Research and Knowledge Exchange

Experts address key industry challenges at Construction AIMday

Academic-practitioners bring their experience to bear on a range of questions posed by UK industry.

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Experts from across the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (CAHSS) at the University of Edinburgh participated in an intensive AIMday on 3 October 2016 to address a range of issues defined by, and affecting, the construction industry.

Drawing on a collaborative model first used at Uppsala University in 2008, the event brought together around 30 academic-practitioners with senior figures from eleven businesses in a series of hour-long discussions.

Based on pre-submitted questions, such as ‘How should the construction sector approach innovation?’ and ‘How can we more accurately predict the health and associated benefits of improved streets and public realm design?’, the AIMday comprised a total of 18 facilitated sessions on issues ranging from sustainability and the supply chain to health and wellbeing and the use of big data.

Having played a key role in facilitating the event through Construction Edinburgh, Remo Pedreschi (Professor of Architectural Technology) said:

“AIMdays are relatively relaxed and their structure is such that the questions are open-ended and quite speculative. This fosters different approaches, certainly cross disciplinary ideas that may come from other industry sectors”.

A really fresh perspective on the sector’s pressing issues

The AIMday was organised by Construction Edinburgh, Edinburgh Research and Innovation (ERI) and the Knowledge Exchange team within (CAHSS).

In addition to the sessions based on questions by companies such as High Speed 2, Galliford Try, Jacobs and Kier Construction, there were also two plenary presentations: one by Professor Gordon Masterton, Chair of Future Infrastructure at Edinburgh; and one by Lawrence Shackman of Transport Scotland.

Commenting on the keynote speakers, Fiona McLachlan (Professor of Architectural Practice) said:

“A real highlight of AIMday was the wonderful opportunity to hear them relate the extraordinary stories of the design and construction of two of the UK’s major projects, Crossrail, and the Queensferry Crossing”.

Fiona also spoke about the collaborative nature of the event, saying:

“I’ve never before been in a room with a mathematician, engineer, architect, computer scientist, business school expert and construction industry representatives, all focused on discussing key questions - it brought a really fresh perspective”.

With thanks to Shepherd and Wedderburn for sponsoring the event. Images courtesy of Malcolm Cochrane.