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Research Applications and Requests

Three researchers conducting an experiment on the rooftop farm at 288 Church St.

Research priorities overview

The Ryerson Urban Farm Living Lab’s (RUFLL) research priorities were established in 2020 through a series of community consultations. This was achieved through two rounds of surveys and a roundtable event hosted in February 2020. Students, faculty and staff were engaged across Ryerson’s disciplines and departments, along with external stakeholders from a range of sectors relating to rooftop farming, including:

  • farming organizations/projects (farmers, administrators, growers, etc.)
  • industry professionals (architects, developers, green roof companies, etc.)
  • member/volunteer organizations (non-profits, non-governmental organizations, etc.)
  • patrons (customers, program participants, donors, investors, etc.)
  • public sector (public health, government, university administrators, etc.)
  • researchers/educators

Through this process, more than 200 stakeholders contributed feedback that was analyzed to derive user-driven research needs in rooftop farming.

Research priorities

In a continued effort to align with the Urban Farm’s mission to build capacity for rooftop farming through production, research and engagement, the Living Lab is seeking research partnerships and projects that respond directly to these established priorities: 

  • design and infrastructure 
  • quantifying ecosystem services 
  • financial sustainability 
  • Indigenous wisdom
  • food justice
  • soil health 
  • policy and incentives
  • system integration
  • operational models

Research project proposals

If you have a project proposal that responds to one or more of the research priorities outlined above, please complete the google formLiving Lab Research Proposal Form, external link. Submissions for research projects will be accepted from January 11 to January 31, 2021. 

The Living Lab is a collaborative research platform where members meet regularly to discuss project progress and to identity areas for support. If a research project proposal is approved, project members will become active members of the Living Lab and must attend an orientation and participate in a minimum of four meetings per year. Additionally, members must provide a Research Abstract upon acceptance and submit a Research Activity Report at the end of the year. 

Details from the Research Abstract and Activity Report may be used on the Urban Farm website, in presentations and on social media. Before submitting a project proposal, please familiarize yourself with the important dates listed on this page.

Other research requests 

If you are a researcher who is interested in a particular set of data, an interview, or receiving an informational tour of the Ryerson Urban Farm, please complete the google formInformation Tour/Interview/Data Request Form, external link and a member of our staff will get back to you at our earliest convenience. 

If you have any other comments, questions or concerns about the application process, please email the Living Lab’s research coordinator, Sharene Shafie, at sharene.shafie@ryerson.ca

Important dates 2021

January 11

Open call for google formresearch partnership proposals, external link

January 31

Deadline to submit research partnership proposals

February 1 - 7


Preliminary review of research proposals by Urban Farm operations team to identify issues related to safety, operations and infrastructure in alignment with Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) and Facilities Management and Development (FMD) standards 

February 9 - 21


Research advisory committee reviews research proposals to assess alignment with Living Lab research priorities and generate recommendations

February 22 - 26


Management committee reviews research proposals based on recommendations made by the advisory committee

March 1

Communication goes out to all applicants about final decisions

March 1 - 14

Research coordinator obtains additional recommendations and required approvals from EHS, FMD and research ethics board for installation, maintenance and conduct, as identified by research advisory committee 

March 15


Research coordinator leads orientation: researchers complete google formLiability Waiver, external link, google docResearcher Orientation, external link, google docCollaborative Research Agreement, external link, google docUrban Farm Safety and Wellbeing Manual, external link and related activities prior to starting research

March 22

Living Lab kick-off meeting for all research partners to share proposed research activities

March 31

Researchers must share finalized abstracts to post to the Living Lab web page

April - October

Urban Farm growing season. Living Lab researchers commence ongoing access to the rooftop for equipment installation, research activities and data collection

May - October

Monthly Living Lab meetings with research assistants. Research assistant must attend a minimum of four meetings throughout the growing season

October 16

Criteria for call for partnership proposals is released

October 25 - 31

Researchers dismantle equipment and store indoors for winter, where necessary

November 1

Urban Farm’s field operations are concluded for the year

November 13

Final Living Lab meeting for researchers to share project reflections and deadline for researchers to submit Living Lab Research Activity Report