Cracking the link between higher education and industry

Constructing Excellence

The room was buzzing last week as the industry got together with their academic counterparts to look at ways that the two sectors can work together to meet the CEHE group’s vision of ‘An innovation-active sector with a strong exchange of knowledge and ideas with the research and knowledge base of the further and higher education sectors.’

The backdrop of Loughborough University’s London campus in the heart of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park provided the perfect demonstration of what the industry can achieve when it works collaboratively to deliver excellence.  The event aimed  to facilitate better connections between those in the room and to help shape dissertation topics to ensure that dissertation outputs are much more relevant to the industry, providing usable outputs for industry and greater industry exposure for students.


The Constructing Excellence Higher Education Group Chair explained the context of the group, how it was established to create better linkage between industry and academia.

View the slides here: CEHE Intro JdS

Our host for the day, Professor Jacque Glass from the School of Civil & Building Engineering at Loughborough University spoke about the value of industry input into teaching and research.  Through 4 impressive examples, Jacqui was able to demonstrate the value that collaboration has delivered in order to deliver genuine impact and value from research.

Jacqui’s Impact-Trust Iceberg demonstrates how increased levels of engagement leads to greater levels of impact, moving from awareness, through exchange to the levels of deep embedding of knowledge and expertise that delivers genuine impact.

The collaboration journey has some good advice for how to successfully navigate collaboration between industry and academia.


View the slides here: Loughborough Presentation

Constructing Excellence members Invennt proved that collaboration with universities is not just for large companies.  Micro businesses can gain great value and deliver business growth through collaboration was the message from MD Brendan Morahan and former UCL intern Sree Vinayak.

As an intern Sree had the opportunity to really understand the construction industry in the UK and make the kinds of connections needed to effectively deliver his research in Construction Economics and Management.  Brendan spoke about the importance of the individuals involved in collaboration and their attitudes in delivering effective collaboration.  Brendan was a proponent for delivering guest lectures, especially as a micro business as students will be very effective at challenging your thinking and testing your ideas.


View the slides here: Invennt Presentation

With a focus on dissertation topics a lively brokerage session ensued around 8 core areas of interest identified by attendees in advance.  Detailed discussions happened at each of the tables.


  • Procurement
  • Business Models
  • Construction Law
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Dispute Resolution


  • BIM (BIM Level 3)
  • Data
  • Sensors
  • Cyber Security
  • Virtual Reality
  • Augmented Reality
  • Smart Cities
  • Building Simulation


  • De-Carbonising Construction
  • Waste Management
  • Resilience
  • Energy
  • Low Carbon Economy
  • Renewable Energy
  • Retrofit and Heritage

Construction Management

  • Project Management
  • Mega-Projects
  • Leadership
  • Health & Safety


  • Building Physics
  • Civil Engineering
  • Construction Products / Manufacturing
  • Fire Safety

Responsible & Ethical Sourcing

Download a full copy of the day’s proceedings: delegate pack

Some of the key discussion points revolved around how dissertation topics and outputs could be made more relevant and how businesses can be made more aware of the value of collaboration with higher education.  Discussion points included BIM & IP, Virtual & Augmented Reality, Block Chain, Risk, Lean and Interdependencies as well as operational issues around crowd-sourcing dissertations and student placements.


The next meeting of the group will be early May, please let us know if you want to be involved in helping us scope where this collaboration goes next.