Cohort 4 Kick Off

All of the students from both universities met today at the Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce offices. We have about ten students from both institutions, which is always our goal. Shifting from Wednesday mornings to Wednesday afternoons seems to have made this possible.

We did the usual ‘meet and greet’ type of game to mingle the students and let them know one another better before introducing ourselves and what CityLab is all about. It was good to hear students saying that they wanted to work with other students as a group and gain experience ‘doing’ things. It’s also always amazing to hear the diversity of backgrounds of disciplines as well as home countries of the students.


This term we also using the Vanguard Challenges adopted by the Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce as our starting point for the student challenges for the ideation phase next week. We spent a long time discussing them in general before asking  for a ‘dot vote’ of them by the students. Each student had ‘three dots’ to use across the eight challenges.

  1. What will it take to get this region on the map as a serious European short break destination and what iconic attraction would help us to achieve this?
  2. How could a world class events programme in the region drive in-bound tourism as well as making this an even better place to live and what might this look like?
  3. How do we make sure we retain graduates and our very best talent in the North-east?
  4. What would be required to make sure any future capital/city of culture bid was successful?
  5. How do we make Aberdeen a ‘cool’ place for residents, students and visitors?
  6. The North-east is already Scotland’s capital for food and drink production; how do we bring this to life for local consumers and visitors?
  7. What will it take to make the people of the area fall back in love with Union Street?
  8. How can we build on the success of Buy North-east to promote a culture of local procurement?

The votes ended up as follows:

  1. votes: 4
  2. votes: 3
  3. votes: 6
  4. votes: 5
  5. votes: 16
  6. votes: 6
  7. votes: 9
  8. votes: 1

This was a ‘gauging interest’ vote, so we’ll see what happens next week when we dig into the top challenges next week and thus focus on the specific challenges of each team. If we end up with the ‘cool Aberdeen’ and ‘make Union Street great again’ as the top two there is still much that could happen within each of these areas. It is this variety of potential challenges, which makes the CityLab programme so exciting.


Register for CityLab this Year

CityLab will be running again both terms this year. We allow ten students per term, per university, so now is your chance to sign up before it’s full.

Go register at University of Aberdeen (PD3002 or PD3502), or Robert Gordon University (BS2315 Business Project 1, or BS2316 Business Project 2, os as ‘Extra-Curricular Activity’ under the ‘Study Skills and Access’ part of MyMoodle/MyCourses/(General Study Area) and – speak to Jon Penally about options) to take part this term, or in the later term to start in January. The classes meet from 14:00 – 17:00 each Wednesday.

This is your chance to help make Aberdeen a better city. All project ideas are generated by the students and guided by staff through their development with the intention that each project idea could be sustainably be carried forward by someone from Aberdeen City Council, or by an interested city partner. Go read the update to see what’s happened so far after three rounds of the class.

Student CityLab Projects Update

We have had three cohorts of students and each cohort has enabled something new to develop in Aberdeen. As a student you can make lasting change in the city. You can start the ball rolling in one term.

The first cohort enabled a waste food reduction project to generate an income for participants. ‘Fit Dish‘ has become ‘Tuk In‘ at CFine as is set to be launched in the near future to help reduce food poverty in Aberdeen, while also helping in the training of people in the food industry.

The second explored how the city might use high-tech park benches to enable better social support. The ‘Living Spaces‘ team will see their idea of park benches with mobile recharging points and wifi hotpots deployed in four sites across Aberdeen soon.

The third project will provide more energy and information from pedestrians. The ‘Next Step Energy‘ team proposed energy generating pressure pads being placed in the city centre to provide energy, data about foot traffic, and displays of varying sorts for the community. The city has decided to fund this so that a trial can be run near Market Street and Union Street in the coming year.

We wonder what will the next cohorts in 2017-2018 offer the city. Come be part of the teams that decide on the topics, and put together the pitches. Maybe your idea will become reality.