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Research Partnerships

Horizontal rows of lush green crops on the ENG roof

The Urban Farm Living Lab is committed to supporting research that aligns with our mission to build capacity for rooftop farming and to support the health and wellbeing of our community.

Do you have an idea for a research project that you believe would be a good fit for the Living Lab? Follow the steps below to complete a research project proposal.

Instructions for proposing a research project

The Living Lab seeks research partnerships and projects that respond directly to our community informed research priorities, which include:

  • Circular economy
  • Design and infrastructure
  • Food justice: Black and Indigenous food sovereignty
  • Food systems education and training
  • Hydrology: Stormwater management, irrigation and nutrient run-off
  • Indigenous ways of knowing
  • Operational model: Crop planning, governance, labour and supply chains
  • Physical access and gatekeeping
  • Policy: Land-use planning, regulations, certifications, funding and incentives
  • Quantification of ecosystem services: Human and environmental wellness
  • Start-up costs and financial sustainability
  • Growing Media: Soil Health

Black Food Sovereignty (BFS) supported research

Have a project proposal that supports BFS initiatives on campus and in the community and is grounded in the three Bs (Black-led, Black-mandated, Black-serving)? Prior to submitting an application, please contact Nicole Austin, our Black-led programs coordinator, at to determine if your research project proposal is a good fit for the Living Lab.

Indigenous Foodways Program (IFP) supported research

The IFP aims to engage Indigenous community members to grow and share medicines, sacred plants and culturally significant foods using Indigenous foodways and knowledge at the Urban Farm. If you have a research project proposal that you believe aligns with IFP goals, please contact Samantha Williams-Barrantes, our Indigenous-led programs coordinator, at prior to submitting a proposal to ensure that this project is built collaboratively and with reciprocity.

We are able to support both short- and long-term research requests. Depending on the scope of your research project proposal, you may be required to apply to be a Living Lab research partner.

Short-term research requests

If you are interested in conducting a research project that requires one-time or short-term access to the Urban Farm, please complete the  (google form) Urban Farm Request Form (external link)  and a member of our team will get in contact with you. Examples of short-term research requests include:

  • One-time tours or site visits of our growing spaces
  • Interviews with Urban Farm staff members
  • One-off sampling and measurements

Long-term research requests

If your research project will require ongoing access to the rooftop or long-term collaboration with the Urban Farm Living Lab, please consider applying to be a Living Lab research partner. To learn more about the support available to Living Lab research partners and their responsibilities as members of the Living Lab, please refer to Step 3 on this page.

The Living Lab is a collaborative research platform where community-driven research project proposals are considered annually. With applications opening in February, all research project proposals submitted are vetted by the Living Lab’s management and research advisory committees prior to being accepted.

Living Lab research partner responsibilities

If your long-term research project proposal is approved, you will become a Living Lab research partner and a formal member of the Living Lab. Research teams are expected to attend a minimum of three meetings per year with at least one member of the research team present. Research partners are also required to provide a Research Abstract upon acceptance into the Living Lab and must submit a Research Activity Update Report at the end of the growing season.


Apply to be a Living Lab research partner

Interested in applying to be a Living Lab research partner? The Living Lab Research Proposal Form is accepting research applications between February 1 and February 28, 2022. Research applicants will receive confirmation about the status of their application in March 2022.

If you would like to discuss your research proposal or have any questions about the application process, please contact Sharene Shafie, Living Lab research coordinator, at

2023 Living Lab schedule


Call for  (google form) research partnership proposals (external link)  open.

The Urban Farm Living Lab hosts its annual Research Roundtable.

The open call for research proposals closes on the last business day of the month.


Research partnership proposals reviewed by research advisory and research management committees.

Communication goes out to all applicants about final research proposal decisions. 

Onboarding process begins.

April - October

Urban Farm growing season. 

Living Lab researchers commence ongoing access to the rooftop for equipment installation, research activities and data collection.

Monthly Living Lab meetings with researchers. Researchers must attend a minimum of three meetings throughout the year.


Urban Farm’s field operations conclude for the year. 

Researchers dismantle equipment and store it indoors, where necessary.

Final Living Lab meeting for researchers to share project reflections and deadline for researchers to submit Living Lab Research Activity Update.