TSB launches £7m competition to boost UK construction ICT

The UK’s Technology Strategy Board (TSB) is to invest up to £12 million through three new research and development competitions that will stimulate innovation and support growth across the UK, with the lion’s share (£7m) of the potential pot being devoted to a competition for high-value manufacturing and construction (see news release).

As a business-led government body, the TSB’s role is to stimulate UK economic growth through innovation. The £7m investment is intended to stimulate the use of innovative ICTs in the UK manufacturing and construction sectors and so increase productivity and competitiveness. In the TSB’s view, “ICT has a major role to play in many critical capabilities in manufacturing and construction including and not limited to: automation; customisation; knowledge sharing across supply chains; and simulation and modelling.” The competition will open next month (June 2011).

The ICT KTN will be holding a dedicated event with the Modern Built Environment KTN to bring together the location, construction and manufacturing communities. Details will be announced shortly; I also hear the competition bid document will be issued via the TSB website soon.

ICTAcoverHaving spent the last decade and more in construction ICT, I have heard repeated calls for government to promote the use of technology to support more collaborative approaches to project delivery. Indeed, I was part of a National Platform for the Built Environment working party that undertook a scoping study suggesting areas for potential investment and research, published in early 2008 (see post); and the Salford-based SCRI forum produced a research report echoing some of the same points (post). I expect several individual companies, academics and industry associations such as COMIT will be taking a keen interest in this competition.

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