The Co-up Lab

The Co-up Lab is a novel education approach for hands on learning and spurring innovation in the life science context. Based on co creation, the pop up space creates an interface for interaction on site between students and stakeholders. It makes citizen outreach of education and education of citizen outreach.

Pilot Co-up Lab in Flemingsberg, Karolinska Institutet Library May 9, 2019

The Co-up Lab combines “pop up” innovation spaces and an incubation programme focusing on early incubation. Students will develop ideas in co creation with stakeholders, professionals and end users. With the mobile innovation spaces we “pop up” at different locations such as the entrance of a hospital, forming an interface between the classroom and the public, the learning and real context and the innovation process and the user. The educational offer is designed as a semester long educational experience with 3 “co-ups” that follow a user centered approach. However, each “Co-up” is open to students eager to learn either the theme of that co-up or to work with their idea at one event instead of the semester long programme.

Key concepts: co-creation, user-focus, experimentation, interdisciplinarity, improve health.

For students: About the Co-up Lab incubation programme

Are you exploring ways to learn skills that can accelerate your career, to expand your potential or educate yourself about the complexity of the healthcare context? The Co-up Lab incubation programme is tailored to empower individuals with an interest in healthcare and/or life science to bring their own ideas to life and become future “change agents”, taking a stake in the future of healthcare.
During the autumn, students take action and develop solutions to address key healthcare priorities, such as patient empowerment through actually doing real innovation. Participants work on their own entrepreneurial journeys in teams of five. We provide user-centered methodologies and business tools to advance the projects. Teachers and experts hold seminars and coach the teams to facilitate the incubation and learning progress.
The programme is a learning journey, with basis in the Co-up Lab concept, ie education is happening through cocreation with stakeholders at remote sites. There will be 3 co-ups, each with a specific theme from user-centered design.
You as a student can participate in both the whole programme, or take the chance to immerse yourself in user centered design themes at one of these events.
The programme provides support in form of educational activities and coaching from the various partners of this project. Being a project within EIT Health, the Co-up Lab offers its participants the possibility to tap into the vast opportunities within this network.

Co-up Lab incubation programme 2020

  • Start: 21 September 2020
  • End: December 2020
  • Expected time investment: approximately 10 hrs/ week (which corresponds to a 7,5 credits course)
  • Available spots: 15
  • Certificate: Yes, provided by EIT Health 

The programme acknowledges the importance of own real experience and follows the user-centered process. In concrete, learning will happen through hands-on project work, peer to peer learning, stakeholder interaction and “real life setting implementation” of new knowledge. This year's projects center around our challenge of “Future of health care”.

        CoUp lab project

        For students: Application and selection

        How do I apply?

        Please follow this link for applying for the programme. Links for applying for specific pop-ups will be released 3 weeks prior to event.
        Selection criteria are set up to enroll students (PhD, master, and bachelor) who are interested in healthcare and life science and would like to explore bringing their own ideas to life and have an impact on healthcare.

        Summary of selection criteria:

        • Well formulated and demonstrated interest and ambition
        • Experience with previous education given by EIT Health programmes (e.g. Innovation days, Summer schools), or other relevant experience to entrepreneurship and innovation (no exclusion criteria, but will be given preference)
        • We will make sure to select a diverse and well balanced group of students


        CoUp lab project

        For Students: Interested only in one Co-up Lab event

        New for 2020, students can both participate in the whole programme or visit just one of the events. If you are a student interested in exploring an idea or to immerse yourself in one step of the user-centered design process, you can apply to be part of only one Co-up Lab event (or several). You will not receive coaching in between the events if you are not a part of the programme.

        Dates, places & themes for specific Co-up Labs:

        • 30 September. Online, theme Understanding. Apply here 
        • 16 October. Technical museum, theme Creation. Apply here
        • 20 November. Technical museum, theme Communication (application link available on November 6th)

        The Co-up Lab project 

        Based at Karolinska Institutet, we also aim to explore innovation spaces - what can happen and should happen in an innovation space and what do we need to offer in such a space? With this project, based on a concept where we “pop-up” with an innovation space at different locations, we hope to find first answers and guidelines. 

        The project is deeply rooted in the idea that public participation is key to successful and inclusive innovation. Thus, the aim is to bring the projects and learning into the actual contexts, such as Södersjukhuset. 

        We are a consortium of several partners who have been active within the different aspects that the project aims to impact. Together we want to empower students to become entrepreneurial change makers of tomorrow.

        TEAM / partners

        As consortium for this project, we share an interest in exploring entrepreneurial educational, co-creation in research and innovation and spaces for innovation. 

