University Campus Living Labs – From Ivory Tower To Sandbox

Sophie Nyborg, Cian O'Donovan, Mathieu Baudrin, Bozena Ryszawska, Gianluigi Viscusi, Heidi Gautschi, Makoto Takahashi, Meiken Hansen, Maja Horst

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


The function and missions of modern universities have been debated for a long time. Traditionally, universities have focused on conducting teaching and basic research, but notably in the last two decades, they have taken on a third ‘entrepreneurial mission’ to commercialize intellectual property and support the economic performance of the university, thus also engaging in new modes of knowledge production and partnerships (Gibbons et al, 1994, Etzkowitz & Leydesdorff, 2000). Lately, scholars are arguing that universities are also embracing a fourth mission of ‘co-creating for sustainability’ (Trencher et al, 2014) by leading university-society-industry partnerships to transform society. Moreover, they are increasingly embracing living labs as innovation instruments by developing living lab activities on their own university campuses (Evans et al 2015, Verhoef& Bossert, 2019), not only to co-create for sustainability, but also to support student entrepreneurship and innovation, and to conduct applied research. By drawing on data from seven universities across Europe, that in various ways lend their campuses to ‘real life experimentation’, this paper aims to take stock of the university campus living labs (UCLL) phenomenon. More specifically, we want to investigate, what the integration of living lab type of activities on university campuses and/or in university strategies mean for knowledge production and the way the universities function. In addition, we want to understand which benefits and challenges the specific university campus setting offers to the deployment of the living lab as an innovation instrument as compared to other urban settings.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Event4S/EASST Conference 2020: Locating and Timing Matters: Significance and Agency of STS in Emerging Worlds - Online Event
Duration: 18 Aug 202021 Aug 2020


Conference4S/EASST Conference 2020
LocationOnline Event


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