Dr Esra Kurul

PhD MA (Building Conservation) BArch PCTHE

Reader in Organisational Studies in the Built Environment

School of the Built Environment


I am a Reader in Organisational Studies, and jointly lead the University's Sustainable & Resilient Futures Network, as well as the School's Smart Construction & Impact Assessment Group. Between 2018-2020, I was a Brookes Teaching Fellow, leading a teaching & learning project on fostering inter-disciplinary collaboration.

My qualifications are listed below: 

  • PhD in Environmental Studies, the Bartlett, UCL (2003), UK
  • MA in Conservation Studies (Buildings) from the University of York (1997), UK
  • BArch'93, METU, Turkey
  • PgCert in Teaching in Higher Education, Oxford Brookes (2006), UK  

Teaching and supervision


Modules taught

I lead and jointly run key modules both at undergraduate (UG) and postgraduate l(PG) evel:

  • People, Leadership & Organisations (compulsory for 4 MSc programs)
  • Enterprise Management in Construction and Development (double Honours Component)
  • Project Appraisal and Commercial Management (double Honours Component)

I have a long-standing interest in virtual and blended learning as a result of the key role I played in the development of  MSc PMBE, which we launched in 2007. Since then, I  have been devising and refining novel ways of virtually fostering student engagement. For example, I adopt a problem-based learning (PBL) approach, which enables students to learn skills that are highly transferable to working life. It has proven to be more effective and more stimulating than traditional approaches.

MSc PMBE remains to be one of the pioneers of blended-learning in the University. It laid the foundations for the suite of MSc programmes in this area, which resulted in significant increase in PG student numbers in our School. It also enabled our team to seamlessly switch to blended-delivery of our UG programmes during the recent lockdowns. 

My teaching interests include people in project organisations, organisational and human behaviour, development process, sustainability in the built environment, problem-based learning, enhancing learning experience through industrial liaison and problem-solving, facilitating blended-learning, and developing reflective practitioners.


Current PhD students:

  • Alsaied, A. (ongoing) The determinants for prosumers to initiate community energy projects and sustain participation in Europe. Role: Director of Studies. 
  • Gamper, D. (ongoing) Visitor Mobility in UNESCO World Heritage city centres. Role: Second Supervisor.

Successful PhD completions:

  • Khamaksorn, A. (2019) Knowledge Transfer Processes in International Construction Joint Venture Projects in Thailand. Role: Second Supervisor. Viva on 11 Apr 2019.
  • Schroepfer, V. (2014) Knowledge transfer in project teams delivering office buildings to sustainable building standards in Germany and the UK. (Second Supervisor)
  • Taylor-Lewis, D. (2013) Entrepreneurial Support for Black (Afro-Caribbean) and Asian Construction Businesses: can it enhance their growth? (Second Supervisor)
  • Nanayakkara, L. (2012) Site Layout: how it is perceived to affect productivity in public sector construction projects in Sri Lanka. (Second Supervisor)
  • Abanda, H. (2011) Knowledge modelling of emerging technologies for sustainable building development. (Second Supervisor)
  • Zhou, L. (2009) Achieving sustainable development through the Private Finance Initiative procurement process in the UK. (Second Supervisor)

Visiting PhD students:

  • Reis, E. (Jan'18-July'18) Evaluating the Legal and Administrative Context of Heritage Conservation in England and International Policies in Relation to Heritage Conservation during Conflict. Full-time Visiting Research Student. Role: Supervisor.
  • Teker, I. (Jan’17- Jan’18) Evaluating the Process of Architectural Conservation Projects in England: the case of large-scale, institutional owners. Full-time Visiting Research Student. Role: Supervisor.


My research is inter-disciplinary and wherever appropriate it is undertaken in collaboration with the industry. Through my leadership roles in the University's Sustainable & Resilient Futures Network and the Smart Construction & Impact Assessment Group, I work across the university and the School to enhance our research capacity.  

Currently, I focus on inter-disciplinary collaboration to achieve sustainability in the built environment, and adaptation of businesses and the Built Environment to Climate Crisis. Previously, I lead research projects that explored the relationship between social capital and knowledge creation, complex projects, the management of knowledge and innovation as a source of competitive advantage, adaptive re-use of existing buildings, and conservation of the built environment. I have research expertise in these areas and have supervised PhD students to successful completion. 

Research impact

The following awards and endorsements are a recognition of the impact my research and teaching make to their audiences. 

  • 2019 Brookes Union Student-Lead Teaching Awards Nomination in the Best Taught Module Category.

  • 2018 Emerald Literati Awards, Outstanding Paper Award: 

  • 2018 Oxford Brookes Teaching Innovation Award (£5,000): Preparing Graduates for Interdisciplinary Collaboration in the Workplace

  • 2018 Oxford Brookes  Global Challenges Collaborative Research Award (£12,319)

    • Funding for collaboration with Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU) and The Beijing City Lab (BCL), Tsinghua University- two premier research and teaching institutions in China. Furher information on this project can be found here
  • 2017 Oxford Brookes Collaborative Research & Travel Grant (£3600)

  • 2015 Brookes Union Student-Lead Teaching Awards, Nomination in Best Academic Advisor Category.

  • 2014 Outstanding Paper Award from the Journal of Financial Management of Property and Construction

  • 2010 Best Paper Award for Innovations in Sustainability from the International Journal of Architectural Engineering and Design Management (an earthscan publication) at the 6th International Conference on Innovation in Architecture, Engineering & Construction, June 9-11, 2010, Penn State University, USA.

    • Kurul, E., Tah, J. & Cheung, F. Does the UK Built Environment Sector have the Capacity to Deliver Sustainability?
  • 2005 O’Regan Centre for Enterprise, Business School, Oxford Brookes University, Enterprise Fellow.

Centres and institutes




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