Special feature

Campus 2050

What will the campus of the future look like ?



« Le livre blanc des Open Labs – Quelles pratiques ? Quels changements en France ? » March 2016

Full-scale innovation

The Ideas Laboratory is an innovation platform based on shared, open use

The Ideas Laboratory® was founded in 2001. It is the only one of its kind in France. An Open Lab is “both a place and an approach involving diverse stakeholders with a view to changing how we innovate and create by using open, collaborative, and iterative processes to arrive at concrete results, either physical or virtual.” The platform is hosted by CEA Grenoble (The French Atomic Energy Commission). The open innovation platform involves several partners and was created by CEA Tech, France Telecom, ST Microelectronics, and Hewlett Packard.

Our aim is to lead collaborative innovation projects where participants decide the objectives together and pool human and financial resources. Our approach to innovation is focused on how to benefit humankind. The collaborative nature of the platform leads us to interact with large industrial groups, SMEs, research centres, regional authorities, institutes of higher learning, universities, and associations. Since the creation of the platform, we have joined with over 20 partners in order to broaden our cross-disciplinary view of innovation. These exchanges have been fruitful based on the cross-disciplinary view of our partners on innovation, covering everything from skills and disciplines to diverse perspectives.


Etienne Gaudin
Directeur Innovation Groupe Bouygues

The Ideas Laboratory® is a unique space where people come to find inspiration, think outside the box, prototype, and test the products and services of the future by working with multiples partners. Groupe Bouygues has been a partner since 2008. In 2014, the group launched a project on the institutes of higher education and research of the future. If the infrastructures we’re currently building are still there in 30 years, what will higher education and research be like at that point in time? Who will the students, teachers, and researchers be? How will they work and learn? What tools will they use? How will the campus interact with the outside world? Should we consider the possibility of new stakeholders? Will there be new places of learning and research? What challenges will the campus of the future face?

It’s hard to answer these questions when digital technology is fundamentally changing teaching and research. MOOCs, Fablabs, immersive VR education, and personalisation of education using AI are all growing at a considerable pace. In a world where the knowledge economy plays a central role, what are the advantages of these practices? What will the social impact be? Similarly, how will current societal changes caused by digital technology affect the expectations people have of a campus?


The aim of the Ideas Laboratory® is to pool the different perspectives of each partner on markets and societal challenges such as housing, mobility, energy, and resources, etc. The partners involved co-finance and allocate human resources in the interest of successfully completing exploratory innovation projects.

Many Ideas Laboratory® partners took part in the programme, bringing very different perspectives to the table:

  • Bouygues Construction – infrastructure, services, and facilities
  • Bibliothèque Nationale de France – the place of libraries in the city and knowledge sharing
  • The Isère regional authorities – issues facing their region and public services
  • Grenoble Ecole de Management – issues impacting markets, value, and management
  • Université Pierre Mendès France – focus on human and social sciences
  • The CEA brings a technological and methodological perspective

Exploring practices and understanding changes

‐ Daniel Kaplan

The Campus 2050 project

How will we learn in 2050? What will campuses look like based on new uses?

As happens frequently in the Ideas Laboratory®, the project stemmed from a cross-disciplinary thought process involving all partners. Initially, the Ideas Laboratory® teams started working on forward-looking studies and the place of the campus in a digital economy. At the same time, Université Grenoble Alpes implemented a programme designed to test new innovation courses. Due to the fact that the infrastructures being built today will still be there in 2050, the Bouygues Construction Group felt it necessary to give a more solid aspect to their vision for the campus of the future.

Exploring practices and understanding changes

Conceptualising the roles and main functions of the campus in 2050

Following the 2 major exploration and conceptualisation phases, several scenarios were envisioned for Campus 2050. We now have a greater understanding of needs in terms of educational content, new methods, new modes of organisation to respond to major societal changes, and a different position for the campus based on these changes. The results of the Campus 2050 project are more than just models to be cut and pasted. They represent invaluable food for thought in building the campus of the future.

