The NB-LAB project addresses the need of the partner universities in Peru and Ecuador for more applied research and research oriented programs, relevant to the current societal and environmental challenges in the region. With this respect, the project will contribute to the modernisation and internationalization of higher education structures of the partner universities, by setting up capacities for user-driven applied research and innovation that will contribute to sustainable rural community development under preservation and responsible use of the natural resources in the Amazonian Region. For this purpose, the NB-LAB project partners will establish nature-based living labs at the heart of the Amazon Rainforest. Close connection and collaboration with local communities and the indigenous populations will open new avenues for social and economic development in the region.
The sustainable operation of the labs will be ensured by their direct integration in both educational and research processes in the partner universities. Community service learning has been selected as the most suitable educational approach for the transfer of the research results in the society. It is the most appropriate methodology as it is a powerful experiential tool to improve curricular learning, contribute to solving real societal and environmental problems and develop competencies of engaged citizenship.
The NB-Labs will be piloted by the means of an international participatory exchange programme for international students and researchers from multiple disciplines. Two rounds of implementation will test the facilities in the NB-Lab “research village” in Iquitos and the scattered research stations in the rainforest around Tena that will be connected through coordinated research expeditions. By organizing staff training and exchanges the project will develop the skills and professional performance of the academic to secure the sustainability of the innovation structures.

Regina Krause – July, 2021