On January 15, 2020, we began implementing the Climate Labs project. This project aims to strengthen applied research and innovation capacities in 10 Latin American Universities in Mexico, Brazil, and Colombia through co-creation laboratories for climate change mitigation and adaptation, accompanied by European expert institutions and Ashoka.
From March 3 to 5, 2020, we held our Kick-off meeting where representatives of the consortium institutions participated. The kick-off included executive management sessions, review of work packages, commitments, and deliverables, and the first workshops methodological transfer from European universities to Latin American ones.
When we formulate the project, we dream of generating changes within our institutions concerning how our university communities perceive, adapt or mitigate climate change. However, before changing, we must know what do we want to change? How do we want to change it? The kick-off was the propitious scenario to identify our universities’ current state, place ourselves at our starting point, and propose the impacts that we want to generate within our institutions and, of course, in the society that surrounds us. Carrying out this participatory and collaborative exercise in the kick-off meeting allowed the European institutions and Ashoka to plan the methodology better to implement knowledge and the development of the work packages.
Thus, on the first day of the Kick-off meeting, the University of Lorraine presented its experience on Living Labs and how the laboratory proposes solutions to territorial problems through applied research in coordination with the university, company, state.
On the second day, all the consortium members visited the University of Caldas’ bioprocess plant, which has been operating since 2012 and is in charge of transforming waste through biotechnological processes into products and by-products for the pharmaceutical, environmental, and food industry.
Also, the University of Genoa held its workshop on climate change practices and regional regeneration, grassroots social innovation, social innovation evaluations, and climate change innovation criteria.
On the third day, we visit the Botanical Garden of the University of Caldas. This living laboratory accompanies the academic programs’ pedagogical processes that require biological, ecological, agronomic, and artistic training.
In the afternoon, it was the turn of the Polytechnic University of Valencia, which worked on applied social innovation, proposing a growth methodology on what was built, identifying each institution’s capacities, and searching for territorial needs through citizen participation and processes of co-creation.
Finally, on the last day of our kick-off meeting, we held the forum for applied research on climate change, where the Monterrey Institute of Technology, Guadalajara campus (Mexico), University of Quindío (Colombia), and University of Caldas (Colombia) shared successful cases.
Climate Labs must be spaces for co-creation and consultation between universities, civil society, local and regional entities, and non-governmental organizations. Through social innovation, we seek to link the different actors in the territories to think and act together, in this case, to respond to the challenges of climate change.
24/06/2021 - 15h40