Conceptualising the roles

Following the 2 major exploration and conceptualisation phases, several scenarios were envisioned for Campus 2050. We now have a greater understanding of needs in terms of educational content, new methods, new modes of organisation to respond to major societal changes, and a different position for the campus based on these changes. The results of the Campus 2050 project are more than just models to be cut and pasted. They represent invaluable food for thought in building the campus of the future.

A 3 step process. Analyze the factors of societal evolution Imagine the contextual scenarios of the teaching in 2050 Deduce the scenarios of use of the learner in 2050 and associated concepts

Campus 2050 fundamentals

The project took place in iterative mode and learning process. As they were collected, the knowledge was used by various publics consulted or associated with the work. It is also during the exploration phase that the fundamentals of the approach are constructed. The learner at the heart of reflection The behavioral effects of learners have an impact on the entire teaching champion.

Phases of the project

Initiated in 2015, the project ended in 2016, for a presentation to all partners in March 2017.

2015 EXPLORATION State of the art, interviews, student tutored projects

January 2016 PROSPECTIVE Construction of 3 scenarii

February to May 2016 CREATION Scripting and conceptualization during co-creation sessions (teachers, students, experts, users)

June and July 2016 FOCUS GROUP Test scenarios and concepts with users

August to October 2016 FORMALIZATION Construction of the campus profiles underlying the scenarios

October to December 2016 PRODUCTION OF DELIVERABLES Exploratory notebook, animated film, visual concepts.

By the end of 2015, the project partners had identified three major factors of evolution – population growth, global warming, limited resources – as well as and their impacts on the lifestyles and needs of the learner by 2050. A decisive base was thus laid down for conceptual work.



Key step: the historical contribution

A study entrusted to a historian, Charlotte Joly, retraced the major developments of the University, from the Middle Ages to the present day. Its role in the project was fundamental to demonstrate the fine links between the University’s missions, the organization’s modes of organization (clerical, national …), as well as architecture, infrastructures (schools within cathedrals and monasteries, amphitheatres to organize the circulation of knowledge, academies controlled by the State in places inspired by military barracks, …) and the contents underpinned by these great models.

The 3 scenarios

We arrived at 3 possible scenarios for the campus of the future. They are not mutually exclusive, but were studied as separate options. Each originated from 1 of the major societal changes identified.

Population growth and the increasing complexity of the global economy make it necessary for humans to constantly upskill in order to compete in the jobs market. They study at the Campus Oeconomicus.

The provision of universal basic income by governments and the automation of that vast majority of tasks have transformed the relationship with work. Individuals work by choice and study for enjoyment at the Hedonist Campus.

Due to dwindling natural resources and the results of global warming, humans need to learn how to live in harmony with their environment, limited resources, and in a peaceful manner with migrant populations. They learn at the Faber Campus.


The increasing complexity of the global economy means that humans need to constantly upskill throughout their lives at any time, from anywhere. It’s a constant race to stay up to date in order to secure a place amongst the elite. In this context, learning is a commodity unto itself. It is monetised, as is all of the knowledge generated by the campus. All involved are economic stakeholders in their own right. It’s the ‘profitability’ campus.

60% of French people shopped online in 2013.Source : Eurostat


Related trends

  • Companies are taking power away from the State
  • The university is reinventing its economic model in cooperation/competition with companies. Listing on the stock market wouldn’t be unimaginable
  • Globalisation creates competition between regions, companies, and campuses


The place of humans

  • Humans are understood as a resource and a product to be developed (hyper-optimisation of the person)
  • Learning is continuous based on the needs of companies (lifelong coaching programme)
  • Position of the student: A student for life with a personal learning assistant


Several models co-exist:

  • The company campus: (e.g. the Google campus)
  • The separate economic stakeholder campus
  • Mixed governance (State/companies)
  • Independent operational governance with a mixed decision-making body (campus/State/companies)


Relationship with the city

  • Mixed learning and business spaces


The roles of Campus Oeconomicus



  • Professional training
  • Practical role play
  • Resolving problems encountered by companies

Role of the educator:

