Launch of I3-Lab at Imperial College London

The I3-Lab at Imperial College London, partly funded by the IOTA Foundation, focuses on circular economy research using digital tools. Launched on July 3, 2024, the Lab aims to innovate sustainable business models and technologies to decouple economic growth from resource consumption.

We are thrilled to announce the I3-Lab at Imperial College London, a state-of-the-art research facility focused on the circular economy. It is funded by a £1M donation from the IOTA Foundation, additional funding by Imperial, and further grant support from UK Research and Innovation, and the European Union.

The I3-Lab is hosted at iCUBE, a dedicated space that will serve as the hub for pioneering sustainability research that launched on July 3rd.

Empowering the Circular Economy

The I3-Lab, short for Imperial IOTA Infrastructure Lab, will focus on the creation and use of digital instruments that empower the circular economy.

Dominik Schiener, Co-Founder and Chair of the IOTA Foundation, and Mary Ryan, Vice Provost, Research and Enterprise, Imperial College, officially open the iCUBE, home of the I3-Lab at Imperial College, London. 

Conventional business models link resource consumption to economic growth, resulting in unsustainable practices. The circular economy aims to decouple this relationship by focusing on sustainability through reuse and recycling. This shift requires new production methods and technologies that promote sustainability, making it an important focus for the work of the IOTA Foundation. Our distributed ledger technology is already being used in several projects that innovate new economic models, such as the Trade Logistics Information Pipeline (TLIP) and Digital Product Passports.

More About I3-Lab

A unique feature of I3-Lab is its aim to develop technologies supporting new ownership models and business models based on servitization. These models facilitate the sharing and on-demand access to goods, services, and materials, moving away from conventional sole ownership. Through these innovations, the I3-Lab will foster circular economy models that successfully decouple economic growth from resource consumption.

The I3-Lab is already making significant strides, having secured two additional grants and funding for Autofair, a Horizon Europe project for fair AI algorithms, iCircular3, a project that studies circularity in the contexts of robotics, automobiles, and outdoor tools, and CoDiet, a research project to combat diet-related diseases through diet-monitoring tech and personalized nutrition. The I3-Lab has hired five PhD students and several senior researchers, with the goal of a total team of about 25 people. The Victorian building housing the lab has been meticulously restored, adding a touch of historic charm to the cutting-edge research facility.

The Foundation’s Applied Research Team will be working and exchanging knowledge with the projects involved with the Lab, led by Dr. William Sanders, IOTA’s Director of Applied Research, who is a visiting researcher at the Lab.

Impressions of iCUBE before the event

IOTA and Imperial

I3-Lab marks the latest development in the relationship between the IOTA Foundation and Imperial. IOTA has previously funded grant work for Imperial’s Professor Robert Shorten, with Dr. Pietro Ferraro, now part of the IOTA team, having participated in this grant as a postdoc, contributing to the development of the IOTA Congestion Control algorithm and co-authoring several publications on IOTA.

We look forward to I3-Lab setting the stage for a new way of thinking about sustainability and the circular economy. We’ll be publishing its research as it appears – stay tuned for updates!

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