The Bartlett School of Sustainable Construction


Seminar series: Future-proofing engineering systems - theory meets practice

This lecture series considers the potential for innovative engineering and project management approaches to futureproof how we develop and operate construction projects.


The traditional way of designing a project is to service a prescribed set of specifications. Instead, a shift in mindset is required to design engineering systems that meet the needs and opportunities that exist over time. We want engineering systems that can adapt to the actual demands occurring at different points over the system's lifetime.

Bringing together researchers, policy makers and leading industry innovators at the cutting edge of engineering and project management, this series explores the possibilities for futureproofing engineering systems in the built environment.

About the Speakers


Professor Giorgio Locatelli


Title: Modularising megaprojects for replicability: the case of Small Modular Reactors (SMR)

11 March 2022 - 1.00 - 2.00pm

  • “Monolithic Megaprojects” are often delivered over budget and late
  • The larger the project the more likely it is to encounter issues with its delivery
  • Infrastructure modularisation and modularity can be an attractive alternative
  • The nuclear sector and Small Modular Reactors are a relevant case for this principle


Full professor of Complex Projects Business at Politecnico di Milano – School of Management. Educated in Politecnico di Milano, has a Bachelor’s and Masters in mechanical engineering (2006) and a PhD “Cum Laude” in Engineering management (2011). He attracted more than £1,000,000 of research funds. Giorgio also works as a consultant and visiting academic for several public and private organisations, including the IAEA, ANL, the UK government. He authored more than 100 international peer-reviewed publications. Giorgio sits in the editorial boards of “International Journal of Project Management”, “Project Management Journal” (where is a senior editor), “Progress in Nuclear Energy”, “Construction Management and Economics”.

giorgio locatelli

Watch here

Professor Nuno Gil


Title: Megaprojects and Society

8 April 2022 - 1.00 - 2.00pm

A powerful new conceptual understanding of ‘megaprojects’ as a purposeful form of organizing capital production is emerging in management scholarship and policy that  offers novel insights on their role as a generic entity in society. Drawing on examples from the UK, I will mobilize this nascent conceptualization to shed light on why megaproject delays, cost overruns and scope creep are so widespread, and what we – scholars, practitioners, and policymakers - can do about it. Specifically, I will argue for the need to see megaprojects as social artefacts set up with the purpose of producing economic returns as well as positive  social and environmental spill overs (and of avoiding negative ones). And so, to see megaprojects not only as instruments of value creation, but also of value distribution in a way that stakeholders see as fair.


Prof. Gill’s research has been predominantly informed by studying new infrastructure development projects so-called 'megaprojects'. With his PhD students and collaborators, Nuno has developed theory, conceptual frameworks and methods for communicating how to design and manage these capital-intensive project-based organizations. His research has investigated development processes, product and organizational architectures, and contracting and procurement strategies. More recently, Nuno has started to study the role of organizational design in tackling the Grand Challenges of the XXI Century including population growth, climate change and the development of the Global South. Nuno was the lead editor of Duality by Design: The Global Race to Build Africa's Infrastructure (Cambridge Press, 2019); and is currently authoring a book for MIT Press, A Theory of Megaprojects, Value Creation and Value Distribution.

nuno gill

Watch here

Dr. Joana Geraldi


Title: Projectification of engineering systems

3 May 2022 - 1.00 - 2.00pm

Whether through the delivery of a sewage system or energy distribution system, megaprojects are designed to intervene in engineering systems in a purposeful and deliberate manner. Although they always transform the system, their impact is partly predictable and partly unknowable. While the uncertainty surrounding megaprojects is widely accepted in practice and literature, project achievements are still compared against planned goals, and megaprojects are declared to be over budget, over time, over and over again, Flyvbjerg poignantly insists. Why is it so hard to design, deliver and yield long-term benefits from megaprojects? In the talk, I will provide some potential answers to this question. The talk is based on a book chapter and Andy Davies and I published in the Springer Handbook on Engineering Systems. Grounding our work in project studies literature, we will discuss four challenges involved in managing megaprojects: 1) delivering purposeful interventions, 2) integrating complex work under high levels of uncertainty, 3) collaborating with friends and foes and 4) innovating and learning under high time and budget constraints. I will conclude the talk with reflections about our choices of projects and how they create the engineering systems we have around us.


Joana Geraldi is associate professor at Copenhagen Business School, Department of Organizations, and leads the Center for Advanced Studies in Projects (CASPRO). Joana is passionate about projects. She studies how they are shaped and organized in firms and society. Joana’s empirical contexts are in projects and project organizing across different industrial contexts, in particular, large engineering projects, IT, construction and wind industries. In the recent years, Joana is intrigued about decisions, and studies how decisions happen in projects, looking at the interfaces between individual cognition, organizational decision making and artefacts, in particular, visualizations.

joana geraldi

Watch here

Professor Richard de Neufville and Dr. Michel-Alexandre Cardin


Title: Flexibility: Win-Win Systems Design for Uncertainty

9 June 2022 - 2.00 - 3.00pm

A conversation between Professor Richard de Neufville, Institute for Data, Systems and Society, MIT, and Dr. Michel-Alexandre Cardin, Senior Lecturer, Dyson School of Design Engineering, Imperial College London.

  • Insure against possible losses (a win) and Increase possible gains (another win),
  • Reduce overall system economic costs, and
  • Enable sustainable and resilient systems designs.
  • Thoughtful, careful implementation is necessary!

Prof. de Neufville Bio:

Dr Cardin Bio:

Michel-Alexandre Cardin

Watch here