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Centre for Digital Built Britain

Blog - CBDD Research Agenda and the launch of the Network Call

Alexandra Bolton, Deputy Director of the Centre for Digital Built Britain, reflects on the research agenda for Digital Built Britain that marked its launch at the Centre’s Research Network Scoping Workshop this week.

The Centre for Digital Built Britain (CDBB) established the Research Bridgehead, under the leadership of Dr Jennifer Schooling, to manage the identification and delivery of the Digital Built Britain (DBB) research programme.

The first step to establish the research agenda was made this week when our Research Network Scoping Workshop took place in the Moller Centre, Cambridge (10 and 11 April). We are delighted that the workshop attracted a large number of delegates from industry and academia who are interested in supporting the Centre to explore the capabilities of the UK in moving towards a digital built Britain.

The two-day event provided an opportunity for a wide range of interested parties to join exploratory workshops and plenary sessions designed to help us to understand better the research and capabilities landscape. The focus of the workshop, which was split into a number of parallel groups to consider topics from a research and 180410_AlexandraBoltonx250applications perspective, explored the question: what insights and capabilities are needed, and when, in order to deliver and manage DBB through asset, infrastructure and service lifecycles in the face of changing contexts?

The workshop was run in the context of a framework, which Dr Charles Boulton explains in a short video.  During the workshop it became clear that this framework was well worth exploring, investigating and refining and, over the next few months, we will be working with a wider group of people to look at different ways of viewing it.

To reflect the diverse and far-reaching scope of the DBB programme, we are creating a network model that will bring together academic researchers, industry and stakeholder organisations to drive the creation of the research agenda.

180410_Jenniferx300At the workshop Dr Schooling launched the official call for bids to form these networks. The main aims of the networks are to help us to articulate the research agenda, to explore the research landscape and to create a collaborative community of researchers that will help us to deliver the DBB research agenda in the future.

These networks will then, in the longer term, undertake the work to create and disseminate the capabilities for the UK. Each network will work on a specific area of the research landscape to capture the state of play in research in that area and to articulate the future research agenda in that area. This agenda will lay out the big capability challenges that the UK needs to address in the next decade or so to achieve and deliver DBB. The agenda will also identify candidate research questions, topics and initiatives to deliver the capabilities, identifying the priorities and possible timescales

Importantly, the CDBB team explained to delegates the importance of including practitioners and policy makers in networks as well as researchers in order to capture all viewpoints in this arena.

Those interested in either joining a developing network, or establishing a new network, can contact CDBB via the Expression of Interest form or via emailing  The formal call for networks document is also available, which may answer questions potential participants may have.

The CDBB team will work with the networks to cross-fertilise their ideas and thinking with adjacent networks in order to span any gaps. Looking at timescale, the networks will run through the rest of 2018, delivering in November and December of this year. Then, in early 2019, we will work with the community to bring together the findings into an integrated research agenda for DBB.  

Looking ahead we will be announcing additional calls for collaborative research that will further strengthen insight and capability and I look forward to sharing these with you in the not-too-distant future.


Alexandra Bolton

Jennifer Schooling

Charles Boulton