  • A showman and a charismatic speaker
  • Creator of digital content
  • Coach/manager: Finding and developing talent using AI
  • Highly specialised
  • Guarantees student performance



  • The race for patents

  • Applied research aimed at making profit
  • Sourced and improved using AI

Learning analytics

A personal learning assistant to optimise individual performance by turning all aspects of a person’s life into an opportunity to develop their skills


For several years, scientists have succeeded in getting increasingly better knowledge of how the human brain works. By understanding the secrets of memory and learning, scientists have developed technologies and AI that can tell people when, what, how, and where to learn for optimum knowledge acquisition. By using individual equipment, learner behaviour is recorded and transmitted to massive data centres. Algorithms study their cognitive profiles so that each student’s personal learning assistant can select the courses that would give the best results for their profile, and also considers their mood and general state of health.

This AI is like a life coach that guarantees performance. Virtual reality will complete these solutions by allowing each learner to follow courses remotely, to work in teams, or to take part in immersive practical work from anywhere in the world.


The personal assistant constantly records and evaluates knowledge acquisition and the learner’s progress regarding their learning objectives

Any moment of a person’s life can be used for learning in order to guarantee top individual performance. The personal learning assistant identifies all learning opportunities for the student, particularly when commuting. Train stations and transport hubs are fitted with terminals where students can access the courses selected by their personal assistant, which they can then follow using their tablet or VR headset during their journey. Transport hubs will become knowledge hubs.

This data is stored in data centres and can also be accessed by job insurance companies to optimise their subscribers’ career paths.

The personal assistant continuously records and assesses the acquisition of knowledge and the achievement of each student's learning objectives.

‐ (Français) Daniel Kaplan FING

Any moment of a person’s life can be used for learning in order to guarantee top individual performance.

The personal learning assistant identifies all learning opportunities for the student, particularly when commuting. Train stations and transport hubs are fitted with terminals where students can access the courses selected by their personal assistant, which they can then follow using their tablet or VR headset during their journey. Transport hubs will become knowledge hubs.

This data is stored in data centres and can also be accessed by job insurance companies to optimise their subscribers’ career paths.

The company campus

Guaranteed workplace performance is like employability insurance


In the Campus Oeconomicus, higher education no longer exists in the form we are familiar with today. Following traditional education (up to the Bac), learners will no longer join institutes of higher learning, but a job insurance company. This company is connected to a training centre, and supports the subscriber throughout the rest of their working life. As the company is the result of a partnership between a university and businesses, it guarantees continuous education that’s practical and pragmatic for the subscriber. Each person will be informed by their personal assistant of modules to take, skills to acquire, and expertise to gain based on the jobs market, in order to ensure they continue to be employable in the companies connected to their insurance. The world of work will trend towards a mercenary environment where workers move from company to company based on demand.

In a world where performance and knowledge optimisation reign, evaluation will become extremely important. Companies will evaluate the campus because they have taken out a subscription with them to guarantee that they will be introduced to the best professionals for their needs. Companies will also evaluate the learner, who they will expect to work every day to keep up with the cutting edge of human knowledge. However, learners will also be able to evaluate their teachers and the programmes they have subscribed to, which are meant to guarantee permanent employability and the highest degree of knowledge possible.

Job insurance involves providing continuous education that’s relevant and pragmatic for the learner. Thanks to funding from the subscribing companies, campuses have set up production companies specifically for education. These companies replace teachers with global stars from the media world who deliver content created by the top experts in the world in the form of a TV show. Their lessons are no longer reserved for those in prestigious establishments.

The interweaving of campuses and companies can also be seen in building use, with a mix of business and educational uses. Company-campus buildings will accommodate meeting rooms, VR spaces, cafeterias, and even collaborative working areas shared by students and employees. Employees become lifelong students and can in the same day follow a course designed by the university and apply their new skills in a professional context.


Automation has caused most jobs to disappear.

