The Campus as Living Lab Framework provides a systematic description of innovation projects combining campus and local/regional sustainability, research mobilisation, student learning, civil society towards societal challenges.
The Framework is developed for practitioners setting up or managing Living Labs in and around University Campuses, such as Sustainability Coordination Officers (SCOs). Initial Living Labs for Sustainability can be set up and handled as projects, as as they have a beginning and most probably as well a clear end of financial resources but as engagement- and empowerment processes are time consuming processes and are based on trust, they have to be considered as well as continuously ongoing processes. In co-creation meetings ideas have to be developed and research questions defined out of them, with changing participants and stakeholders. With this understanding the once started process has a big potential but demands as well responsible interacting and tailored communication plans to provide and share information with each stakeholder to keep the empowerment process ongoing.
The system has seven categories with underlying parameters (both binary and textual).
- General: a summary of the Living Lab location, key contacts, status, timelines and budget
- Scope: the problem being addressed, historical details to the problem, the context, and the key sustainability ‘theme’ being addressed
- Participants and Co-Creators: different stakeholders and ways in which they are engaged
- Organisation: leading organisations, partnerships, potential risks
- Outcomes: anticipated (and actual) sustainability outcomes in relation to the problem being addressed, as well as anticipated (and actual) educational, research and engagement outcomes
- Impact: wider impacts outside of the Living Lab boundaries
- Reflection and Review: evaluation of the Living Lab products and processes
The framework is designed to support the implementation and monitoring of an effective Living Lab learning system, through its six categories of data collection. Depending on the stage of the project or the user of the framework, they may choose to engage with the framework on three different levels, and at three different stages as per list below: Planning, Monitoring, Review.
There are three levels
- Level I: Overall and basic information about the Living Lab. This assists in the initial description of the Living Lab, including outlining of the ‘problem’ being addressed and the anticipated broad outcomes and user groups. This Level relates to the early part of Stage 1, the Planning stage.
- Level II: This refers to the collection of more precise information and parameters for the project, including specific outcome metrics, and anticipated numbers from different stakeholder groups. This Level encourages more detailed planning (Stage 1 - Planning), and also more detailed monitoring (Stage 2) and review (Stage 3), considering a greater range of questions and more detailed analysis.
- Level III: The Living Lab ‘toolbox’. This Level refers to guidance provided within the framework as to the tools, methods and techniques that can support the setting up, running, communicating, monitoring, and reviewing of a Campus Living Lab with various stakeholders from inside and outside the university community
The framework has been devised with the view to encourage sustainability changes in a number of different contexts, but keeping in mind the relevance of necessary changes in the university context the Living Lab as some specific characteristics/conditions:
- participants: should include at least partly at university community and should strive to have as many different types of participants as possible
- location: should involve facilities or services which are delivered at least partly on a university campus
- scalability: should involve issues which are also relevant outside university campus context
- own knowhow: should have a minimum involvement students and researchers from the university (campus) under study but