Applied Science faculty win all UBC Campus as a Living Lab ‘Grand Challenge’ awards

Aerial view of UBC's campus
The Campus as a Living Lab 'Grand Challenge' called for visionary approaches to how BC and Canada can effectively respond to the climate emergency. This year's winning projects hail from the Faculty of Applied Science and will share $600K in funding.
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UBC Faculty of Applied Science researchers have won all three awards in UBC's Campus as a Living Lab 'Grand Challenge'.

The Campus as a Living Lab 'Grand Challenge' called for visionary approaches to how British Columbia and Canada can effectively respond and adapt to the climate emergency.

The three recipients across both UBC Vancouver and Okanagan campuses will share $600,000 in funding.

At the heart of UBC's Campus as a Living Lab (CLL) initiative lies a transformative concept: leveraging the unique campus environment as a collaborative framework for researchers, students, staff and external partners.

This approach enables the rapid exploration, development and testing of innovative ideas, with the campus serving as both a testbed and a showcase for sustainability solutions. It emphasizes the integration of academic research, operations, community engagement, and supports UBC’s commitment to equity and inclusion.

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Red staircase

Blending creativity and research excellence to address the climate emergency

This year's competition, attracting faculty and staff from more than 22 academic departments and operational units across UBC Vancouver and Okanagan, showcased an incredible array of innovative proposals, blending creativity with research excellence.

With a total funding pool of $600,000, including two $250,000 awards for UBC Vancouver campus teams, and one $100,000 award for a UBC Okanagan campus team, the competition raised the standard for developing impactful research ideas.

Managed by the Sustainability Hub, the CLL Grand Challenge proposals underwent a detailed peer-review process by faculty and staff, and evaluations by the respective UBC Vancouver and Okanagan Campus Living Lab Steering Committees, who made the final funding decisions.

"The dedication of our researchers, campus operations staff, and our interdisciplinary partnerships to sustainability and innovation was vividly reflected in the projects submitted to the Campus as a Living Lab Grand Challenge competition. We look forward to seeing the impact of the Grand Challenge winning projects as they advance our collective response to the climate emergency," said Rachel Fernandez, Associate Vice-President, Research and Innovation.

Three innovative projects, strengthening UBC’s sustainability leadership

The recipients of the CLL Grand Challenge are as follows:

Looking forward

This year's CLL Grand Challenge is a testament to the power of collaborative innovation and the pursuit of research excellence at UBC. The scale of funding and the calibre of the projects selected this year reflect UBC's unwavering dedication to being at the forefront of tackling critical sustainability issues and climate change challenges.

"We are very excited by the opportunity that these innovative projects will provide to advance research and contribute to operational solutions for climate action and resiliency at UBC and beyond," said John Metras, Associate Vice-President, Facilities, UBC.

The Sustainability Hub welcomes inquiries from faculty and operational experts to explore future CLL projects and opportunities, within and beyond the framework of the competition. The annual CLL Fund Competition will open again for project proposals in September 2024.  

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