£72m given to technical industry research

By Catriona Lingwood, Chief Executive of Constructing Excellence in the North East

The government has approved £72m for industry research into technical innovation. The Core Innovation Hub is part of the government’s modern Industrial Strategy, it will transform the industry by supporting the development and use of technologies such as digital design, advanced manufacturing, robotics, drones and augmented and virtual reality.

Following a nationwide competition as part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, the government, through UK Research and Innovation, awarded the funding to the Transforming Construction Alliance, a partnership between the Manufacturing Technology Centre, BRE and Cambridge University’s Centre for Digital Built Britain.

The increased use of technology will enable the industry to design and build faster, cheaper and more sustainably – which is exactly what we all want. Smart sensors and digital systems will be incorporated into buildings and infrastructure, so they can manage and maintain themselves – and the data they gather will enable the government and industry to make our towns and cities better places to live, work and travel in.

As an industry, we have historically been slower than others in maximising the opportunities arising from innovation. Understanding innovation’s value is so important in a fast-moving business climate where markets and technologies are continually evolving. While we have worked hard to keep up with the changes and challenges if we do not now focus on embedding innovation in our businesses and across the industry, there is a risk that we will be left behind and become uncompetitive. The Core Innovation Hub is there to ensure this does not happen and that the industry meets the challenges it could face. It will be a constant helping hand and reminder that we need to put innovation in the heart of everything we do. It plays an essential role in delivering increased sector productivity by accelerating industry innovation. It will enable businesses to develop and validate new products and manufacturing and assembly processes and will leverage investment into UK offsite manufacturing capability.

Modern technologies will be the cornerstone of construction sector reform to increase productivity, efficiency and quality of delivery. However, for change to happen, new cultures and ways of working need to be driven from the top; leaders of companies large and small need to ‘think digital’ in everything they do. Constructing Excellence in the North East are holding an event with the Construction Industry Training Board and Generation for Change about the opportunities and challenges of digital construction technologies. The ‘Unlocking Constructions Digital Future’ event on Thursday 31 January, will include speakers from; CITB, BIM Strategy, Kier and Space. The event will look at:

  • How to increase your awareness of digital construction techniques
  • Future digital construction technologies
  • The implications for construction skills and training
  • Funding available to digitally upskill your workforce.

To register for this event please contact Grace Collinson on 0191 500 7880 or grace@cene.org.uk