The robot is the slave of the 21st century. Humans no longer need to work. They are guaranteed basic income. The consumer society has been replaced by the culture society. In this context, humans learn for pleasure. They are looking for meaning and wellbeing. Their relationship with others and knowledge is at the heart of the campus.

Learning for pleasure

Related trends

  • Universal basic income
  • Automation of most tasks


The place of humans

  • Humans learn for pleasure and to give meaning to their lives (learning about oneself, self-construction, personal development)
  • The campus becomes a place to learn about oneself and to meet others
  • Humans are seen in terms of their potential for empathy and kindness
  • Knowledge is based on the spirit of enlightenment as well as intellectual and spiritual development when educating the honnête homme of the 21st century
  • Artistic creation forms a large part of expertise


Corporate governance

  • Horizontal governance, with a panel of experts and an ethics committee
  • Civil society acts as a moderator
  • Publicly financed
  • Culture economy


Relationship with the city

  • The campus is based on a network of symbolic locations (from an architectural point of view) in the city, which contributes to the region’s attractiveness
  • Open 24/7
  • The physical or digital campus will become the new agora, a convivial space for wellbeing and meeting others that is open to all

The roles of the Hedonist Campus



  • Personal development, giving meaning to life
  • Discovery, raising awareness, experimentation, expression
  • Humans are interested in encyclopaedic knowledge, they don’t want to specialise in one area
  • The campus is a way to discuss with and listen to prominent figures and experts (sages)
  • Learners develop their knowledge of human beings, emotional intelligence, and the quality of their relations with others. Even hard sciences are viewed with emotion from a cultural approach
  • Slow education prevails: Humans have a new relationship with time

Role of the educator:

  • Charismatic teachers with the authority to guide (master/disciple relationship)
  • They are pioneers who create methods and write books
  • They act as coaches for the individual
  • Those with knowledge are evaluated based on their reputation



  • Basic research in the interest of knowledge and to maintain the system
  • Cutting-edge research on broad topics, including communities, residencies by major experts and artists (exploratory residencies)
  • Research on the ethics and societal impact of automation


Creating value

  • Quality of life
  • Attractiveness of the region
  • Promise of a peaceful region (social harmony)
  • The campus improves humanity: Knowledge is used for the benefit of humanity



  • Shared intelligence
  • A learning pathway involving unique locations dedicated to knowledge


The university becomes an experiential journey

The Hedonist Campus includes many locations. A bend in the road, a town square, or the foot of a monument can all be places of learning open to the city, enriched by all cultures, including counter-cultures. Majestic architecture and an abundance of dynamic activities and events are typical of these locations, which form a veritable cultural journey in the city.

Students, researchers, professors, and even tourists meet each other in these places. Some are there to work, while others occasionally stroll by to learn about and appreciate the beauty of the arts, perhaps even to contribute.

Because Hedonist Campuses are made up of unique locations that stimulate the imagination (the Gaudi Cathedral for Knowledge, the Guggenheim City Tower, etc.) and give new purpose to symbolic historical sites (e.g. Trocadéro), the Hedonist campus is a showcase for students, artists, and researchers, and also for the local authorities who fund the sites. These are the main factors that add to the attractiveness of the region where the sites are located.

In major cities as in the countryside, history and knowledge reign. Every walk and cultural experience is an opportunity to learn more about both the Self and the Other.


A campus that advances humanity for all citizens

A human-focused network of educational locations. The Hedonist Campus has become a human-focused network of educational locations. As the development of automation resulted in the disappearance of most tasks that were previously performed by humans, most people no longer work. Only 10% of the population work to perform mainly decision-based tasks. Universal basic income gives everyone enough to live on, meaning that work is no longer a major part of connection in society.

If working is no longer necessary, why would people still be interested in learning and knowledge? If humans can no longer use work to give meaning to their lives, how can they find meaning in their social existence? Learning is no longer approached with employability in mind, but with self-actualisation as the objective. Learning has become a hobby, an activity, and a way to pursue projects that give meaning to each person’s existence. It also ensures intellectual stimulation, as well as being an opportunity to meet with others on a daily basis in a world where many interactions are automated.

