Research

The School of the Built Environment aims to transform the quality of life for society whilst ensuring the well-being of future generations through the provision of better and more sustainable futures.

The School also makes a major contribution toward the realisation of the University strategic research theme of Built and Human Environment by engaging in quality, advanced, cutting-edge, and impactful research.

The research community

The School has an exciting and vibrant research community engaged in research, much of which also involves national and international partners. As one of the largest UK Built Environment schools, we have some 50 research active staff, many of whom are internationally recognised leaders in their field.

Members of our research centres place considerable importance on contributing to the built environment research community and the professions, within the UK and internationally. Many members act as Leaders and Coordinators of Research Working Commissions and Groups, Assessors for Research Funding Bodies; Visiting Professors; External Examiners; Journal Editors; Members of International Scientific Committees; and International Conference Organisers.

Postgraduate research students (PGR) are also fundamental to our research activities, culture and ethos, and so is the recruitment, supervision, progression and completion, and support for our PGR activities. We have some 240 PhD students from around the world undertaking research programmes with us.

Research strategy and themes

Our research strategy is anchored around eight fundamental pillars, which are:

  • Quality and integrity
  • People
  • Research focus
  • Research impact
  • Partnership and engagements
  • Resources
  • Communication and improved reputation; and
  • Performance.

Our research is primarily conducted under the general themes of:

  • Sustainability
  • Construction process management
  • Disaster management
  • Construction information technology.

Research under these themes are in turn operationalised within our Research Centres.

Research facilities

The School believes that the appropriateness of research facilities and the research environment impacts on the motivation to do research and on the quality of research outcomes. The provision of appropriate facilities and resources is one of the pillars of the School’s research strategy.

All researchers are provided with the required, and suitable, space and facilities to conduct their research. The School also has some dedicated facilities for research including Research Rooms, Digital Work Studios, the Energy House and the THINKlab. The latter two are available for use by research students undertaking appropriate research within the subject remits of the Energy House and the THINKlab.  

The Energy House is a unique testing asset and is the only full-scale building in an environmental chamber in Europe.  It has been designed and developed to allow leading academics and researchers to conduct scientific research into how to improve the energy efficiency of hard to treat properties, in collaboration with industry. This includes the development and testing of new materials, systems and products as well as looking at behaviour change associated with the adoption of energy efficiency measures in the home.

The THINKlab provides state-of-the-art facilities in a futuristic environment enabling researchers to engage in research that harnesses the leading developments related to Information and Communication Technologies and in providing new solutions to current and future challenges faced by industry, commerce and the community.