Impression of the Lausanne Network meeting (26-29 May 2015)

Lausanne city and University (UNIL) are in the process of learning how to set up a structural collaboration, and seek to discover where and when this brings an added value. A peer review meeting was organised from 26th to 29th May 2015 in Lausanne, with the view to learn from other European university-city tandems and to obtain recommendations. 24 representatives of the EUniverCities network (from the cities/universities of Aalborg, Delft, Ghent, Linköping, Magdeburg, Norrköping, Parma and Trondheim), came to Lausanne. The aim of the meeting was to share with our European partners a range of collaboration models, to learn from each other how to handle collaboration at the governance level, for the mutual benefit of the city and the university. The participants were invited to reflect on two key questions:

DAY 1/ Science in the city: how can researchers and city officers take advantage of each other, by making scientific expertise available for city development on one hand, or by offering real life situations to scientists on the other hand?

This first day, organised in the City Hall, began with a plenary session where a variety of speakers from UNIL and the City of Lausanne presented examples of current collaborations: how they emerged, worked and developed. Each speaker discussed about the pitfalls and challenges he has to face and opportunities offered to develop theses collaborations. The “Volteface project” (www.volteface.ch) that links social research to the energy transition in the city was one of the presented examples. After a short “state of the art” report presenting the typology of existing collaborations, a Q&A session and a city tour, interactive workshops were organised. The participants reflected more deeply on these presentations and shared examples about their own practices and the tools and models used in their city/ university.

DAY 2/ Campus as a living lab: can the campus and its community be a testing ground for projects that might later be further rolled out/implemented in an urban environment?

The second day took place in the UNIL campus and followed the same presentation/ peer reviewing construction.

The meeting was organized at the same time as the yearly open door event of the University, called “UNIL’s Mysteries” (wp.unil.ch/mysteres/), which benefits of the participation of Lausanne city. The topic of the 2015 edition was about human and social aspects of sustainability. The participants at the EUniverCities meeting had the opportunity to investigate (together with several hundreds of school class kids) and discuss what might be the right way to give kids and families a scientific hint about such questions, in a science based but entertaining way.

The last day was dedicated to the future of the EUniverCities network. The future strategy of the network, development of new projects and activities were the main topics discussed.

A report summarizing the outcomes of the peer reviews will be published soon on the website.
Presentations are available on the website.

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