New School of the Built Environment lays a foundation for the future

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

School of Built Environment

The new School of the Built Environment within the Faculty of Technology, Design and Environment at Oxford Brookes University launched on the 1 September 2015.

The school has been created to explore synergies and intersections between the allied disciplines of Planning, Urban Design, Real Estate and Construction. Although there are already strong unities between the students and staff in these areas - undergraduate students currently share many modules, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) accredits programmes across the subject areas and research active staff work together under the umbrella of the Oxford Institute for Sustainable Development (OISD)  - the new school plans to build on those existing relationships and work together as a single entity to secure a healthy sustainable future for the constituent disciplines.

By working together, we should be able to establish an environment that is internationally recognised as a hotbed of creativity, innovation and knowledge exchange and one of the most exciting places to study and work.

Prof Joseph Tah, Head of School of the Built Environment, Oxford Brookes University

With Professor Joseph Tah taking the helm as Head of School, the school intends to undertake a review of taught programmes so as to identify and eliminate duplication and wastes, strengthen existing programmes and identify opportunities for new areas of study. Market research has been commissioned into the feasibility of launching a BSc (Hons) in Building Surveying within the next two years and mirroring the renewed BA (Hons) Planning and Development programme at the Masters level. A new MSc in Quantity Surveying is being developed for the next academic year.

Professor Joseph Tah commented: “We have an outstanding group of highly dedicated and talented people working in the School and I am determined to support, motivate and empower everyone to achieve their full potential. By working together, we should be able to establish an environment that is internationally recognised as a hotbed of creativity, innovation and knowledge exchange and one of the most exciting places to study and work. I look forward to working with colleagues, our students, and all our stakeholders in achieving this ambition.”

Internationally, the school is working with partners to develop new programmes in urban infrastructure planning, construction and management in emerging economies. It is also in discussions with partners in the SE Asia and Middle East regions to establish satellite centres for running the residential elements of a newly launched open learning MSc in Real Estate Investment Finance.

The school has announced an ambitious research agenda, founded on the ability to assemble transdisciplinary research teams who will address the major societal challenges affecting the built environment from a holistic perspective. Colleagues will be encouraged and supported to establish such teams and to solicit major funding to tackle some of these challenges. Such challenges include climate change, resilience, energy efficiency, resource scarcity, infrastructure, investment, and productivity in all of which the school has significant research capabilities. This should allow researchers to contribute to sustainable growth in the 21st century context of technological advancements and interdisciplinary innovation in such areas as building and city information modelling, internet-of-things, open data, and Big Data analytics with impacts on the smart homes, communities, and cities of the future.

In the most recent Research Excellence Framework, REF 2014, 97% of built environment research was judged to be internationally recognised, with 69% found to be of ‘world leading’ quality. In this subject area, Brookes is ranked 6th in the UK in the ‘QS World University Rankings by Subject 2015’ and programmes consistently score highly in the annual National Student Satisfaction (NSS) survey and subject league tables. The school attracts high calibre students and has strong links with employers, alumni, partners, and friends around the world.

Information about the School of the Built Environment and courses on offer can be found on the dedicated webpages.