Although there are many issues facing the built environment, decarbonisation is THE central challenge: The UK has the stated aim of an 80% cut in carbon emissions by 2050. This target can only be met if we transform society. The built environment is responsible for 50% of relevant emissions, making it the largest single emitter, and therefore it will need to be near fully decarbonised by that date.
The Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering together with the Departments of Mech. Eng., Psychology, Computer Science and Maths at the University of Bath propose a Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in the Decarbonisation of the Built Environment. The CDT will place the fundamental need of society to decarbonise at the core of a broad spectrum of research and training. A dynamic, multidisciplinary research and training environment (the combined research income since 2008 of the 7 departments is >£60m (£22.8m from EPSRC)) will underpin transformative research and training in the built environment. This will respond to a national and global need for highly skilled and talented scientists and engineers in the area, as evidenced by a recent report by the Royal Academy of Engineering, and as testified to by our key industrial partners.
This, multidisciplinary, Centre has three aims, all centred on aiding this rapid decarbonisation: (i) to further the UK research agenda on sustainable building design including retrofit, materials and energy in-use; (ii) train the next generation of research-led engineering leaders and architects that will enter the construction profession through the UK's major engineering companies and architectural firms; (iii) help provide the next generation of academics who will have prime influence in this field fr20 onwards.
All students will receive cohort-based foundation training to supplement their original undergraduate or masters knowledge, as well as training in the post-carbon built environment and transferable skills. They will all conduct high quality and challenging research within EPSRC's Sustainable Built Environments priority area and be directed by joint supervision from different disciplines within the CDT and other departments where necessary. The broad research themes encompass the areas of: materials; building physics; construction management; control; social science; resilience to climate change, economics and architecture.
Participation from key industry partners will address stakeholder needs, and partner institutions such as the Building Research Establishment, Arup, Atkins, Buro Happold, Arup, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, Lhoist, Expedition will provide world-leading external input, along with meaningful opportunities for student placements. Detailed management plans have been developed in order to facilitate the smooth running of the centre and to enable excellence in the training and research aspects of the proposal. The CDT will be supported by the creation of physical and virtual laboratories for the students.
This initiative has attracted strong and influential support: "Within this field, decarbonisation is a crucial factor for our clients" and "There is no doubt in my mind that Bath University is the right place for such a Centre......it is the best of the multi-disciplinary schools in the country that allows people to bridge between the traditional disciplines" Michael Cook, Chairman Buro Happold.