R&D initiative aims to bridge gap between research and application

Centres for research into energy utilisation and sustainable building design are part of a major new R&D initiative for the built environment launched as the BRE-Universities Partnership. Initially, there are four research centres; energy utilisation is at the University of Strathclyde and sustainable building design is at the University of Cardiff. Speaking at the launch event last month, Environment Minister Elliot Morley said, ‘I very much welcome the new centres of excellence, and I see them as a good way of beginning to bridge the gap between research and industry. This challenging new partnership will take on ensuring that construction programmes deliver buildings that are sustainable, both in their construction and in their life-time operations.’ The Centre for Energy Utilisation Research will develop research capabilities that focus on the interface between energy demand and supply and those that promote the evolution of improved integrated models of energy and environmental performance of the built environment. The Centre for Sustainable Building Design will focus on all aspects of sustainable building design. Sir Neville Simms, chairman of BRE Trust, explains, ‘I am certain that the UK’s built environment capabilities are fit for purpose and, above all, sustainable both in their construction and life-time operations. To do so may, in some cases, require new knowledge to be generated, but even more important is the effective application of knowledge, both new and old. ‘There is an “applications gap” or “knowledge transfer gap” between research and knowledge generation and their practical applications. ‘Because the built environment covers so many disciplines and practices that interact in complex ways, the negative effects of this gap between knowledge generation and practice can be even more pronounced in built-environment applications than in other areas.’

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