Construction Innovation Centre to link HEIs and industry

27 March 2014

Construction Innovation Centre to link HEIs and industry

A £7.5 million Construction Innovation Centre is to be established in Scotland to connect industry and academia.

The Construction Scotland-led Innovation Centre will provide the 31,000-plus businesses involved in the sector with a one-stop shop for accessing a team of academic experts and public support.

Funded by the Scottish Funding Council, the centre is supported by Scottish Enterprise, Highlands & Islands Enterprise and 11 Scottish universities, including Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU). 

Colin Murchison, Associate Dean for Business Development, from GCU’s School of Engineering and Built Environment, said:“The Construction Scotland Innovation Centre offers the sector a one stop shop to access the academic expertise it needs to develop new and innovative solutions to improving the design, delivery and performance of construction projects. GCU is particularly well placed to support industrial partners with the adoption of Building Information Modelling (BIM), improved energy efficiency and material testing through the use of our unique Environmental Chambers.”

Edinburgh Napier University, which developed the bid alongside industry and other university partners, will carry out the administration of the centre.

Ed Monaghan, Chair of Construction Scotland, said: “With construction strongly influencing the quality of the environment in which we all live and work, it is essential that developments taking shape on projects around the country are connected to the academic capability and innovation in our higher education sector as this will ensure that an innovative culture pervades our industry.

"This is essential to the future of construction here in Scotland as we increasingly respond to stringent sustainability agendas and new market opportunities both here and abroad. "Therefore we are delighted with receipt of the funding from the SFC to enable the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre to get off the ground as it is excellent news for us and the industry as a whole. We are looking forward to working with other Innovation Centres.

“We know from our research that the industry wants and needs the Innovation Centre. Exemplar projects such as the delivery of the Commonwealth Games Athletes’ Village, the M74 completion and the Forth Replacement Crossing demonstrate that collaboration, knowledge exchange and innovation is achievable, but not the norm. The role of the Innovation Centre is to transform that mindset and ensure innovation becomes business-as-usual, creating a sector that is sustainable and one that generates greater economic impact for Scotland.”

With the initial funding for the Innovation Centre now in place, plans are rapidly progressing to get the Centre up and running, with the Board and staff team to be appointed in the next few weeks.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “The construction industry underpins all of Scotland’s key sectors and therefore underpins the success of our whole economy. Construction Scotland was established some 18 months ago to become the voice of the construction industry here in Scotland. It is particularly pleasing to see their efforts in bringing together the wide variety of professions and trades it represents – as well as academia and the public sector - and there’s no doubt that this new Innovation Centre will ensure that everyone involved works ever more collaboratively to achieve our goals and aspirations for the sector.”

Professor Andrea Nolan, Principal of Edinburgh Napier University said: “There is substantial expertise across the eleven Scottish universities which will support the future innovation centre. “Many of the academics are national and international leading experts in their fields, including the award-winning experts in our own Institute for Sustainable Construction.”

She added: “The formation of this new centre is a testament to the knowledge exchange between Scotland’s universities and the support they give the industry. “The construction sector faces many challenges but also opportunities. The centre will provide a transformational platform for delivering economic and environmental benefits for our future generations”.

Laurence Howells, Interim Chief Executive of the Scottish Funding Council said: “I am confident that our £7.5 million investment in the Construction Innovation Centre will help the Scottish building industry meet ambitious targets for carbon free buildings, resulting in positive benefits for the economy, the environment and in lower energy bills for households of the future.”

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