29 June 2016

Great turnout for annual Eco Bicester Living Lab conference

The annual Eco Bicester Living Lab (EBLL) conference was held at the new Franklins House building in the centre of Bicester on Tuesday 7 June 2016.

EBLL is a collaborative initiative co-founded by Bioregional and Oxford Institute for Sustainable Development (Oxford Brookes University) with support from Cherwell District Council and A2Dominion (lead developer of Northwest Bicester, the UK’s first eco-town). It provides an umbrella for all research and innovation projects happening in Bicester that are underpinned by academic rigour and contribute to sustainable development in the town. The aim is to share knowledge and learning happening in Bicester with industry, policymakers and the voluntary sector.

Over 50 policymakers, sustainability practitioners and academics attended the EBLL conference. Opened by Councillor Wood of Cherwell District Council, the afternoon was full of informative presentations from leading experts from academia and industry.

Delegates heard updates and outcomes from research and innovation projects seeking to transform the existing and new built environment within Bicester, including:

  • the innovative retrofit of the Garth (home to Bicester Town Council)
  • BEPIT (closing the performance gap at NW Bicester)
  • Bicester Moves (a reuse and waste reduction project managed by Bicester Green)

Presentations were also made by Ridge Architects, Loughborough University, University of Oxford and PRP architects.

The conference also marked the launch of the EBLL PhD study which aims to evaluate the actual performance of NW Bicester exemplar development. The three-year study is funded by Oxford Brookes University 150 th Year studentship, with financial support also coming from Bioregional, Cherwell District Council and A2Dominion.

Delegates also heard about upcoming projects happening in the town, including local energy mapping for urban retrofit and creation of a green infrastructure toolkit.

Posters showcasing the various research and innovation projects in Bicester were displayed throughout the conference.

The afternoon was closed by the Chief Executive and Co-Founder of Bioregional, Sue Riddlestone OBE. She said: “Bicester has 3 ‘ambitions’: to be an eco town, a garden town, and a healthy new town. The Eco Bicester Living Lab brings together the academic rigour and evidence base to ensure these ambitions will be achieved.

Professor Rajat Gupta, founder Co-Director of EBLL and Director of the Oxford Institute for Sustainable Development at Oxford Brookes University said: "Eco Bicester Living lab initiative demonstrates the vital role that cross-sector initiatives can play in initiating strategic projects for delivering town-wide sustainability goals. The annual conference of EBLL is becoming a key platform for sharing insights and learning from the range of sustainability related projects happening in Bicester."

Nicole Lazarus, Bioregional Oxfordshire Programme Manager and Co-Director of EBLL said: "The Eco Bicester Living Lab 2016 conference had some brilliant guest speakers and an enthusiastic pool of delegates that helped to promote Bicester as a Centre for Excellence in research and innovation on sustainability. The conference provided a great deal of informative discussions and anticipation for next year’s conference."

The programme for the conference is available here and presentations are available here.

More information can be found on the Eco Bicester Living Lab website here -