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Sir Frank Gibb Building

20 May 2013

Loughborough University to establish a Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Design

Loughborough University is joining forces with the Royal Academy of Engineering to establish a Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Design.

It has been selected, along with three other universities across the UK, to take part in the initiative.  The four centres will form a national network to demonstrate and exchange best practice in teaching and research for the sustainable built environment.

The rationale for improving teaching and research in this area comes from an Academy report published last year, ‘The Case for Centres of Excellence in Sustainable Building Design’.  By enhancing the curriculum for undergraduate engineering students, it will enable them to experience interdisciplinary, collaborative problem solving and help them unlock their potential for innovation.  The centres will also provide continuing professional development to engineers already working in the construction industry.

Educating new and existing engineers about the importance of tackling emissions from the built environment will also be a key aspect of the centres. 

The Academy’s Professor Doug King FREng, who is leading the initiative to set up the new centres of excellence, explains: “UK Construction is changing rapidly as the industry assimilates new requirements for sustainability and new working practices.

“The education of construction professionals is also under scrutiny for its relevance to this new paradigm.  The new Centres of Excellence in Sustainable Building Design will develop new research-led teaching for engineers.  They will prepare engineering graduates to deliver the sustainable buildings the UK needs at substantially lower cost than is presently achieved.  The savings will be measured in billions of pounds to the UK economy and a substantial reduction in commercial risk for developers.”

Loughborough University takes in over 200 students every year on its construction-related engineering courses, which have been developed jointly with industry partners.  Research carried out at the campus includes studies on sustainable materials, urban scale sustainability and the development of technologies to reduce energy demand.

Professor Jacqui Glass, who will lead Loughborough’s Centre said: “We are delighted that the Academy has recognised the quality of research base and multi-disciplinary curriculum in this way.  Loughborough students will benefit from an even stronger engagement with our research programmes in their teaching, which will enhance their employability, and the externally-facing Centre activities will enable practitioners to interact directly with cutting edge research teams.”

The three other centres will be based at Heriot-Watt University, the University of Sheffield and University College London.

−ENDS−

Notes for editors

Article reference number: PR 13/86

1. Founded in 1976, The Royal Academy of Engineering promotes the engineering and technological welfare of the country. Our fellowship – comprising the UK’s most eminent engineers – provides the leadership and expertise for our activities, which focus on the relationships between engineering, technology, and the quality of life. As a national academy, we provide independent and impartial advice to Government; work to secure the next generation of engineers; and provide a voice for Britain’s engineering community.

2. Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It was awarded the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year 2008-09 title, and is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in national newspaper league tables. In the 2011 National Student Survey, Loughborough was voted one of the top universities in the UK, and has been voted England's Best Student Experience for six years running in the Times Higher Education league. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

It is a member of the 1994 Group of 11 leading research-intensive universities. The Group was established in 1994 to promote excellence in university research and teaching. Each member undertakes diverse and high-quality research, while ensuring excellent levels of teaching and student experience.

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