Since its inception 10 years ago, the Laing O’Rourke Centre for Construction Engineering and Technology, University of Cambridge, has focused on driving transformation in the construction sector, in collaboration with strategic industry partner Laing O’Rourke.
The Centre’s milestone Report explores a decade of work across education, research, innovation and thought leadership, highlighting what is possible when industry expertise and academic rigour meet.
The Centre has focused on driving change by working across three core pillars:
Education and skills
An emphasis on education and skills is crucial for long-term, large-scale change.
- The Construction Engineering Master’s degree is a highly acclaimed advanced leadership programme for industry professionals, which has educated 126 professionals across 49 companies thus far. The unique programme’s reputation continues to grow as industry acknowledges the power of this course to drive change, leading to a growing cadre of alumni who are moving into leadership positions from which they can effect change and implement the knowledge learned during the degree.
- The Centre also offers executive education opportunities – providing space for senior company personnel to reflect on their businesses’ activities and stay up-to-date on cutting-edge technologies.
Research and Innovation
The Centre’s portfolio of collaborative research projects places a strong emphasis on technology and innovation to address industry challenges. The portfolio covers all three of the strategic areas highlighted by the Construction Sector Deal as key for delivering transformative goals as well as prioritising the strategies and actions needed to achieve net-zero carbon and mitigate climate change.
Core research topics cover:
- Digital techniques and technologies
- Offsite manufacturing
- Whole life asset performance
Key accompanying research themes include:
- Net-zero Carbon
Thought Leadership and Policy
The Centre contains a wealth of expertise and sector knowledge, as well as an ever-growing body of research aimed at generating an evidence base to inform key policy decisions in government and industry. Our network of engaged researchers, industry experts and decision-makers ensures that research, innovative technologies, skills and leadership effectively deliver impact to industry and society. We have built the base upon which this work can grow and we look forward to increasing the scope and intensity of our advisory impact.
Collaboration is key to delivering positive impact across all three pillars covered by the Centre’s mission. Together, these partnerships foster industry-relevant outputs and offer industry access to evidence-based research, world-class researchers and skill-development opportunities. Industry, academia, government bodies and associated organisations can become strong allies in transforming the way infrastructure is designed, built and managed – together driving the innovation needed to achieve the Construction Sector Deal goals and secure the associated benefits.
Professor Campbell Middleton, Centre Director, said: “Our 10th anniversary comes at a pivotal time for the industry. The fourth industrial revolution brings unprecedented opportunities to modernise construction through the exploitation of information and new technologies that can inform and underpin better decision-making to help shape society and improve the quality of life in an equitable and sustainable way.”
The Centre strives for this vision and is in a good position to be at the vanguard of such a transformation, working with industry and policy makers to apply academic excellence and leadership where it is most needed – to turn opportunities into impact.
Ray O’Rourke, Laing O’Rourke CEO, said: “The formation of the Laing O’Rourke Centre for Construction Engineering and Technology has allowed leading academics, industry pioneers and inspiring students to collaborate and apply radical thinking, shaping solutions that will drive a more productive, innovative and sustainable future.
“Since the Centre’s launch we have seen an increasing adoption of modern methods of construction and off site manufacturing and bear witness to how new technologies and working cultures are attracting a more diverse workforce. We still have some way to go to truly transform our industry, and see recognition of the role it plays in creating communities and sustaining economies.
“The research and innovation nurtured within the Centre will support these aims and I look forward to helping drive this through Laing O’Rourke’s continued partnership with this world-leading seat of learning.”