What is Living Labs?

Through Living Labs, Transition enables links between practice, teaching and research in and around St Andrews. We aim to support students in having a direct and positive impact in the local environment and community.

The Living Lab approach enhances the student experience because students have practical, detailed and applied learning opportunities. It is also a tool for operational and professional staff to tap into the University’s research capabilities to improve sustainability in their own field of work. At Transition, we even encourage research into our own activities to advance our own work, scholarship and the wider sustainability agenda in St Andrews and beyond.

The benefits of Living Labs are plenty! 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.

We hope that in the long term, others can learn from our experiences and implement our activities in other communities. Living Labs is where you can think global and act local through research!

How does it work?

Earn coursework credit, develop professional skills, gain first-hand work experience, and advance the University of St Andrews’ sustainability goals. . All undergraduate and postgraduate students are able to select one of these projects as part of their dissertation/thesis/research project.

Projects range in topic, scope, and size, yet they all involve working with a staff ‘client’ on a current sustainability challenge in St Andrews.

Project outcomes can include: analysis ahead of hiring a consultant, quantitative or qualitative primary research, evaluations of existing projects, business plan development or communication plan development, procurement evaluations, testing of new ideas or technologies and behaviour change research.

Click below to scroll through possible research topics. If your area of interest is not there, do not worry! Contact us and we can discuss the possibilities.