The campus offers various conferences, exhibitions, and spaces for spiritual retreats and artistic creation. All of these events and spaces are open to all to attend as little or as often as they like. These spaces are managed by volunteers and robots oversee the logistics. The university journey is an à la carte lifelong process. It can be aimed at acquiring knowledge, artistic production, and even entrepreneurship. In this context, the campus has moved from the goal of providing the necessary skills for the workplace to a role of ensuring social cohesion and development of the relationship with the Other.


Exploratory residencies in the campus
, creating at the crossroads: The Hedonist research centre

In the Hedonist Campus, research takes the form of Open Labs where researchers visit on residencies. Their research topics are broad and funding comes from companies encouraging disruptive projects.

These co-creation spaces resemble a Medici villa where art and innovation intermingle with contributions from people in all walks of life: Researchers, artists, philosophers, and mathematicians, to name a few. They inhabit the same spaces, cross paths, and influence each other during residencies that can last for several months. These spaces encourage interaction, everyone adds to the experience of others and science takes on a more human dimension. With a focus on personal development and a continuous search for harmony between humans and their environment, this university aims to create a staunchly humanist world.


Exploratory residencies are also a way for researchers to spread the word about their discoveries and test them out on the public through entertaining activities. Like any location that forms part of Hedonist campus, the residency spaces are open to everyone. Anyone can come by to meet researchers and artists and to take part in reflective or creative workshops. Everyone is also free to conduct their own research there. Being a ‘researcher’ is no longer an earned title, but a role taken on voluntarily. In this way, people take an active role in influencing and creating the type of society they live in.


Limited resources and climate change mean that humans are governed by the environment. Displacement is caused by natural disasters. Nature rules and humans return to a focus on their ‘basic’ needs. In this context, the campus contributes to the survival of all generations. Bio-tech and low-tech underpin education and form the main motivation for research.


Learning to adapt 

Related trends

Obligatory adaptation to climatic and geo-political crises.

The campus contributes to the survival of humankind and educates people of all ages.

All people involved at a local level on the campus work towards living with respect for their immediate environment, which may change due to mass movements of people (political and climate refugees).


The place of humans 

Innovates and creates solutions.

A link in a chain.

Cooperative, knows how to adapt and work in a team.

Humble, works towards the common good.

Knowledge is very accessible, available in open source and wiki-style.

Humans both create and consume knowledge.


Corporate governance

Global (UN, States) and local (regional authorities) public governance.

The campus is renovated using emergency (UN) or reconstruction funds.

The campus is based on a ‘social contract for survival.’


Relationship with the city

Outside of periods of crisis: Frugal use of the areas available in the city.

During periods of crisis: Requisition and availability of spaces according to needs.

An ‘umbrella’ campus for the city.


 The roles of the Faber Campus



  • Context-based tutorials, ready for use in the real world
  • Practical case studies: The circular economy, FabLabs making do with less

Role of the educator:

  • Making the connection between theory and practical local solutions
  • A support role for everyone
  • Importance of mass learning
  • Thanks to the campus, humans learn the essentials, covering how to adapt to their environment, how to deal with times of shortage, how to make more efficient use of limited resources: How to get more out of less, how to repair and recycle materials and objects?
  • Handicraft becomes popular again through bio-tech and low-tech, which have become indispensable



  • Extremely applied research
  • Interdisciplinary
  • Focused on the local, shared worldwide
  • Based on results and experimentation
  • Organised on demand (units of researchers that can be mobilised like humanitarian relief)


Creating value

  • Open source
    Promotion of peer-to-peer learning
  • Capitalisation, referencing, identifying solutions
  • Wiki solution creation
  • A system of exchange, no market focus



  • Multi-disciplinary teams
  • Open source and crowdsourcing: Continuous adaptation and improvement
  • Global/local – local/local

An ‘all weather’ classroom

A nomadic campus for education in crisis situations

In 2050, some parts of the world will be profoundly affected by climate change. Entire regions will face almost endless periods of drought. Islands and regions will be submerged. Tsunamis, earthquakes, and cyclones will happen frequently. Frequent natural disasters mean that humans need to know how to rebuild basic infrastructure quickly and regularly. This is the role of the Faber Campus.

