University Campus Living Labs

Categories: journal article
Categories: journal article

Nyborg, S., Horst, M., O’Donovan, C., Bombaerts, G., Hansen, M., Takahashi, M., Viscusi, G., & Ryszawska, B. (2023). University Campus Living Labs: Unpacking Multiple Dimensions of an Emerging Phenomenon. Science & Technology Studies.

A paper from the SCALINGS project on co-creation across Europe

For you if… you are interested in the evolution of universities and science-society interfaces in 2023. We compare living labs in five European universities.

TL;DR: For all that living labs make a show of doing science with publics, it remains to be seen whether universities or their industry partners are willing to cede decision making power and governance in ways that are meaningful and enduring.

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Universities and their changing role in society is a source of perennial debate. In this article, we examine the emergent phenomenon of University Campus Living Labs (UCLL), the set of practices by which universities use their own buildings, streets or energy infrastructure as experimental settings in order to support applied teaching, research and co-creation with society. While most existing studies of UCLLs focus on them as sustainability instruments, we explore the UCLL phenomenon from an open-ended and fresh angle. Using living labs in five European universities as exemplary cases, we demonstrate the breadth and variability of this emerging phenomenon through five analytical dimensions to unpack the multiple forms and purposes that UCLLs can have. We furthermore consider aspects of inclusiveness and situatedness of living lab co-creation and testing and what the UCLL phenomena may come to mean for the continuously changing university, calling for future studies to substantiate these aspects.