Surrey Living Lab logo


Our Living Lab builds on the University’s long heritage of investing in campus demonstrators and maps to key strategic research themes. While the initiative is an evolving concept, there are already many examples of the living lab approach across the University.


Our Living Lab links closely to the University’s strategic research themes:

There are also links to some of the key priorities in the government’s UK Industrial Strategy - a long-term plan for boosting the productivity and earning power of people throughout the UK. This strategy sets out four grand challenge themes aimed at putting the UK at the forefront of future industry:

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Ageing society
  • Clean growth
  • Future mobility.


The living lab approach is already being used in many ways across the University of Surrey. In addition to new projects which have been funded by our Living Lab, there are a number of existing Surrey research programmes which embody the living lab approach.

Collaborative research projects 2019 - 2020

Grants have been awarded to the following projects, some of which have had to be adapted due to the Covid-19 crisis.

Led by Professor Prashant Kumar, Global Centre for Clean Air Research (GCARE), Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. This is a Guildford Living Lab clean air project in collaboration with St Thomas Primary School, Merrow Residents’ association and GCARE.

The grant is helping to fund activities with the school and local community designed to enhance air quality around schools.

Contact Professor Kumar

Led by Professor Richard Murphy, Centre for Environment and Sustainability. The grant is being used to fund a programme of Climate Emergency presentations being made by the Guildford Environmental Forum (GEF) to help Guildford residents to better tackle the climate emergency.

Contact Professor Murphy

This research project is led by Professor Ravi Silva, Director of Surrey's Advanced Technology Institute, and Dr Mona Chitnis of the School of Economics. Funded by the Higher Education Innovation Fund, it runs from April 2020 to July 2020.

The project tackles the question of what will need to happen in the UK in order to achieve free, clean, equitable energy for all by 2035. Renewable and low carbon technologies are expected to be able to meet the world’s global energy demand in future, but how do we accelerate this transition?

The ‘at plug’ cost of solar power has come down dramatically over the last 20 years, and this trend is expected to continue.

This research project investigates the economic potential for solar power in the UK, and how we can move towards 'energy as a service'. By analysing the absolute cost associated with solar power (LCOE, NPV etc), the aim is to obtain evidence of the economic potential for 'free' solar power in the UK and be in a strong position to advise on long term energy policy.

Contact Professor Silva Contact Dr Chitnis

Led by Dr Shimaa Elkomy, Centre for Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity, this Sustainability in Healthcare project studies the effects of the adoption of sustainability measures and energy efficiency measures on key outcomes of the Royal Surrey County Hospital in terms of terms of staff satisfaction, patients' evaluation and quality of treatment.

Contact Dr Elkomy

Led by Dr Nikolas Thomopoulos, School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, this project is a collaboration with Surrey County Council and local SMEs.

The aim is to design and test the use of gamification and incentives to influence the travel behaviour of University students and staff. The objectives include reducing transport emissions and improving air quality and wellbeing by promoting active transport modes.

Contact Dr Thomopoulos

Led by Dr Ellie Ratcliffe, School of Psychology, Northwest (NW) Guildford 2030 is a collaborative project with the University’s Estates team which has been set up to help support the residents of north-west Guildford.

The grant is being used to engage with residents about the suggested improvements for their local area to address the impacts that poor maintenance, fly-tipping and high levels of air pollution is having on them.

Contact Dr Ratcliffe

Led Dr Yoo Ri Kim, School of Hospitality and Tourism Management (SHTM), this project aims to investigate the consumer journey and behaviour through their preferences to promotional offers on Guildford High Street using the SHTM digital lab.

The project is being conducted in collaboration with VisitSurrey and Beanstalk Social Ltd, and a prototype of Beanstalk Social’s application, Mozee, will be designed and tested by potential consumers using biosensor and virtual reality equipment.

Contact Dr Kim

Led by Nicola Andreij Rieg, Centre for Environment and Sustainability, in collaboration with the University’s Estates and Facilities Management team and Human Resources team.

This project aims to investigate how staff attitudes to home working have changed during Covid-19, and to explore the opportunities for more flexible working in the longer term, in order to reduce work-related travel.

Contact Nicola

Led by Dr Andrew Viquerat, School of Mechanical Engineering Sciences, in collaboration with the University's Estates and Facilities Management team and start-up company IPFT.

This project investigates the use of the University campus as a test-bed for autonomous (robotic), conductive, electric vehicle (EV) charging technology. The study will explore solutions for the University’s own fleet as well as student, staff and visitor vehicles, examine requirements and constraints, and draw up a plan to meet future EV charging needs on campus.

Contact Dr Viquerat

Led by Dr Chris Jones, School of Psychology, this research project looks at ways of reducing vehicle commuting and problem parking behaviour, increasing home-working and embedding more sustainable travel behaviours among staff and students at the University of Surrey.

The project is a collaboration across Surrey including the Estates and Facilities Management team, the School of Psychology, School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, and Centre for Environment and Sustainability and with external partners including SSE Enterprise.

Contact Dr Jones

Projects across the University

These projects, which are being conducted across the University, all adopt a living lab approach.

The Global Home Demonstrator project is led by Dr Christopher Jones and is funded by Innovate UK. It builds on an existing collaboration set-up to develop a new approach to home production. The project aims to demonstrate Global Home’s state-of-the-art modular, smart (digitally enabled) home concept on the University campus.

The University is working with Global Home and its partners (including BuroHappold, Bouygues), to provide an interdisciplinary package of pre and post-occupancy evaluation studies. These will focus on physical issues such as managing air quality and energy efficiency, as well as social scientific studies of occupant behaviour and matters relating to data-sharing, informed/implied consent, etc.

The project, which is worth £8m, is running for 24 months from April 2020 to March 2022.

Contact Dr Jones

Set up in 2016, the Guildford Living Lab programme is led by Professor Prashant Kumar, founding Director of the Global Centre for Clean Air Research (GCARE) within the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

The Guildford Living Lab aims to enhance community health and wellbeing by bringing together researchers, community and stakeholders to co-create, co-design and co-implement solutions for air pollution and climate change mitigation.

Contact Professor Kumar

This project is led by Professor Payam Barnaghi, Centre for Vision, Speech and Signal Processing.

The Technology Integrated Healthcare Management (TIHM) for Dementia programme was an NHS England-supported study aimed at enabling clinicians to remotely monitor the health of people with dementia living at home.

After a successful trial with over 150 people with dementia and their carers from Surrey and North East Hampshire, the technology was certified as a medical device in March 2019.

Contact Professor Barnaghi