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Centre for Digital Built Britain

Blog - Introducing Alexandra Bolton - Assistant Director

In this Blog we hear from the Centre's Assistant Director, Alexandra Bolton, as she describes her role and her vision for the Centre.

"In the future we will be harnessing data from all sorts of sources – people with their smart phones, transport systems and buildings. A Digital Built Britain will use data to create a society where we can optimise the quality of life for its citizens while strengthening the economy.”

Alexandra Bolton, Assistant Director, CDBB

My role at the Centre for Digital Built Britain (CDBB) is multi-faceted and reflects the programme itself, which is far-reaching combining academia, industry, and policy.

I am still very much involved in all of the aspects required to set up the Centre: I sit on the management board; look after the governance of the Centre; and liaise with a number of other parties who work alongside us. I also have a role on the Research Bridgehead, creating the research environment and developing the projects and ideas that will shape the wider programme.

Working at the Centre is fascinating. There is a huge range of topics that come under the Digital Built Britain (DBB) banner, from looking at very technical and bespoke solutions to an issue, through to considering the ethics and philosophical questions around implementing that technology. I find the variety and scope of discussions that emerge around these matters entirely absorbing.

That said, overseeing a Centre of this scale does have its moments. Setting up such a wide-reaching programme from scratch means there is a lot of learning to be done.

CDBB is not a Cambridge-only programme. We want to engage with the best people in the field – wherever they are. Our programme is very open and we are actively looking for engagement – be that with academics and researchers from other institutions, and industry partners from a range of organisations. We are reaching out in a number of ways – including calls for mini projects, network awards, industry events and workshops – and creating an environment where people share their ideas.

DBB has already completed significant work and we are fortunate to have a number of key team members working with us at the Centre. They bring their expertise, contacts and knowledge which, combined with the Cambridge environment, has allowed us to build something that, I think, is bigger than the sum of the parts

The University has a track record of working with industry and taking ideas to market and the Centre will champion this model. Our collaborations with academia and industry will enable digital ideas from world-class research to reach industry and be used on a daily basis to make a positive difference to our built environment.

The Centre will bring particular focus to how people use built assets in their everyday lives.  Data from a variety of sources delivers information that will inform how we design and deliver buildings that people want to live and work in, that promote heath and wellbeing and support a stronger economy and society.

Data is key. Without good data and good use of data you can’t make good decisions. But how do we collect that data and how do we store that data and what are the implications of having this vast quantity of data? How do we use that data to build a better society, to build a better city, to build a better country?

The mission of the University is to contribute to society through the pursuit of education, learning, and research at the highest international levels of excellence, and this is something CDBB, with its partners and collaborators, is well placed to do.


, Assistant Director, CDBB

The music included in this video was produced using AI software. Create your own at Jukedeck.