“Get the commitment for the data before offering a Living Lab… ensure that the resources and systems are actually in place for it to happen” – Rosemary Horry, College Lead for Learning Enhancement/ Environmental Management/ Academic
Living Labs have been happening to some extent at University of Derby for several years (around 13 years). The formula for these tends to be engagement and partnership working between student, academic and estates staff, giving a tendency to focus on environmental sustainability and infrastructure.
Many of the Living Labs projects or initiatives that have taken place at University of Derby have been a result of keen and engaged academics connecting with estates staff to use the campus as a test bed for trialling a new or innovative approach from this, motivated students have then been brought into the partnership as key components to developing and progressing the work. Given this Living Lab development process, finding and incorporating opportunities for students with aligned interests and enthusiasm is essential. To date, where students have been actively involved with Living Labs, it has been as a part of their Independent Study.
There is a good level of support for Living Labs from the University’s Senior Leadership Team, which helps when working to develop new projects and bring in staff who are new to the concept. A common challenge can be ensuring opportunities are communicated in the right places to the right individuals. The academic leading on Living Labs at Derby, identified that a platform showcasing opportunities to students and staff would be highly beneficial when working to increase awareness and engagement.