Oscar, developed and invented by SFU student Vivek Vyas, right, and SFU alumnus Hassan Murad, uses an AI-powered display and vision system to distinguish recycling from trash and offers visual cues to help users sort waste items. The robot has been installed at SFU's Surrey campus

What is Living Lab?

The Living Lab facilitates sustainability-themed research at SFU by creating structured collaborations between staff, faculty and graduate students. The program aims to provide opportunities for applied research and experiential learning that improves the sustainability of SFU's three campus communities where we study, work and live. SFU's Living Lab is a partnership initiative between the SFU Sustainability OfficeOffice of the Vice-President, Research and International, and Office of the Vice-President, Finance and Administration. It is made possible by the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS) and SFU’s Re-use for Good initiative.


Living Lab pilot research areas 

During the first pilot phase (2020-2021), Living Lab research projects will be focused on the following four research areas:

  • Building and fleet emissions: reducing SFU’s operational greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions
  • Renewable energy on campus: research solutions to shift SFU’s energy sources to renewables
  • Transportation emissions: reducing SFU’s transportation GHG emissions
  • Procurement and waste: reducing operational waste

These areas were chosen as they are the most active targets in the SFU 2025 Sustainability Plan. This plan provides the foundation for SFU’s sustainability and climate action efforts. To ensure Living Lab research projects are given mobilization and support, proposals are encouraged to explore topics within these areas. Proposals that considers the interconnection between climate mitigation and climate adaptation within these three areas is also encouraged.

For information please visit the Living Lab main page 


SFU’s Living Lab pilot is made possible through a collaboration between the following contributors:

SFU Sustainability Office

The SFU Sustainability Office is the university’s central unit supporting, developing and implementing institution-wide sustainability plans, policies, project and initiatives. The Sustainability Office also provides best practices services to scale student, faculty, and staff sustainability initiatives across all portfolios, units, and departments.

Office of the Vice-President, Research

SFU’s Office of the Vice-President, Research (VPR Office) serves to encourage, facilitate, administer and promote research at SFU; advocate for university research generally; and guide policy development at university and government levels. Led by the VPR Office, SFU’s 2016-2020 Strategic Research Plan positions the university to continue to grow its capacity in research and knowledge mobilization across diverse sectors. SFU has an international footprint of partnerships with 2947 institutions worldwide, in 125 countries.

Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions

The Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS) is a research and engagement network oriented toward delivering high-impact climate solutions that are actively applied by decision-makers.  PICS shares a global vision of net-negative greenhouse gas emissions by mid-century alongside all communities adapting to a changing climate. PICS is hosted and led by the University of Victoria in collaboration with the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University and the University of Northern British Columbia.