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Blog - CDBB Update - Alexandra Bolton

last modified Mar 14, 2018 02:13 PM
Alexandra Bolton, Deputy Director of the Centre for Digital Built Britain (CDBB), reports on the latest CDBB mini research projects, and makes the case for taking a multidisciplinary approach to the digital agenda.

The Centre’s call for mini research projects at the end of last year was very well met and attracted a wide range of extremely interesting topics. The quick turnaround time for completion (close of March 2018) meant it was not possible, on this occasion, to extend the call to external institutions, but that is certainly something that we will be remedying in this financial year. Any of our research calls for next year will be external and open; it is essential that we, as a Centre, work with the people who are best in their field regardless of their affiliation.

The Centre deliberately kept the call for mini projects quite open in terms of scope, which offered an opportunity to find out what work is going on at the University of Cambridge in the wider areas of the digital environment. CDBB has seven core objectives and as long as projects fell under one of these they could be considered.

We were extremely pleased to receive 25 wide-ranging applications including: very technical research looking at a digital framework for adaptive design in supported excavation; a project applying 3D immersive environments to test a building for people with a range of conditions that affect processing sensory inputs; to a case study of The Edge, a sustainable and smart building in Amsterdam, and research that exploits traffic data to improve asset management and quality of life for citizens.

I think it is very important to be aware of work going on at the edge of the digital field so new research outputs that might be relevant can be included.  On 10 and 11 April we are holding a two-day Research Network Scoping Workshop at the Moller Centre in Cambridge to consider what research questions we need to answer around enhancing the performance of built assets by better use of data. We want to bring together a multidisciplinary research community to support the development of networks to explore capabilities of the UK as we move towards a digital built Britain. This will be followed by calls based on the output of the workshop to underpin these capabilities.

The Centre for Digital Built Britain is interdisciplinary by nature and not just a technical programme. In order to consider the wider effects of the digital agenda on society and the economy, we need interaction with the clinical schools, with philosophers, and economists. Identifying the questions to be asked in order to to establish how people want to use the built environment requires working with a multidisciplinary team, which we are starting to build – not just in Cambridge, but with other institutions too.

Without this dynamic and widely-informed approach there would be danger of creating something technically perfect, but potentially unuseable, or difficult to use. That is why the Centre is reaching out to a range of researchers and organisations that may not typically be linked with a technical programme. It is this far-reaching and open approach that will ensure what comes out of the CDBB programme is fit for use by society.

Contact: Alexandra Bolton

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Welcome to the Centre for Digital Built Britain.  

The Centre for Digital Built Britain is a partnership between the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and the University of Cambridge to deliver a smart digital economy for infrastructure and construction for the future and transform the UK construction industry’s approach to the way we plan, build, maintain and use our social and economic infrastructure.

Upcoming events

Research Network Scoping Workshop

Apr 10, 2018

Moller Centre, Cambridge

Upcoming events