The University of St Andrews has an agenda to “promote sustainable development throughout our community, in what we research, in what we teach and in how we behave”. Part of this strategy is achieved through using the University campus as a case study for testing and researching different aspects of sustainability. This Living Lab approach enhances the student experience because students have practical, detail and applied learning opportunities and provides a tool for operational and professional staff to use the University’s research capabilities to study their own practices in order to improve sustainability. We study our own activities in order to advance sustainability scholarship in St Andrews and beyond.

Benefits of Living Labs

World-wide Universities are exploring the benefits of the Living Labs concept because of the opportunities it offers:

University of Cambridge Living Labs 2014-15 Report

The University of St Andrews is uniquely suited to act as a living laboratory. Indeed, we have examples of this sort of applied learning and co-creation of solutions since 2008. We own and operate our own utilities, including a district heating scheme based at the Eden Campus, and manage 300 hectares of land. As owner-occupiers of this substantial institution we can be, and have been, innovators in areas that others may not be as equipped or prepared to do so.

As owner-operators of this extensive institution, we are able to be early innovators in areas where others may not be as suitably prepared or equipped. We are making great strides to transform our campus into a vibrant and sustainable community. We hope that in the long term, others can learn from our experiences and implement our activities in other communities.

The Living labs Programme advances campus sustainability by creating partnerships between students, operational & professional staff, and academic staff on innovative and applied research projects

students – how it works

Earn coursework credit, develop professional skills, gain first-hand work experience, and advance the University of St Andrews’ sustainability goals. Projects range in topic, scope, and size, yet they all involve working with a staff ‘client’ on a current sustainability challenge in St Andrews.

Click here for available projects