Home ITCConstruction of LILa started on University of Twente campus

Construction of LILa started on University of Twente campus LILa will house more than fifteen experimental setups, both above and below ground

Ground has been broken for the construction of LILa, short for Living Innovation Lab. Its realisation started in the last week of September with the construction of the first infrastructure. Work is expected to be largely completed by the second quarter of 2024. LILa will function as a research, innovation and education lab to enable experiments in the outdoor physical environment within our own campus. It also contributes to the development of new skills for students, researchers and professionals. All this will be spread over an area of 1.7 ha near the Boerderijweg/De Achterhorst intersection. LILa is unique in that it is largely located outdoors. In addition, measurements of subsoil, soil surface, infrastructure and atmosphere will be taken almost continuously.

LILa will house over fifteen internally disciplined experimental setups, both above and below ground. Scientific and societal challenges are at the core of the lab and scientists with expertise from different faculties are involved (ET/ITC/EEMCS). They will work on different types of experiments within four themes:

  • Earth Structures and Dynamics
  • Water Cycle and Climate
  • Urban Spaces and Infrastructures
  • Ecosystems and Food security

Learn more about the themes at www.utwente.nl/en/lila.

Regional collaboration

LILa stems from the ambition to create an internationally recognised permanent measurement site with new experimental setups and local versions of setups that UT researchers have elsewhere in the world. Bringing this close to home will create a unique interdisciplinary terrain. In order to develop LILa to strengthen regional cooperation in the four themes, a large number of governments, companies and educational institutions are contributing to the realisation and research agenda of LILa. Therefore, LILa connects our local work with the global ecosystem of UT research.

Collaboration MBO study programme Operating Machines

Between the end of September and Christmas, students in orange safety vests will be walking around in and around the Horst complex. They are working on LILa as part of their MBO study programme, Operating Machines, at the SOMA College in Harderwijk. In the Horst Tower, they receive instructions for working on the LILa site. This is a new learning experience for them, as much of their education currently takes place at their training grounds in Harderwijk. Guided by an enthusiastic team of teachers and experienced coaches from the utility contracting industry, they they will be preparing the majority of the basic infrastructure and the utility mapping site (one of the planned experimental setups).


After a 1-year run-up (design), a delay due to archaeological investigation and the permit process, construction of LILa has recently begun. It is expected that by the end of quartile 2 of the academic year most of the basic infrastructure on the LILa site will be ready. The site will then be accessible for set up by expert teams. It is expected that by the end of quartile 4 of this academic year, the experts will be able to install and begin running their experiments. Watch the planning on the LILa website.