Sustainable built environments

This priority area covers research and training in civil infrastructure and the built environment. Particular focus is on research in core civil engineering disciplines, incorporating a mathematical underpinning and a mixture of theoretical and experimental work. Future social and economic challenges should be covered, such as climate uncertainty, demographic change and urbanisation, integrating a core of sustainability and resilience across all areas to meet the needs of ongoing academic and industrial research.

Proposals should be explicit in how they will meet the technical skills needs of the multiple sectors and user communities that operate across the built environment and explain how integration of these requirements will form a coherent centre. Proposals should cover a broad range of research areas, such as ground and structural engineering, building physics and coastal and waterway engineering, with a focus on fundamental civil engineering skills.

Multiple reports have highlighted the needs for highly skilled engineers in this sector. The area was also signposted as one that will need new skills and an increased quantity of existing skills in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (now the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy [BEIS]) published Low Carbon Construction, Innovation Growth Team Report.

Centre based cohort training is crucial to ensure a multidisciplinary and collaborative approach to research in the area, which is required to work across sectors, solve complex problems and generate the flow of skilled people needed by industry.