab projects database

research
This database allows you to view and search for new Living Lab project ideas, and information on past projects, related to different SRS themes.

Get in touch

We invite interested academics, students and operational/professional services staff to get in touch if you are interested in working on Living Lab projects, or would like to share project ideas.

Students are also encouraged to view our current placement and volunteering opportunities.

Liz Cooper

Research & Policy Manager

Contact details

Availability

  • Before completing an MSc in Business & Community, Liz worked on fair trade & livelihoods projects in India and Senegal for a number of years. She joined the University in 2012 to work on supply chain social responsibility, and currently leads the department’s Fairness in Trade and Sustainable Procurement Programme, including research, policy development, and collaboration with the Procurement Office on implementation. She also contributes to work on responsible investment, and leads work on developing a Living Lab approach – linking academic research to practice in the University on SRS issues.