UCL launches interdisciplinary research community to revolutionise the delivery of UK construction
22 November 2018
A new network of academics, industry professionals and policy makers has been launched to inform future construction policy and practice, with £1m research funding available for user-inspired projects.
On 20 November 2018, the Transforming Construction Network Plus was launched at UCL, bringing together academics, policy makers and industrial partners to transform the construction sector.
The Transforming Construction Network Plus (N+) unites construction’s academic and industrial communities to create a new research and knowledge base, dedicated to addressing the systemic problems holding back the sector. The N+ is led by the UCL Bartlett School of Construction and Project Management, in partnership with Imperial College London and WMG, University of Warwick.
The N+ is funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) as an investment under the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF), with the support of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). The Transforming Construction Challenge brings together the construction, manufacturing, energy and digital sectors to revolutionise how the buildings the UK needs are delivered.
Funding for academic-led, user-inspired projects
Starting in November 2018, this two year programme aims to distribute £1m of funding through small project calls, to deliver research that enables innovation as a pathway to real impact for the UK's built environment. The N+ will support interdisciplinary research through workshop and discovery events, conferences and impact support.
Funding is available for small academic-led, user-inspired projects that respond to the Transforming Construction Challenge’s core themes:
- designing and managing buildings through digitally-enabled performance management
- constructing quality buildings through an offsite manufacturing approach
- powering buildings through embedded active technologies and improved quality of build
The first round of application calls will be announced in January 2019, followed by a series of national briefing workshops to stimulate ideas and develop collaborative relationships.
Prof Jacqui Glass, N+ Principal Investigator, said:
“It is high time we tackled the persistent and difficult challenges that constrain UK construction from delivering to its full potential. We are calling on the academic community and engaged users from industry to come together and respond to the three themes in the Transforming Construction Challenge in a collaborative way that constructively disrupts our current thinking and industry practices.
Our aspiration is the the N+ will be the catalyst to enable authentic change – making best use of this once in a lifetime digital opportunity, exploiting energy technologies, and devising new delivery models that enable our industry to become a world leader in construction innovation. We need nothing less than a transformation in people, process, products and policy to make this happen – and that is exactly what the N+ is setting out to do.”
Watch the launch event online
A recording of talks and discussion from the N+ launch event - held at UCL on 20 November - is available to watch online:
- Professor Jacqui Glass, N+ Principal Investigator and Chair of Construction Management, UCL Bartlett School of Construction and Project Management
- Dr Martin Davies, Director of Business and Innovation Partnerships, UCL Innovation and Enterprise
- Dr Mike Pitts, Interim Transforming Construction Challenge Director, Innovate UK
- Professor Jan Godsell, N+ Co-Investigator and Professor of Operations and Supply Chain Strategy, WMG, University of Warwick
- Professor Jennifer Whyte, N+ Co-Investigator and Laing O'Rourke/RAEng Chair in Systems Integration, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Imperial College London
- Ann Bentley, Chair of the N+ Strategy Board and Construction Leadership Council Lead on Supply Chain and Business Models