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Living Labs Manager I 12 Months FTC

Type: contract
Location: London
Reference: CPC279

Who Are We? 

Connected Places Catapult (CPC) is the UK Centre of Excellence for urban innovation and mobility with a role to catalyse the innovation market in the UK and globally. From our centres across the UK and globally, we provide world-class facilities and expertise to support the development of new products and services, as well as opportunities to collaborate with others, test ideas and develop business models.


Project background

60% of your time will be working on the Urban Links Africa Project. The project’s goal is to facilitate sustainable collaborations between the UK, South Africa and Kenya by bringing together cities and tech ecosystems through equitable partnerships and industry investment, to address African cities’ key challenges and improve life for citizens. Funded by Innovate UK, Urban Links Africa (ULA) – which began in September 2019 and will run until April 2021 – will pilot market-led solutions to urban challenges in Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu in Kenya; and Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban in South Africa.

The ULA programme will recruit innovative technology companies in Kenya, South Africa and the UK to develop joint solutions to urban challenges.

40% of your time will be spent developing the Connected Places Catapult living labs and testbed offer and new projects.


Purpose of the role  

Connected Places Catapult is looking for an Living Labs Manager to own the development and delivery of world class technology testbed and living lab programmes. Our testbeds exist to drive the deployment of new products and services from innovative SMEs that apply technology to urban challenges.

The Living Labs Manager plays an important role in enabling Connected Places Catapult to successfully meet its strategic objectives. The Living Labs Manager will be expected to bridge the gap between CPC technical teams such as; urban technology, data science, software engineering as well as multiple external stakeholders. As a Living Labs Manager, you will support the delivery of our testbed and living labs projects. You will work closely with a broad range of stakeholders to design compelling products and services that deliver against our organisational objectives.

You will be joining a multidisciplinary team of IoT specialists, technologists, solution architects and product designers, user-experience designers, service designers, insight specialists, software engineers, data scientists and data engineers. The majority of our work is at an early-stage of development, so experience of co-design, living lab experiments and developing solutions to complex challenges is essential.

Our testbeds are open ecosystems based on a user-centric approach integrating research and innovation processes into communities and settings. We use user-driven development models to enhance citizen quality of life and to support local economic and urban development.  As such, you will be expected to demonstrate how you have applied your skills in this area.

Topics and themes might include: city services, health, smart utilities, connected and autonomous vehicles, mobile media and cloud, logistics, transport, energy, waste, food, behaviour change, wellbeing, and the built environment.

This role offers an exciting mix of activities focused on practical deployment, running, and involvement with advanced service development activities for innovative technology with a particular focus. We are looking for an experienced person to lead the development and deployment of technology testbeds. The candidate should have a good understanding of the current state of innovation, with hands-on experience of testbeds, living labs and inovation understanding of their benefits and evolution, as well as an interest in placed based innovation.


Key Responsibilities

  • Manage the delivery of testbed and living lab innovation support projects.
  • Proactively lead development of CPC’s testbed offer and generate commercial opportunities
  • Develop a very strong network in local gov, LEP, strategic funding bodies or commercial innovation
  • Lead the development and deployment of testbeds and living labs, including contributing to their design
  • Successfully manage relationships with city officials, government departments, industry and other key stakeholders, clearly communicating all aspects of the delivery with relevant stakeholders
  • Develop a framework and process to enable smooth deployment of prototypes and pilot projects across sectors, use cases and technologies, both in the UK and internationally.
  • Work with economics, data analytics and data science teams to develop a framework for testing and evaluating the success of new technologies and business models in a user-based environment where people live with the solutions and deliver direct and indirect feedback on their experiences, habits and needs
  • Coordinate research, ideas and initiatives within a space of co-creation, cooperation and experimentation
  • Work with key participants from local authorities, universities, local businesses and other partners to identify new opportunities for implementing living labs, prototypes, testbeds and demonstrator projects
  • Take a holistic view of projects, taking into account legal and regulatory requirements, citizen requirements, local authority, technology, and business / organisational Combine these elements in user-centered product, service or business model development


The Living Labs Manager may be required to undertake any other reasonable duties to support Proximie in achieving its strategic outcomes and ensure effective business operations.


Required skills and experience 

  • Experience in client facing open innovation and a good understanding of and passion for Connected Places Catapult’s technology and market focus areas
  • Experience in planning and delivering technology testbeds/ living labs/ demonstrators in urban environments
  • Experience in developing and successfully raising funding for innovation projects
  • Professional, confident and clear communicator with a client-focused mindset and the ability to understand cutting-edge technologies
  • Delivery-focused personality with a passion for technology and innovation; great team worker and strongly self-motivated
  • A good communicator, who is experienced in working across disciplines with external contributors
  • Experience of running living labs and testbeds. and knowledge of the innovation support ecosystem
  • Experience delivering projects within a city environment and experience with dealing with local authorities and processes
  • Knowledge of current challenges in scaling innovation initiatives and new governance models
  • Knowledge of planning and permitting required to deploy technologies in public spaces
  • Good stakeholder engagement skills, public speaking, facilitation and presentation skills
  • Excellent project management and coordination skills
  • Knowledge of legal and regulatory framework experience in a city context



  • Working with SMEs and stakeholders in an incubator/accelerator environment
  • Experience working within the mobility, urban planning, architecture, built environment, cities/local authorities, digital technology or related domains would be highly advantageous
  • Prior knowledge of the urban innovation landscape and use cases is an advantage

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