        Unit for bioentrepreneurship, Karolinska Institutet, offers a two-year global Master's programme and single subject courses. Special interests are entrepreneurial learning, process design and facilitation. Activity leader. 

        Stockholm Region/SÖS Innovation is the regional knowledge centre of health innovation services focusing on service design and innovation close to caregivers and patients. 

        Tekniska museet/The Technical Museum (TM) is the second largest science center in Sweden. Of specific importance for the Co-up Lab is their interest in educational spaces in Stockholm. 

        Karolinska Institutet Innovations (KIAB) is an science business incubator at KI with expertise in business development and coaching.

        Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship (SSES) is a platform that provides courses and incubation for students of five of Stockholm’s universities.

        Philips Medical Systems DMC 

        The education focuses on two key concepts: 

        User focus, including contextual user research to understand latent needs, user testing and co-creation, facilitating patient-driven medicine and healthcare.  

        Experimentation, including prototyping, iteration, involving the creation of physical space for experimentation. 
        In order to bring the work closer to the actual users, we take the learning and project work outside of the classrooms, with a “pop-up” at different locations in so called Co-up Lab “events”. With these pop-up events we occupy various relevant arenas (e.g. the entrance of a hospital) with a physical creative space for co creation and innovation for 2 days. On the first day of the Co-up Lab pop ups, seminars and workshops will prepare the teams for the immersion and research which will take place on the following day.

        Themes for the events are aligned with the projects of the enrolled participants and educational seminars and workshops are set to be in line with the projects development stage, according to the user-centered process:

        • Co-up Lab 1: (30 September preliminary at Södersjukhuset): Understanding 
        • Co-up Lab 2: (16-17 October preliminary at Tekniska Museet): Testing and creation
        • Co-up Lab 3: (20-21 November preliminary at Tekniska Museet): Communication
        • Exhibition (December date to be decided, preliminary at Karolinska Institutet Library Solna): Implementation
        Co-up Lab workshop
        Co-up Lab incubation programme

        Themes for the events are aligned with the projects of the enrolled participants and educational seminars and workshops are set to be in line with the projects development stage, according to the user-centered process:

        • Co-up Lab 1 (30 September preliminary at Södersjukhuset): Understanding 
        • Co-up Lab 2 (17-18 October preliminary at Tekniska Museet): Testing and creation
        • Co-up Lab 3 (20-21 November preliminary at Tekniska Museet): Communication
        • Exhibition (December date to be decided, preliminary at Karolinska Institutet Library Solna): Implementation

        Study pace and learning activities

        The learning activities are divided on three levels:

        1. Hands-on work in teams, coaching and peer-to-peer reflection
        2. Basic online learning modules

        The hands-on work will focus on the practical incubation of ideas with the help of design and co-creation methodologies, making use of the temporary Co-up Lab innovation spaces at the different locations. The education aims to provide guidance and preparation that enables the project teams to co-create the “pop-up” events together with the local host, to collect data, test their ideas in the real setting and make sense of the information collected, to further develop the projects. The lecture and seminar part of the incubation programme will run throughout the semester but will be concentrated mainly to the Co-up Lab event days.

        The teams project’s shall be documented through a reflective journal as well as photos illustrating recent developments, break-through moments as well as difficulties. In this way we aim to be able to share your stories and allow other interested people to take part in the process. 

        The Co-up lab incubation programme will run over one semester. As a participant you are expected to spend a minimum of 10 hours per week on the programme, corresponding approximately to a 7.5 credits course. (Active attendance is the prerequisite in order to receive a certificate).  

        Questions and answers on the Co-up Lab programme!

        Learning objectives and outcomes

        Knowledge and understanding

        • User-focus and health innovation
        • Product and service development within healthcare and life science
        • Healthcare market, stakeholders and complexity of the healthcare system
        • Basics related to regulatory, IP and IPR

        Competence and skills

        • Design thinking and specific user-centered tools (e.g. empathy maps, customer-journeys, storytelling and communication)
        • Develop and test prototypes (MVPs), analyze feedback from users and other stakeholders
        • Basic business tools, e.g. SWOT, NABC and BMC

        Judgment and approach

        • Critical understanding of entrepreneurship
        • Identify how and when to apply methods taught
        • Reflect on entrepreneurial opportunities and see these as relevant for one’s
        • future career

        A certificate by EIT Health will be handed out upon successful completion of the programme. Active attendance is a prerequisite for this.


        Please reach out if you have questions, ideas, or feedback!

        Anna Birgersdotter

        Project leader
        EIT Health is supported by the EU, a body of the European Union