The University of Aberdeen
Computing Science




CityLab! Where the City is the Classroom

I co-founded CityLab (PD3002 and PD3502) as a joint venture between the Univerity of Aberdeen, Robert Gordon University and Aberdeen City Council. This inter-institutional and multi-disciplinary project brings students from both instintitons together each term to prototype sustainable projects aimed at improving life in the city. Successful prototypes are then carried forward either by the city council, or its other partners. 

University of Aberdeen students take part via PD3002, or PD3502 as level three elective, and several students have carried forward working with the Transformation unit of Aberdeen City Council, whcih looks after CityLab, and helped support subsequent cohorts of students on the course.

The first cohort of students developed a project carried forward by CFine to reduce food waste in the city. This eventually evolved into the 'Tuk In' crowdfunding project launched in spring 2017.

Aberdeem City Council fund CityLab with time and money because it helps them to develop its services and partnerships in more creative means and has support at all levels.

We use the #citylababz hashtag for social media posts on CityLab.


Aberdeen CityLab! Where the City is the Classroom, QAA Enhancement Theme Conference, June 2016.

Create a CityLab! to Build a Better City Through Your Students, QAA Enhancement Theme Conference, June 2016.

Create a CityLab to Build a Better City Through Your Students discussion, Gearing Up at the University of Edinburgh, March 2017

Aberdeen CityLab! Where the City is the Classroom, Moving On, Moving Up, Annual Academic Development Symposium, University of Aberdeen, April 2017.

CityLab Student Visions with Interdisciplinary & Inter-institutional Cooperation, 3rd International Enhancement in Higher Education Conference, June 2017

Associated Work

Following a presentation at the University of Edinburgh's 'Gearing Up' event in March 2017, we were asked to help their MasterCard Foundation Scholars Programme develop the introduction to their summer school sessions, which would follow a similar format as CityLab. This will run from 30-31 May, 2017 and include a number of the students from different cohorts helping deliver the materials.

Aberdeen Software Factory: Live Client Experience for Students

The details about the student run software factory and how you can participate.

Since 2009 students can take part either on specific paid projects with clients, or as part of CS5942 as students on the MSc IT degree. In both cases students gain valuable experience working with live clients to develop software, which needs to be used as aoon as possible.

Clients have ranged from work for departmental collaborations with external clients, to other academics in the university, as well as numerous clients across Scotland. These include start ups such as Float, and Equibuddy when they were being prototyped. 

Both type of students gain from their Software Factory experience. The paid students learn to deliver work regularly to clients as part of a team of two while refining what they've learned in the classroom. The summer project students, who work with live clients learn to work as a software development team, which they've not done before. In both cases this work prepares them for their post-university career.