MetroLab Network

A platform for applied research projects between cities and universities

Partners in the Greater Kansas City network

Total city-university partnerships

Active projects in the Greater Kansas City portfolio

Cities and university researchers working together

The MetroLab Network is a consortium of city-university partnerships across the US that fosters collaboration between local governments and academic researchers and practitioners. City-university partnerships are mutually-beneficial relationships in which the university is the city’s R&D department and the city is a test-bed. Faculty and students get access to real-life laboratories to test advanced approaches aimed at addressing city priorities and challenges. Cities, and their residents, benefit from technologies and policies that leverage digital and information technology, data analytics, sensing, and more. Our local MetroLab partnership offers a vehicle to identify project opportunities for city-university collaboration and to share learning with peers across the country.

This partnership is formalized by a Memorandum of Understanding that lays out basic obligations of participating members.

  • Designate an individual as MetroLab Network lead and point person for communication
  • Commitment to identifying problems, capacity, and expertise that might benefit partners
  • Agreement to meet regularly to discuss, identify, and pursue opportunities
  • Openness to collaboration across the region and the larger network.

The initial parties in the Greater Kansas City partnership are Kansas City, KS; Kansas City, Mo, University of Kansas, University of Missouri-Kansas City, and KC Digital Drive. The full MOU can be seen here. Central Missouri University joined in the fall of 2018. Membership in the Greater Kansas City partnership is open to other universities and city and county governments across the region willing to join our collective MOU. KC Digital Drive works to facilitate the partnership and align city and university resources with other civic, corporate, startup and non-profit partners across the region and nationally in support of our projects. Email for more info.

We are always seeking new projects that represent city-university collaboration to add to our local portfolio. Either city officials or university researchers can submit projects here. We will also hold two workshops each annually for city officials and university researchers to share current projects or new opportunities. The projects currently active featured in the local partnership include:

  • Regulation of the Sharing Economy (UMKC School of Law, KCMO)
  • Dotte Mobile Grocer (KU School of Architecture and Design, KCK/UG)
  • Technical Writing for Code for KC (UMKC, Jackson County)
  • Health Outcome Disparities (UMKC School of Law, KCK/UG)
  • Data-Driven Fire Station Construction (UMKC, PlanIT Impact, KCMO)
  • Clear My Record Expungement Project (UMKC School of Law, Jackson County)
  • Smart Cities/Urban Living Lab and Privacy Regulation

Previous local partnership projects include:

  • Food Access: a CBPR Visual Ethnography
  • Smart City Overlay on Healthy Campus
  • Connecting the Dottes

The MetroLab Network website features a full roster of projects across the country.


Greater Kansas City MetroLab Partners

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