University’s Living Lab partnership celebrates decade of success with multi-year renewal

Thursday, 23 March 2023

The University of Nottingham has renewed its Living Lab collaboration with Glasgow-based climate technology firm IES, allowing students and staff access to cutting-edge digital twin technology until 2025.

The partnership provides universities, like Nottingham, with the technology to create digital twins of their campuses. These are fully scalable virtual models that behave in the same way as their real-world counterparts, which help collate data to inform decisions regarding where energy, carbon, capital, and operational savings can be made.

The university has been working with IES since 2013, and the digital twin of Nottingham’s Park campus, which includes 280 buildings, is used by academics to introduce interesting and diverse projects to their undergraduate offering in ‘decarbonisation of the built environment’. The collaboration also provides invaluable digital twin training and real-world climate tech experience to the next generation of engineers, architects, and technology professionals – setting them apart from other graduates.

Professor Mark Gillott, Chair in Sustainable Building Design at the Department of Architecture and Built Environment in the Faculty of Engineering, said: “As we plan to hit our carbon reduction targets, we are delighted that our strategy will continue to be informed by data gathered by IES’ ground-breaking technology.

Professor Mark Gillott
This initiative also allows our students to gain vital real-world experience, which they’ll carry with them into their professional lives, so we are delighted to be able to offer this training through the partnership.
Professor Mark Gillott, Faculty of Engineering

The collaboration has also seen both institutions work together on a variety of projects, including the award-winning Trent Basin, a low-energy community situated within Nottingham Waterside bounded by the River Trent. IES created an interactive platform to enable the community to visualise its energy data in real-time.

Don Mclean, IES founder and CEO, said: “IES is over the moon to be continuing to help the University of Nottingham carve out its route to net zero. It is also brilliant that, through this partnership, more of the university’s students will be trained in our pioneering digital twin technology.

Digital twins will continue to be the focal point of our work with the University of Nottingham over the coming years, and we look forward to providing them with the data and insight they need to make informed decisions about improving energy efficiency across the campus.
Don Mclean, IES founder and CEO

The University of Nottingham is due to host the 20th International Conference on Sustainable Energy Technologies from 15 to 17 August 2023, where Don McLean will be delivering a keynote speech on the use of digital wins for decarbonisation. For more information, please visit:

Story credits

More information is available from Danielle Hall, Media Relations Manager at the University of Nottingham, at or 0115 846 7156.    

Danielle Hall - Media Relations Manager - Faculty of Engineering
Phone: 0115 846 7156

Notes to editors:

The University of Nottingham

Ranked 18th in the UK by the QS World University Rankings 2023, University of Nottingham is a founding member of Russell Group of research-intensive universities. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience, and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our students. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement.  

The University is among the best universities in the UK for the strength of our research, positioned seventh for research power in the UK according to REF 2021. The birthplace of discoveries such as MRI and ibuprofen, our innovations transform lives and tackle global problems such as sustainable food supplies, ending modern slavery, developing greener transport, and reducing reliance on fossil fuels.The University is a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally - and our graduates are the second most targeted by the UK's top employers, according to The Graduate Market in 2022 report by High Fliers Research.

We lead the Universities for Nottingham initiative, in partnership with Nottingham Trent University, a pioneering collaboration between the city’s two world-class institutions to improve levels of prosperity, opportunity, sustainability, health and wellbeing for residents in the city and region we are proud to call home.

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