Creating a great European campus network by bringing climate innovation research to the market

Whilst universities are generating a great deal of climate relevant research, much of it never makes it any further than campus archives. The pathfinder project Sustainable Campus, Launching Customer (SCLC) aims to bridge the societal demand for climate innovation and the scientific knowledge supply from a network of nine European university campuses.

The climate change issue

Although universities have the potential to be leading change agents in both climate change mitigation and adaptation they are, in many respects, coming up short. Accordingly, many of the innovative ideas developed at universities are  not taken any further than the research stage. The general scientist is by no means a commercial entrepreneur, which is a bottleneck to bringing scientific breakthroughs to the market. Consequently, a great amount of potentially significant innovations is being ignored, while very few are actually being implemented. This pathfinder project, SCLC, aims to bridge this systemic gap through novel approaches, both at campus level and between the different universities involved, creating an asset from their specific regional context. 

The project solution

 The aim of this pathfinder project is to expose groundbreaking incentives from Europe’s leading universities in order to stimulate climate change innovation. All universities engaged with SCLC have a shared research interest in sustainability and high ambitions for their campus. They address a great variety of focus areas, ranging from local energy use to implementing low carbon transport systems. In most of the cases the campus is used as a ‘scientific playground’ to make testing in practice possible.

 Within SCLC a campus-network is being developed. Later on the regional demand for innovation will be articulated and the means to move promising ideas forward will be provided. Last but not least, the innovations will be tested on different campuses and implemented in the right markets throughout Europe.

A range of case studies, value cases, and business plans will be analysed and made accessible to universities. In this way they can develop their own innovation strategies and corresponding action plan, so that finally, more of Europe’s research in climate innovation will find its appropriate way to practice.

 Climate-KIC’s role

“For this pathfinder project, being mostly about defining opportunities, we found many motivated counterparts with Climate-KIC’s partner universities. This means working with the most ambitious and enthusiastic people representing different campuses all over Europe. They really believe in the project and are enthusiastic about sharing their insights and getting into action.” 
Gertjan de Werk, TU Delft