The Living Labs Incubator at RWTH University
The Living Labs Incubator at RWTH University is a collaborative research infrastructure that explores Living Labs methods, strategies and settings.
What is a Living Lab?
Living Labs are the research facility of the future for technical universities to address societal challenges sustainably involving complex technologies as well as social innovations. Living Labs are:
- participative in the sense of being designed for, with and by citizens or users,
- context-sensitive by incorporating real-world settings such as households, regions, work environments, etc.
- sustainable, insofar as the life cycles of innovations and products are to be designed in an individually, socially and environmentally compatible way (e.g. rebound effects).
Living Labs combine knowledge from different actors and disciplines by integrating engineering, natural and life sciences with humanities and social sciences in novel ways. Living Labs require transdisciplinary knowledge transfer based on a wealth of (real-time) data. Therefore, Living Labs necessitate advanced, sensitive, and collaborative research data management in line with ethical guidelines and privacy regulations.
Typical application areas of Living Labs are "Living and Working", "City, Region and Mobility", and "Energy."
The Living Labs Incubator is part of the "Collaborate in Living Labs" measure of the Excellence Strategy of RWTH Aachen University - The recognized University of Excellence recieved funding for this measure in the third round of the Excellence Initiative of the German federal and state governments.
The funding period of the measure runs from the end of 2019 to the end of 2026.
The LLI team connects the Living Lab activities of RWTH Aachen University. It conducts research on Living Labs methods, strategies and settings as well as on the transformational, transdisciplinary and participatory potential of Living Labs. A list of the members of the LLI team can be found here.
Why a Living Labs Incubator at RWTH?
The Living Labs Incubator connects the RWTH Living Labs, explores challenges and opportunities for research with and through Living Labs and develops standards and metrics:
- Research: As a new and important platform for the transdisciplinary co-production of knowledge and innovation, Living Labs form the key unit of analysis of all research undertaken by the LLI.
- Analyze: The analysis looks at the implementation and impact of Living Labs at different levels and covers the complete cycle from method development to evaluation.
Inform: Information about general goals and concrete activities of Living Labs is bundled and made available to all interested parties.
Network: The LLI acts as a central hub in the network of different Living Lab activities locally and internationally.
Enable participation: Involving civil society in Living Lab research activities is of central importance. In this regard, the LLI cooperates with the city of Aachen.
- Support: Upon request, Living Lab conceptualizations are accompanied in an advisory capacity and supported in the search for funding opportunities.