University launches construction research centre at industry summit


Professor Arif taking part in a panel discussion, chaired by Prof McDermot

Research and innovation may play an even greater role in supporting industry post Brexit, a leading professor has told the Construction Summit North.

Launching the Centre for Built Environment, Sustainability and Transformation (BEST) at Emirates Old Trafford, Professor Mohammed Arif told 300 industry delegates that the need for research and information was “potentially more fertile” because of the uncertainty over the EU exit.

And the Centre Director invited delegates from the architecture, housing and construction sectors to engage with researchers who were “experienced and industry focused”.

Construction Summit North, organised by the Greater Manchester Chambers of Commerce,  is the largest event of its kind outside London and sponsored by the University of Salford, which chaired a series of sessions.

The main event was the launch of BEST by Professor Arif who spoke of the School of the Built Environment’s long track-record in applied research.

“Our objective is to work with you in collaboration to solve your problems and help prepare you for some of the issues coming your way,” he said.

Professor Arif, an expert in off-site construction and technology, introduced three sub-directors and their areas:

  • The Built Environment Informatics Group – BIM, integrated design, GIS and visualisation led by Professor Jason Underwood
  • The Management of Construction and Property Group – led by Professor Peter McDermott
  • The Applied Building and Energy Research Group – focussed on Energy House and Energy House 2 – led by Professor Will Swan

Peter led a session on the Northern Powerhouse and the impact of policy and he and Mohammed were panellists on a discussion about future challenges in the industry and how universities and companies can provide the skilled workforce to support change.

The event is a perfect example of the university working on its Industry Collaboration Zones (ICZ) strategy and was attended by ICZ Programme Manager Jennifer Hinsley, Professor Hisham Elkadi Dean of the School, Neil Currie Director of Engineering responsible for our new Maker Space and and Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research & Enterprise) Professor Nigel Mellors.

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