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Living labs and co-production: university campuses as platforms for sustainability science

Evans, James, Jones, Ross, Karvonen, Andrew, Millard, Lucy, Wendler, Jana
Current opinion in environmental sustainability 2015 v.16 pp. 1-6
consultants, employment opportunities, students, sustainability science and engineering, universities
Living labs and co-production are increasingly popular strategies for universities to address sustainability challenges and yet the links between them remain largely implicit. This paper discusses the potential of living labs to provide a holistic and iterative framework for the co-production of knowledge. The University Living Lab initiative was launched in 2012 to transform the University of Manchester campus into a site for applied teaching and research around sustainability. Its goal was to provide a framework for students and academics to engage with the opportunities to work with Estates staff and their environmental consultants on applied sustainability challenges. This paper discusses the generation of living lab projects, the design of the campus as a living lab, and institutional visibility, identifying the key strengths of the living lab approach and the challenges of applying it more broadly.