Photo someone using a laptop with graphics representing sustainability

How do Living Labs increase engagement with research?

Universities use living labs to connect researchers with the outside world and captivate new audiences.

Why would we be writing about the idea of a Living Lab? Well, here at Pixelshrink, our focus is on building research project websites, maintaining these sites, and getting them in front of the right eyes. Ultimately, we’re all about accessibility – making research accessible to all through digital means – and supporting engagement and impact efforts with a wider audience.

That’s why we’re so interested in the concept of living labs. It’s become something of a buzzword in the research sector. But to us, it’s much more than that. It’s yet another way of connecting research with the broader community, and taking it beyond the lab into real-world environments.

Working together to change the world

Living labs work to connect researchers in the lab with other research organisations, government agencies, private companies, and even the general public. They facilitate the development of open innovation networks. Here, everyone can come together to shape and inspire the creation of new solutions to real-world challenges, co-created by the very people that are facing those challenges. 

The idea of living labs is to break down the barrier that exists between the people experiencing problems in their day-to-day lives, and the people that are attempting to solve these problems. They use citizen-generated data to ensure any new developments are created with the user in mind. 

It means that solutions to real-world problems are being created in the real world, rather than inside the four walls of the lab. Overall, living labs are about taking research beyond the lab. This is something we truly believe in, and it’s at the very heart of what we do here at Pixelshrink.

Living lab examples

The University of Nottingham campus who is creating a Living lab

At Pixelshrink, we’re very proud to work with the University of Nottingham. We’ve helped them to create an accessible website for their Nottingham Climate Emergency Design Initiative (CEDI). And as part of the university’s commitment to fighting climate change, they’ve joined forces with a Glasgow-based climate technology firm to create a living lab. They’re inviting undergraduate students to participate in a wider range of projects designed to boost decarbonisation in the built environment.

Another of our clients, the University of Strathclyde, has created a living lab to develop tailored solutions built around the needs of the local community. To date, researchers have worked closely alongside the public to co-create new and innovative ways to improve physical activity for caregivers, ensure better medicine management for older people, and build 3D displays for care consultations.

How we’re supporting living labs

We believe that when we listen, and when we collaborate, we can solve problems together. And we’re thrilled to be working closely with researchers and educational institutions to help them promote awareness of their living labs, and demonstrate their power with others outside the lab. 

We’re proud to be working with the University of Strathclyde to digitise some of their most impressive living labs case studies. These inspirational and powerful stories are being uploaded onto digital kiosks in various locations around the campus. They’re helping to create a more inclusive research environment where students, staff, and faculty members are invited to be part of real-world change. 

If you’re keen to put your living lab on the map, we’re here to help. Get in touch to find out more.

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