Campus as a Living Laboratory

The Campus as a Living Lab approach integrates operational and academic sustainability in ways that challenge our campus to reach across traditional boundaries and address societal issues to affect real-world change at UBC and in the wider communities. 

The UBC campus provides an unique opportunity for students, faculty, staff and external UBC partners to test and pilot different applied research and learning projects, using campus land, natural resources, and other physical assets.

UBC students study invertebrates in the University Boulevard water feature
UBC students study invertebrates in the University Boulevard water feature

UBC is uniquely suited to leverage this opportunity to the fullest potential. This is because UBC is:

  • A community of over 80,000 students, faculty, staff, and residents
  • The owner and operator of campus utilities including electrical, heating, water and waste
  • Responsible for our own roads and infrastructure
  • Is a public institution and has a longer planning horizon than many other organizations
  • Is a place of higher education and supports student research and learning across all disciplines and fields 

The key goals behind the Campus as a Living Lab approach are:

  • Integrate - UBC's academic mission (research, learning and teaching) with university operations and communities
  • Collaborate - through partnerships between UBC and the private sector, other public sector organizations, or NGO organizations and others
  • Leverage - UBC’s academic community, through both student-led and faculty-led research 
  • Practice - sound financial use of UBC's resources and infrastructure
  • Create - research with the potential for practical, positive action at both UBC and broader communities

Learn more about Campus as a Living Laboratory from the UBC Sustainability Initiative. 

UBC’s Campus as Living Lab initiatives 

  • Bioenergy Research and Demonstration Facility (BRDF) Expansion: This bioenergy facility expansion will help UBC advance towards its Climate Action Plan 2020 target of 67% GHG emission reduction below 2007 levels.
  • TRIUMF: UBC is host to Canada’s particle accelerator centre that has a number of research programs that have a tremendous impact due in part to the opportunities provided by the UBC research community. 
  • Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at UBC Farm: The Centre for Sustainable Food System located at the UBC Farm, is a unique research centre that uses its university setting to explore and investigate local and global food system in pursuit of a more sustainable and food secure future.