The energy independent ‘all-weather’ classroom can be easily dismantled (canvas covering, wooden structure) and set up in all conditions on all surfaces. In the case of a significant event, several ‘umbrella’ classrooms can be deployed in the affected areas. All of the structures are connected and supplied with energy from various sources (solar, wind, geothermal, etc.).

Teachers educate the local population on the basics of building or rebuilding the infrastructures affected. The challenge is to train as many people as possible in a diverse range of techniques in the minimum amount of time. The ‘all weather’ campus is always close by to what’s happening on the ground, meaning that theory instantly turns into practice. Those in charge of the Faber Campus and their students ‘learning on the job’ continuously draw on methods and techniques created throughout the world to respond to their problems and to find solutions.

The Faber Campus helps people respond to crisis situations by optimising local material resources and training the people on-site by pooling knowledge.


Wiki bot – a global Cloud for sharing local expertise

Artificial intelligence that gets rid of language barriers

The Faber Campus is based on the idea that knowledge should be shared. Everyone can be motivated by the skills of their neighbour or the ancestral practices of a Native American tribe, for example, where they can find techniques, knowledge, and methods of analysis to help them to solve their own problems. All of this practical and intellectual material is shared on a global open source Cloud equipped with AI to make searches easier. This social knowledge-sharing network is a global platform accessible to everyone.

In order to deal with a given problem (e.g. frequent flooding of homes), the AI system puts the person affected in contact with an expert in another part of the world where the problem has already been solved. Learning how to resolve problems is done peer-to-peer between the two people put in touch. The system is based on universal knowledge-sharing bolstered by projects with international cooperation focusing on global subjects to capitalise on existing knowledge.

These discussions can also take place face to face. Waves of migration accelerated by geo-political and climate instability also function as a way of sharing knowledge from the migrants’ regions of origin. Contact between locals and migrants is facilitated by universal translators used to conduct conversations. Education is more a question of learning from the Other rather than traditional lessons.

In parallel, people from diverse backgrounds meet each other in the mass education centres where migrants are accommodated. They share know-how from their regions of origin and learn the necessary information and practices specific to their host region. The syllabus they follow is defined by the regional authority according to local needs.

Teaching is both bottom-up and top-down in the Faber Campus. Everyone both teaches and learns. The main challenge is pooling resources and knowledge to create a society that faces its issues together.


Fablabs for a frugal economy

Energy recovery and getting more out of less become everyday sciences

Global warming means that greenhouse gas emissions must be extremely limited, restricting travel. Each group of people is self-sufficient and lives according to their environment. They need to survive with increasingly limited local resources.

In this context, “thinking globally, acting locally” is essential because each region needs to focus on their immediate needs, go back to basics, and demonstrate ingenuity. Cooperation and exchanging best practices are essential, both at a local and global level. Inspired by what people are doing elsewhere, everyone uses the world around them to try out new ways of using less. Limited resources result in recycling and mending, rather than making brand new items.

With this in mind, the Faber Campus provides researchers with “Frugal economy Fablabs.” These giant upcycling centres are like DIY workshops containing thousands of recycled materials and objects. The automated centres are equipped with AI to help each user with their project. Robotic arms can reach the highest part of the ‘library of materials’ to fetch the desired item for users. Users can also avail of production facilities filled with DIY equipment, 3D printers, and holographic visualisation zones (for a 3D view of assembly or where the final part should be placed, etc.). This is where researchers test, repair, modify, adjust, and, finally, create high-performance sustainable objects! In the Faber Campus, research is used to protect the environment and optimise production.

Within the campus, the Fablab is part of a network of facilities designed to recover resources (rainwater and grey water collection, food waste reused for 3D printers, etc.). Permaculture will be increasingly common (vegetation on walls, roofs, hydroponic cultivation, etc.) and all learning spaces will be optimised to feed the students on campus.


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