Living laboratory HELICAP

„Living laboratories” are a new form of cooperation between science and civil society. The living lab can be seen as a research format, which explicitly uses a transdisciplinary approach to directly  enable changes in "lifeworld". [1]

Key terms of living laboratory research:

Transformative research  takes into account actual societal problems with the aim of interventions. Transformative processes promote changes and actively support societal problems through the development of solution approaches.

Transdisciplinary research can be seen as a prime principle of integrative research and basic research direction in living laboratories. Transdisciplinary research addresses lifeworld problems and integrates scientific and practical knowledge.

Living laboratories are a new concept of transdisciplinary research. Living laboratories cover and investigate concrete social contexts. 

The diversity of actors describes the importance of involving non-scientific actors within transdisciplinary research processes. Practice concerns the lifeworld to a societal problem. Within the frame of a living laboratory, actors from practice provide day-to-day experience in the first place.

Living laboratories contribute to the answer to current societal problems. Therefore, their objectives differ from those projects based on scientific interest only:

  • system knowledge about structures and processes, variability
  • target knowledge, means the evaluation of the status quo, prognoses and scenarios
  • transformative knowledge means how can the transformation be organized (from status quo to target state).

The transdisciplinary research group

The objective of the transdisciplinary research group HELICAP is to evaluate the health literacy of new parents with the example of early childhood allergy prevention and the consideration of relevant stakeholders. The below figure illustrates aspects of transdisciplinary and transformative research within the living laboratory HELICAP:




[1] Di Giulio, Defila (Hg.) 2018 – Transdisziplinär und transformativ forschen.

[2] Sørensen K , Van den Broucke S, Fullam J, et al. Health literacy and public health: a systematic review and integration of definitions and models. BMC Public Health, 2012. 12: p. 80..