Let me recount what an average engineering university could do to generate R&D work that can change the faces and environments at our campuses.This is from my own perspective.Others could add to the list.
1)generate their own electricity and run a cogen plant/CHP to cater to the heaitng,cooling and hot water requirements.If it is a thermal power plant,it may come from a vendor,but it should be different to serve R&D needs,demonstration and experimentation facilities,simulators etc. It should not be a black box and a closed box.It should be open and sturdy and not too sophisticated.It should run on various fuels such as oil,gas,biomass,coal and solid waste.University should dispose its solid waste and of its closeby neighbours.It may burn,recycle and produce biogas from organic waste.
2)University should have its own fresh water treatment facility including a revers osmosis plant.It should treat its sewerage and effluent,produce useful products such as bio-gas and fertilizer and recycle water for plantation.
3)These days solar Pv slabs could be made/assembled by the students and solar pv power systems installed.
4)There should be measurement labs to enable students to monitor operations and record data for later analysis and journal submission requirements.Graduate students could be involved in more creative,original and theoretical work,but still focussed around the installed operational and monitoring and observational facilities
5)In this manner universities can save a lot of money ,provide a deeper insight into the subjects by direct observations and varying degrees of involvements with the installed systems.
6)Other nearby faculties of science in the area of bio-sciences for bacterial studies and input could be involved and engaged.Multi-disciplinary teams can be set-up
The afore-mentioned is but a small list with which a decent beginning can be made by virtually all engineering universities.Much more can be added in the area of electronics,electrical engineering and computer and instrumentation.Infact all these subjects could be built around these facilities and other similar facilities to be installed at the campus.