Enabling research and real-world innovation on campus Enabling research and real-world innovation on campus

UEA's Living Lab connects the physical campus with our research and student enthusiasm, through technical innovation and student-led projects.

Students can propose and carry out projects across the University to improve UEA's sustainability. These projects are carried out directly on and with the buildings, grounds and operations of the University.

We are developing the UEA campus as a site for developing real-world skills around sustainability and low carbon:

  • Students gain project management and other CV skills, through real-world scenarios and projects
  • Researchers can link to Estates data and support for projects
  • The University gains insight into issues and potential solutions.

Propose new projects, get involved, or find out more

Students can take part in volunteer projects such as energy audits, or they can incorporate sustainability into their degree by using the University’s buildings and data as a case study in their research projects.

The Living Lab connects operational issues with student interests and academic needs. Projects could include surveys of staff and student attitudes, low carbon technology feasibility studies, or post-occupancy evaluation of buildings. They can be to meet an academic requirement, or from students’ personal interest in building practical experience and skills around sustainability.

Please note, UEA's Sustainability Team is not currently coordinating Living Lab projects. 

However, if you have ideas for projects or are interested in linking with existing projects on campus, please email the Sustainability Team and we shall endeavour to assist you.

Education for sustainable development at UEA

UEA views ESD through the lens of 'future skills'. What skills do our graduates need to be inspired and active members of a changing economy, environment and social arena? How can we as a university facilitate this through teaching and learning, both formal and informal?

Project ideas Project ideas

Here are some project areas and ideas that could be modified for specific projects. Projects can be carried out by individuals or groups. 

Please note, UEA's Sustainability Team is not currently coordinating Living Lab projects. 

However, if you have ideas for projects or are interested in linking with existing projects on campus, please email the Sustainability Team and we shall endeavour to assist you.

Tree planting on campus to offset event and fieldtrip emissions

Inspiration for potential UEA student projects with the Living Lab

Behavioural/ psychology

  • What practices can new students adopt through different interventions, and how can these students be encouraged to participate in ‘greening’ UEA? (in progress: PhD project on water saving, ENV; energy reduction project, ECO)
  • To what extent do UEA students value the UEA environment, and what influences their values? (planning stages: 2016 MSc research project)
  • What is the associated value of the UEA Green Impact Awards programme (through which the Sustainability Team aims to encourage positive behaviour change across campus)? What effect has it had on sustainability at UEA / what social benefits can be observed?

Biodiversity and grounds

  • Biodiversity audit of campus species (ongoing, via Dr Iain Barr, School of Biological Sciences).
  • Key species case studies; analysis of habitat creation or development success.

Built environment

  • Assess UEA residences with a thermal imaging camera, and identify key user issues affecting heating loss. Design a campaign to target key behaviours. (ENV practical)
  • Low carbon technology: (1) carry out a feasibility study to identify potential areas for investment in low carbon technology and produce a cost benefit analysis. (2) What is the perception of UEA’s sustainability and to what extent is is influenced by visible investment in low carbon technology?
  • Computer science: data modelling, three-dimensional analysis, virtual work. For example, ‘Assess the technological potential of the UEA estate for action towards a low carbon future’.


  • What affect does having an open, shared-use campus have on biodiversity: how could the University assess impact? How could UEA encourage more appropriate use of its green spaces by the UEA and local communities?
  • Post occupancy evaluation: How can our built environment affect wellbeing? Survey users of new buildings and assess the resulting data for (a) lessons to take into account in UEA’s future building projects (capital programme), and (b) issues needing resolution by Estates.
  • What opportunities, challenges and solutions result from an international campus community when engaging students in calls to recycle or be energy and water efficient?
  • Assess the language of environmentalism at UEA, and identify how this relates to the concept of ‘community’.

Energy and carbon

  • How can UEA reduce energy wastage from lighting? Carry out a lighting audit to identify high-energy areas and potential for replacement, or identify ‘unloved spaces’ with potential for presence sensor technology.
  • Lab equipment-use audits: what energy savings could we achieve? What could promote efficient, sustainable behaviours by lab users?
  • Business travel: How could UEA improve awareness of the carbon implications of business travel? What is our business travel carbon footprint? (Do we have an ethical imperative to consider carbon emissions alongside business travel need?)

Ethics and society

  • What are the ethical implications of purchasing specific items or commodities? How do or could ethics or political decisions impact on procurement needs of the University?
  • Assess the environmental and/or ethical implications of certain purchasing decisions [and work with procurement teams to create a whole life costing approach to UEA procurement].
  • How can we relate UEA’s socio-cultural context to its treatment of ethical or environmental issues?
  • To what extent can film inspire pro-environmental behaviours in the student body?

Travel and transport

  • Video conferencing: what are the barriers to take-up? How could UEA improve confidence in the technology?
  • GIS mapping: Where do UEA staff/ students commute from – what opportunities are there to support or target specific modes of sustainable travel?