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.


This new Living Lab program offers applied research opportunities on campus

September 23, 2020

This fall SFU launches Living Lab, a new program that applies the university’s leading sustainability and climate research to its own infrastructure and facilities, testing innovative solutions on-site that can then be applied and scaled anywhere in the world.

Through experiential and applied research with teams of staff, faculty and graduate students, Living Lab facilitate an innovative new model for sustainability-themed research at SFU.

In the Living Lab program, SFU researchers can pilot and evaluate ideas and innovations on our own campuses; staff can make evidence-based decisions about new projects, and graduate students can contribute to timely applied research.

The Living Lab program uses external funding available to graduate students, awards funding, and relevant SFU staff to test research innovation ideas.

For the fall 2020 semester the Living Lab seeks sustainability projects on the following themes:

  • Reducing building and fleet greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions;
  • Researching solutions for transitioning SFU to renewable energy sources;
  • Reducing transportation GHG emissions; and
  • Reducing operational waste

The Living Lab program will accept research proposals until Oct. 30, 2020. Graduate students may submit proposals with the support of their faculty advisor. Learn more and submit your research proposal at www.sfu.ca/sustainability/livinglab.

The Living Lab approach to research will benefit many SFU community members:

  • Faculty: Living Lab creates campus-based research opportunities where faculty members can apply their expertise to university projects and/or use these projects as sites for research study. They will also work with seasoned external practitioners and benefit from their operational expertise.
  • Students: Students can work on sustainability research projects based on campus and developed by SFU faculty and staff. They’ll gain access to data sets on key topics related to their research interests.
  • Staff: Living Lab will connect staff to leading sustainability experts, creating opportunities to pilot solutions and make operational improvements to help meet institutional sustainability targets. Involving staff in research projects will also enhance staff engagement.

The SFU Living Lab is a partnership initiative between the SFU Sustainability Office, SFU’s Office of the Vice-President, Research and International, and SFU’s Office of 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.