The Brussels Research Open Lab results from the shared ambition of both the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and Université Libre de Bruxelles to encourage engaged research and learning activities.  Waiting to settle at the bi-university Usquare-campus, the lab serves as a hybrid interface between the academic world and Brussels city actors. New ways of teaching, learning and research are being explored and tinkered. Broad societal and scientific topics are explored and approached from diverse perspectives. The OpenLab allows both universities to learn with and from one another, sharing tools and resources, and join forces with an ambition to movetowards a more sustainable, inclusive and just Brussels.

The OpenLab connects people with diverse backgrounds who want to shape projects together, whether they concern societal, economical, or ecological transitions. The OpenLab brings together students, academics, citizens, entrepreneurs, actors from civil society and public managers to create collaborative learning and research communities. The exchanges generated in the OpenLab are meant to tackle today’s complex socio-ecological challenges, building on both academic as well as more experience-based knowledges and practices. This is done through partnerships, joint teaching and research activities, project work, and public events. As such, it’s not only a welcoming physical place but also a digital space, and an ever-evolving network and toolbox.

The OpenLab explores society defined research questions, with an aim to inspire sustainable transitions. It intends to establish a shared, co-managed, multilingual, and deeply transdisciplinary workspace focused on common practices that make sense for citizens and concordantly generates scientifically robust and useful research and learning activities. Synergies between academic and non-academic actors are important and empowering for all, they help nurture the crucial dialogue of trust between universities and civil society with a conscience of togetherness and reciprocity. It is also a way to strengthen our openness to the world, serving society according to a model that goes beyond classic economic valuation and where disciplines and frames of references can be joyfully mixed. It’s a way for both universities to capitalize on and structure the expertise they have already acquired through community engaged-, participatory and transdisciplinary work.